Farmer School team finishes VCIC nationals in top 3 again

Top 3 finish is third in three years

Top 3 finish is third in three years

In Latin, it’s “omne trium perfectum” – the rule of three – that essentially states how good things come in threes. One example would be the Farmer School of Business’ Venture Capital Investment Competition teams, who have competed three times, won their region three times, and this weekend, finished in the top three at the national competition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In January, eight Miami University students from across campus began an eight-week Venture Capital Immersion program, organized and led this year by Theresa Sedlack, a member of the Institute for Entrepreneurship's Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiR) program, and held in Cincinnati's OTR district at Union Hall.

Guest lecturers, panelists, and speakers from across the region -- including David Willbrand from Thompson Hine, Sarah Adams Anderson and Nick Faulkner from Cintrifuse, Sean Kwiat from CincyTech, Daniela Tomusko-Yoder from VRC (Valuation Research Corporation), Patrick Meenan from Arthur Ventures, Ross Mires from Square 1 Bank, Marvin Abrinica from Wunderfund, Sue Baggott and Steve Baggott from Queen City Angels, and others -- worked with the students on a range of venture-related topics. A generous financial donation from alum Charlie Mires has funded Farmer School participation in the VCIC for the past three years.

On the first day of the three-day competition, each student venture team received a profile of their firm’s venture fund and business plans for three seed stage companies. Teams were given 36 hours to conduct due diligence on the companies, their founders, and the market, and prepare a term sheet for an investment in one of the companies.

“While the team can prepare for the VCIC program overall with background knowledge and frameworks, each competition brings a completely new set of business opportunities in different industries, at different stages and requiring specific and contextual applications of their knowledge,” Sedlack explained. “This year at Nationals was no different, as they were presented ventures in life sciences and renewable energy, which were very different from the software and apparel industry plans they saw at their regional competition.”

On the final day of the competition, teams evaluated pitches made by each company and participated in a one-on-one Q&A with the founders, after which teams had two hours to finalize their investment decision. Each team then defended its investment recommendation to a panel of current venture capital investors who assessed each team’s investment decision and logic and then negotiated final terms with the founders of the selected company.

The Farmer School team took third place for the second year in a row, finishing ahead of schools such as Notre Dame, Cornell, and Georgetown.

The Farmer School presentation group included Andy Newman, senior finance major, Kat Mena, junior finance and entrepreneurship major, Laura Mena, junior marketing and entrepreneurship major, Ethan Retcher, senior finance major, and Ben Sandler, junior finance major. Research support was supplied by Hunter Enama, junior finance major, and Kevin Myers, junior finance and accounting major.  Earlier this month, the team won the Central region finals to get a shot at the national title.

“The team's ability to translate their knowledge and strong performance across such a wide range of industries and contexts is a testament to them, as well as to the tremendous classroom and experiential learning they have gained throughout their time at Miami,” Sedlack said. “It is also reflective of the Miami community's willingness to share their expertise, with countless practicing professionals contributing time and insight to advance the team's learning.”

“It was a real pleasure to work with this team and see the full value of their enthusiasm, combined with Miami's full curricular and immersive education preparation, pay off for them in a very strong finish.”

Group photo