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Intellect

BYU investment team takes third in international venture capital competition

A team of students from Brigham Young University took third place and won $2,000 at the international finals of the tenth annual Venture Capital Investment Competition, held April 12-14 at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Originally a wild-card entry into the tournament, BYU finished behind MIT and the University of Virginia, becoming the second wild-card team ever to place in the tournament’s top three. In only its second year of competition, the Marriott School of Management team bested several more experienced teams, including Harvard, Chicago and the University of Southern California.

“Some of these schools have been active in this competition for five or six years,” said professor Gary Williams, who coached the team. “For a new team like us to come in and do so well in only our second year of competition surprised a lot of people and speaks highly about the quality of our students.”

The Venture Capital Investment Competition is a bracket-style tournament held throughout the United States and Europe. Student teams are asked to participate as venture capitalists, fielding investment pitches from real entrepreneurs. After the opening wild card rounds, the top three teams from all four U.S. regional semi-finals and Europe gather at Chapel Hill, N.C., to compete for $10,000.

Members of the BYU MBA student team included Rachael Hawkins, from Spokane, Wash.; Daniel Hemmert, from Orem, Utah; Adam Robertson, from Santa Rosa, Calif.; Michael Anderson, from Cary, N.C.; and Justin Jory, from Shoreline, Wash.

“Our placing in the competition is a reflection of the curriculum we have here,” said Jory. “In addition to the great students on the team, Professor Williams has a great entrepreneurship program in place that helped us prepare effectively for the competition.”

Jory and other members of the team referred specifically to their experiences in Cougar Capital, a unique entrepreneurship class at BYU that includes real venture capital opportunities — allowing students to make actual investments in startup companies.

Writer: Todd Bluth

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