The Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance (CVCPEEF) and the MBA Entrepreneurship Association hosted a very interesting and intellectually stimulating speaker lecture about a major driving force of the “New Economy” by Chris Rizik, Founder and Managing Director of Renaissance Venture and Broad Alumnus. The presentation, entitled “How to Raise Venture Capital Funding for Entrepreneurial Startups – A Venture Capitalist’s Perspective”, offered a unique perspective into the world of venture financing. There was a lot of interest from the students with standing room only.
Almost every segment of the Broad student population was represented: first and second-year MBAs, JDs, freshmen to seniors, master and Ph.D. students. Dr. Zsuzsanna Fluck, finance professor and director of the CVCPEEF introduced the speaker and highlighted his many accomplishments in the venture capital and innovation space.
Chris Rizik talked about how venture capital builds successful enterprises around disruptive innovations primarily in software/IT and heathcare/medicine. He explained the way venture capital funds-of-funds operate and discussed the pioneering business model of Renaissance Ventures; a highly successful Michigan-based fund-of-fund that he established in 2008 and expanded recently. He asked the students to raise their hands if they were planning to start their own businesses in the future or becoming venture capitalists and there was an enthusiastic response. He then talked about the dos and don’ts for entrepreneurs seeking venture capital funding. He emphasized that student-entrepreneurs must learn to write business plans as opposed to technology plans. Since a venture capitalist’s goal is building
high-growth businesses, “make sure you describe well your business proposition, strategy and financial projections first, and establish the credibility of your team, before going into any details of the technology” – he explained.
“Do you also have advice for students who want to become venture capitalist?” asked Sam Mungali, Lead MBA Associate of the CVCPEEF and President of the MBA Entrepreneurship Association. “My advice for business students aiming for a career in venture capital is to acquire specific industry expertise, preferably in healthcare or IT, in addition to solid business knowledge; possibly by joining a startup or becoming an industry analyst,” Chris responded.
The presentation was dynamic, entertaining and highly interactive. Questions ranged from the specifics of due diligence, investment selection, venture capital contracting, and networking, to career choices and how best to prepare for them. Rizik told the students: after graduation don’t just choose the job that pays
the most, but follow your passion; this is how you will be the most successful in the long run. You want a job that makes you eager to get up every morning even before your alarm rings and prepare for an interesting and rewarding day at work, knowing that you can make a difference, rather than start each day with pressing the snooze button multiple times before you are able to convince yourself to rise.