Canadian venture capital champions named
Date Published: March 11, 2019
Acadia and Rotman (University of Toronto) students emerged as the victorious venture capital teams on Friday, March 8, 2019 in the Undergraduate and Graduate VCIC competitions respectively. Both teams will go on to participate in the World Finals at UNC Chapel Hill.
Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia hosted ten teams of venture capital students from nine institutions. At stake were $2000 in prize money and the title of VC Investment Competition—Canadian Region winners. The school made VCIC history by hosting both events on the same day.
In the MBA/Graduate category, the top winners were University of Toronto with University of Waterloo in second place. In the Undergraduate, it was Acadia University, with Mount Allison taking second. Also awarded were a special Halifax Partnership prize to Dalhousie, and the Entrepreneur’s Choice, given to Memorial University by participating entrepreneurs.
Dr. Ellen Farrell, program director of the Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation and principal faculty advisor to the Venture Grade team at Saint Mary’s, notes the value of learning VC: “It’s really learning entrepreneurship from the outside in. The sector needs knowledgeable investors, but it’s also valuable learning for aspiring entrepreneurs. They learn the things investors look for in their companies and pitches.”
Friday’s Canadian VCIC was the second year Sobey School has hosted the event. In addition to the approximately 70 students attending to compete, the event attracted 17 judges from across industry, including Patrick Hankinson of the new Concrete Ventures and Michael Nobes of Six Bridges Capital in New York. Nobes praised the event, calling it “extremely enjoyable and very well organized.”
Ashored, Trip Ninja, B-Analytics, Colour Smith Labs, Retail Deep, and Aurea were the startups invited to participate. In participating, start-up companies gain exposure to the industry professional judges, learn how to answer difficult questions posed by the teams, and have a statistically higher rate of acquiring venture capital. Eh Eye, a participating venture last year, was acquired later in the year.
The international Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) engages teams from 80 institutions in Canada and the US. Sobey School students do not compete in their own event, but rather in the New England and the Silicon Valley regionals.
University teams compete as “junior partners” to a fictitious investment fund. They hear presentations from start-up companies, conduct due diligence, analyze the companies’ innovation, value propositions, valuation, profit potential and sustainability. They draw up a ‘terms sheet’ to negotiate an investment. Judges from the VC, financial services and angel investment sectors score the teams on their analysis and insight.
Full list of judges:
- Brenan Isabelle, Numus Financial
- David Colter, Digital Cinema Labs, Saint Mary’s University, and Beacon Labs
- Gerry Pond, East Valley Ventures
- Stephen Denton, SeaFort Capital
- Saeed El-Darahali, SimplyCast
- Toon Nagtegaal, Phasemap
- Rob Barbara, Build Ventures
- Rob MacKenzie, AramaxIP
- Patrick Hankinson, Concrete Ventures
- Stefanie Corbett, Island Capital Partners
- Charley Baxter, Saint Mary’s University
- Lidija Marusic, Innovacorp
- Chris Moyer, Pelorus Venture
- Paul Lypaczewski, Island Capital, Charlottetown
- Michael Nobes, Six Bridges Capital
- Brian Lowe, First Angel Network Association
- Ross Finlay, First Angel Network Association
- Andrew Ray, Innovacorp