Elon students act as venture capitalists in Venture Capital Investment Competition

A team of six undergraduate students deepened their understanding of venture capital deal flow and the due diligence process during the annual University of North Carolina competition.

Hunter Kobin ’22, Liam O’Connor ’22, TJ Remillard ’22, Lilly Rothschild ’22, Hannah Chaput ’23 and Eric Levine ’23 played the role of venture capital firm analysts during the 2022 Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), organized by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

four people standing, three people sitting on a couch
Hunter Kobin ’22, Liam O’Connor ’22, TJ Remillard ’22, Lilly Rothschild ’22, Hannah Chaput ’23 and Eric Levine ’23 represented Elon in the Venture Capital Investment Competition.

The competition puts a spotlight on the intersection of venture finance, entrepreneurship, venture law, strategy, entrepreneurial marketing and negotiations. Students deepen their understanding of the dynamics of venture capital deal flow and the process of due diligence.

Thirty-six hours prior to the event, the Elon team received pitch decks for three startups seeking funding and began researching the industries. On the day of the competition, the team viewed startup pitches, conducted due diligence sessions and presented its investment decision to a panel of judges, who evaluated the team on its due diligence, written deliverables and partner meetings.

“VCIC was a challenging and stimulating competition because we needed to utilize financial modeling, market research, negotiations and legal reconciliation skills, while also thinking on our feet and being adaptable in the moment as we fostered a connection with the founders and partners,” said Rothschild, a finance major.

Elon competed in the Mid-Atlantic region bracket. Although the team did not advance in the competition, the judges noted the team’s presentation “was exceptionally technical in the Q&A/due diligence segment” and the students were “highly impressive.”

During the intensive six-week preparation leading up to the competition, Margarita Kaprielyan, assistant professor of finance, Drew Peabody, assistant professor of finance, and Alyssa Martina, director of the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, mentored the students. The team also met with seven professionals well-versed in venture capital.

“I cannot believe that about a month ago I didn’t know much about VCs,” said economic consulting major Chaput. “I left this competition with so much more knowledge than I could ever imagine.

“I am eternally grateful that I had the experience I had on the VCIC team because my teammates, coaches and competing itself gave me a huge boost of confidence and proved to myself that I can really achieve anything I put my mind to.”