School is almost back in session for most students, but MVCA Venture Fellows hit the books early at MVCAcademy in July. The day-long workshop at Ann Arbor Distilling Co. covered highly technical and targeted topics aimed at educating the Fellows, who are part of MVCA pairs investment professionals early in their career with a Michigan venture firm for a two-year employment term. Participating venture firms are offered a salary match component while Venture Fellows are promised exposure to the Michigan entrepreneurial and investment community through MVCA events and continued education seminars like the MVCAcademy.
- Relationship building & supporting your company portfolio
- Cap table modeling
- Exit Planning
- Financial Analysis & Modeling
- Developing your career
Joe Malcoun, CEO of Nutshell, joined us to discuss ways to build relationships and how an associate can best provide value to the companies in their firm’s portfolio. Joe drew on years of experience building and maintaining relationships while building his company, Nutshell, a great web-based tool for businesses looking to get organized, sell smarter, and grow relationships.
Next, Chris Stallman, Principal at Fontinails Partners. gave a highly technical lecture to the Venture Fellows on best practices in cap table modeling, a key to negotiating with investors and maintaining a meaningful stake for founders and employees. Chris also shared ways venture professionals could estimate future dilution and determine ultimate returns.
Next, MVCA enlisted the help of a few friends – and prominent Michigan investors – for a panel discussion on fundraising! The panel included Chris Rizik from Renaissance Ventures, John Barker from Kresge Foundation, Erik Lundberg from the University of Michigan Endowment, and Jay Katarinic from Draper Triangle Ventures. Chris, John, Erik, and Jay gave our Venture Fellows some insight on how they can support their firms in the fundraising process, how to raise a new fund, and what institutional investors are looking for in an investment opportunity. Most importantly, the panel shared helpful hints for successfully pitching LPs—secrets ALL VCs would like to know!
After our Venture Fellows fueled up at lunch, they tackled what is needed to prepare a company for sale. Peter Sugar, Partner at Jaffe Raitt Huer & Wiess, gave an informative lecture on how to properly manage an exit plan. This was followed by a detailed case study on financial modeling and analysis from Adrian Fortino of Mercury Fund, and Adrian Ohmer of Invest Detroit. Fortino and Ohmer created a great dialog where many of the Venture Fellows shared best practices from their firms in addition to asking a lot of questions.
An important goal of the MVCA Venture Fellow program is encouraging the participants to form a strong network that will serve them throughout their venture careers. In the last segment of MVCAcademy, our panel discussed ways to develop their career and the transition from Associate to Partner. The panel included Dan Kidle of Arboretum Ventures, Adrian Fortino, and Adrian Ohmer. It was a lively discussion on some of the challenges and opportunities facing investment professionals growing their careers in Michigan’s entrepreneurial & investment community.
With hard work comes great rewards! Following the day-long workshop, our Venture Fellows had the opportunity to learn about and tour the Ann Arbor Distilling Co. and gather with instructors from throughout the day for a networking reception. We want to thank our panelists and speakers for “distilling some knowledge” to our Venture Fellows and look forward to future MVCAcademy sessions.