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Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2003

MBA students to accelerate their entrepreneurial careers at Velocity Conference

EDITORS: Most sessions of the Velocity Conference are open to media. For a complete schedule, go to http://www.bus.indiana.edu/jcei/velocity/schedule.html.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- MBA Entrepreneurship Academy members at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business will join student colleagues from the University of California-Berkeley's Haas School of Business and Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Management on March 7-8 in Berkeley, Calif., at the fourth annual Velocity Conference. The event is designed to refine and accelerate the students' entrepreneurial careers and aspirations.

Fifty students from the three schools will have the opportunity to meet chief executive officers from high-potential businesses, venture capitalists funding them, and other individuals instrumental in launching these endeavors.

"The Velocity Conference is an opportunity for students to hear candid stories from those who have been there and done it," said Elizabeth Gatewood, director of the Kelley School's Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and adviser of the MBA Entrepreneurship Academy. "The conference develops and equips aspiring entrepreneurs at a pivotal point in their careers and expands the entrepreneurial base in the state of Indiana."

The Velocity Conference is an annual event organized by the Kelley School and held at a different business school each year. It also has been held at Stanford University, the University of Texas-Austin and Boston University. Last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was involved.

This year's conference, hosted by the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will be held on March 7-8 at the Faculty Club on the Berkeley campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Featured speakers will include Greg Ayers, CEO of Cryocor Inc.; Scott Kucirek, co-founder and executive vice president of zipRealty Inc.; Joe Walsmith, CEO of Willitts Designs Inc.; Barbara Tallent, CEO of Boldfish; Vani Kola, CEO of nthOrbit; and Ferolyn Powell, CEO of Evalve Inc.

Jack Gill, who earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from IU and went on to found Vanguard Venture Partners, will host a series of fireside chats with the entrepreneurs to glean from them their personal stories about founding and growing their businesses. Gill also will give an update on global high-technology entrepreneurship. He is a member of the Deans' Advisory Board of IU's Kelley School.

A venture capital panel will feature Jane Martin, regional managing director of capital investments for Village Ventures Inc.; Nick Sturiale, partner, Sevin Rosen Funds; and Danny Yu, partner, Vantage Point Venture Partners. They will offer their unique perspectives on the state of the venture capital industry to conference participants.

"Students will be provided unhindered access at the conference to a veritable 'who's who' of venture capitalists, company founders and CEOs," Gatewood said.

Several of the speakers were MBA students themselves just a few years ago. For example, Nick Sturiale was an MBA student at the Haas School when he co-founded Timbre Technologies. The venture won first prize at the inaugural 1999 UC-Berkeley Business Plan Competition and eventually sold for $138 million. Kucirek's zipRealty competed in the same business plan competition. The team ultimately raised more than $48 million in funding and expanded its operations across the country.

In addition to the Kelley School and the Haas School, other conference sponsors include the Gill Family Foundation; Johnson Ventures Inc.; the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship and the William L. Haeberle Professor of Entrepreneurship (both at IU).

For more information about the Velocity Conference, go to http://www.bus.indiana.edu/jcei/velocity.