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Debbie O'Leary
IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

IU venture capital team advances to international finals

Feb. 24, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Venture Capital Investment Competition team won first place at Friday's Mid-Atlantic Regional Final at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. With the win, IU's team advances to the VCIC International Finals, which will be held in April at the University of North Carolina.

Participating from the IU Maurer School of Law were third-year law and Master of Business Administration students Cole Parker and Jonathan Rinehart. Second-year MBAs Cindy Warren, Kate Lehman and Benjamin Trumbull represented the Kelley School of Business. The team beat out competitors from Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Maryland, Rochester, and Vanderbilt universities to take home top honors.

Mark Need

Left to right: Jonathan Rinehart, Cindy Warren, Benjamin Davis Trumbull, Kate Lehman, and Cole Parker hold up the prize money after winning the Mid-Atlantic VCIC Regional Final on Feb. 20, 2009.

"This is a highly competitive contest. Many of the other participating schools offer courses that are designed solely to prepare for the VCIC," said Mark Need, clinical associate professor of law, director of the Elmore Entrepreneurship Clinic, and the team's faculty advisor. "After the previous three years of competition at the regional level with minimal training, we set up an internal qualifying competition last fall and structured several accompanying training sessions. Our work paid off, as this year's highly talented team is the first to bring home first place."

In the competition, students take the roles of venture capitalists, evaluating business plans, performing due diligence, hearing "pitches" from real entrepreneurs, and drafting term sheets and executive summaries for their chosen investments. In the final segment of the competition, each team must negotiate its investment "live" with the chosen entrepreneur, all before a panel of real venture-capitalist judges.

Lauren Robel, dean of the IU Maurer School of Law, praised the team's success and the competition itself.

"This contest is another example of the exciting opportunities available at our school to our business-oriented law students," she said. "We look forward to the continued success of this collaborative effort with the Kelley School of Business, which includes both our internal competition and our participation in the national and international competitions."

Donald F. Kuratko, Kelley School of Business professor, Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship, and executive director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, said the competition allows students to gain valuable insight into the venture capital process.

"The Johnson Center has recognized the unique nature and value of this competition for a number of years," Kuratko said. "This year's team, composed of some of our top MBA and law students, provided a combination and balance well-suited to this contest."

IU hosted its inaugural internal competition last fall to determine which team from IU would advance to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Final.

VCIC began at UNC in 1998 as an educational event for MBAs to learn about venture funding. Now in its 11th year, VCIC has evolved into a marketplace for entrepreneurs seeking investors and a training ground for future venture capitalists.