Published: Feb. 29, 2024 By

After winning our regional Venture Capital Investment Competiton (VCIC), I called my dad and said, “I know people say this, but we could not have won without all the support we received.” And that could not have been more true. We are honored to have won our first regional competition and could not have done it without the support and encouragement of CU and the community. 

Trailblazing Together: Our Journey in the Venture Capital Investment Competition

Last October myself and 4 other ambitious undergraduate students came together to embark on a new journey; competing in the Venture Capital Investment Competition. We came from a variety of diverse backgrounds, from venture capital, to investment banking, to operations. As the first undergraduate team in CU Boulder history, we would have to chart our own path, create our own curriculum, and find our own mentors. Working with Gwenyth Brass, Ryan Markus, Aaron Vadakkan, and Mike Nold has been an amazing experience and I am so lucky to have learned and grown Alexis and her team at the VCICwith this team. 

The VCIC competition invites students from schools across the country to form investment teams to argue their case for an investment in one of three startups presented. After receiving the pitch decks, the team has 48 hours to do a deep dive into due diligence and come up with a term sheet and company valuation. Teams are then scored on question sessions with the founders, the team sheet itself, and how well we can argue those terms to a panel of judges. More information and resources on the competition can be found here on their website. 

The Heart of Boulder's Startup Community and Engaging with Boulder's Leading Investors

The Boulder startup community is a tight-knit group of incredibly brilliant and supportive people. The MBA competition team organized learning sessions with top investors such as Blair Simpson (Frontier Ventures), Kirsten Suddath (Next Frontier Capital), and Jason Mendelson (Author of Venture Deals). We learned about diverse topics such as portfolio and fund construction, VC math (valuations, check sizes, valuation drivers, exits), deal flow, and due diligence. We were also fortunate to attend more intimate sessions led by the MBA team's very own Tim Okita who has been a godsend our entire season. He has coached and guided us, and we owe so much of our success to him. The team was immensely blessed to have had sessions with the legendary David Brown, the founder of TechStars and accelerator programs as we know them today. We owe a massive thanks to everyone who supported us and taught us so much, not just about the gamified competition but about investing in the real world. 

For me, the most exciting aspect of being involved in venture is working with founders. Their passion and creativity are consistently unparalleled.  And there is no better experience for working with founders than actually meeting with them and finding out what makes them tick and what they care about when it comes to building their business. Eddie Connors (GoodieBag), Ameen Saafir (Tynt), and Khushang Hirpara (CLD-9) are just some of the incredible founders who gifted us with their time to help us practice how to ask questions and dig more into specific aspects of their industries or companies. 

We are eternally grateful to the Boulder Venture Club for getting the team together and helping us finance our experience. Huge thanks to Jesus Soto, Harris Cunningham, Cat Pham, and Ethan Duster for their continued excitement and support. Their club meetings take place every Thursday from 6:00pm-7:00pm in Koelbel Room 218. They foster an educational and inclusive place to learn about startups, investing, and for founders to get feedback and support on their ventures. For any questions on how to get involved reach out to their team at
Huge thank you to Betsy Klein and the Deming Center for getting us into the competition and being some of our biggest supporters. 

After our win at the Regional Competition in Utah, we are getting back to practice to prepare for the Global Competition in North Carolina in April. I am so proud of what this team has accomplished together and endlessly grateful for this incredible experience.  

Congratulations to Mike, Aaron, Ryan, and Gwenyth. Let’s go crush it at Globals. 

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