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Excellence and Expertise Student Success

Farmer School VCIC team places second at global finals -- again!

Team places in top three for seventh time.

VCIC team photo
Excellence and Expertise Student Success

Farmer School VCIC team places second at global finals -- again!

A Farmer School of Business venture capital investment team competed in the Global Finals of the 2024 Undergraduate Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) for the eighth consecutive year, and took second place for the second year in a row.

The Miami team of Kaylee Fickle, Gillian Louiso, Katherine McIntosh, Kia Molaei, Dev Patel, and Mason Seitz competed at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill over the weekend.

“This weekend was absolutely phenomenal. The energy was high and we were ready to take on the competition! We worked on the three companies that we were assigned from Thursday 5 p.m. to Saturday 7 a.m., then went in and gave it our all,” Molaei said.

The VCIC is an invitation-only, international competition with student venture capital teams from top business schools around the world. This year, venture teams from more than 100 universities around the world competed in twenty regional competitions in two groups – 12 graduate and 8 undergraduate.

In the VCIC, venture capital investment teams assume the identity of a venture firm. On the first day of the three-day competition, each student venture team receives a profile of the firm’s venture fund (size, age, investment stage, targeted industries/markets, number and size of previous investments, etc.) and business plans for three seed stage companies. Teams are given 36 hours to conduct due diligence of the companies, their founders, and the market and prepare a term sheet for an investment in one of the companies.

“After tapping into our networks to gain the most valuable insights and starting in-depth due diligence process, by Saturday morning we were feeling confident about our decision. Even with seven other prestigious teams present, we never lost sight of our team’s unique strategy in due diligence interviews, created a strong deliverable which was met with overwhelming positive feedback, and were selected as one of two teams to participate in founder negotiations for the first time at the undergraduate level since 2018,” McIntosh said.

“We got a lot of amazing feedback from the judges and tweaked a bit of our format for the negotiation section when we made the finals,” Molaei said. “I'm very proud of our team and owe it all to our amazing professor, Theresa Sedlack.”

“They were absolutely committed to deeply learning all elements of both investing fundamentals and the specifics of companies and industries they came in contact through the competition. This year at finals, organizers added a brand new negotiations element the week of the event. Even though the team had virtually no time to prepare for this brand new element, they demonstrated a sense of optimism for the opportunity. Their negotiations were fantastic and they made it look as if they had extended practice,” Sedlack said. “Watching them in action throughout the event, and especially in that moment, helped me really appreciate how much confidence they had built in themselves and each other. It has been a privilege to work with them throughout their preparations and I am delighted that they were able to demonstrate their hard work at the national finals and tangibly feel their success in their Top 3 finish.”

This is the seventh time a venture capital investment team from Miami University has finished in the Top 3 of the global finals since the competition began in 2017 and the third time Miami has finished as the runner-up in the finals.

“I can't imagine a better example of the power of ‘Learn by Doing’ than the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship's Venture Capital Immersion Program, a 10-week practice-based, immersive learning program that program that immerses student-investors in venture capital concepts, terminology, and practices and includes multiple practice investment sessions with companies raising venture funding rounds,” institute director and entrepreneurship chair Tim Holcomb said. “A big shout out to the more than three dozen investors, founders, and startup and business professionals from across the nation that participated in guest lecturers, coaching sessions, practice investor valuation exercises, and subject-matter-expert advisory calls over the past four months.”

“I was excited just to have the opportunity to represent Miami in another round,” McIntosh said. “We have continued to put in the work and practice since the Regional Competition in February, so it was all about doing what we know best and having fun!”