A Venture Capital Victory

PROVO, Utah – Apr 11, 2018 – Madness ensued in March when the BYU Marriott School of Business was victorious in Tar Heel territory in a contest that didn’t involve brackets or basketball.

A team of BYU Marriott undergraduate students, competing against six other universities from around the nation, were named national champions of the Venture Capital Investment Competition at the University of North Carolina.

“It was a blast to represent the school and ourselves,” says Jake Gubler, a finance major from Bountiful, Utah. “We put a lot of time and hard work towards the tournament, and our success made all the work extremely worth it.”

The team’s win is further proof of BYU Marriott’s excellent venture capital education. The school’s MBA team has taken first in the competition's graduate level two of the last three years; the undergraduate team winning first place in its first year participating is an additional slam dunk.

The competition started with the teams researching the specific companies and their industries, management team, and products. Then the teams were judged on every interaction they had with the startups, from the company’s pitches to the live negotiations with the entrepreneurs.

While the BYU Marriott team has experience with different parts of private equity and venture capital, this competition was different because each student was able to collectively participate in the deal as a whole. 

“When you’re at a firm, you can gain a lot of experience from an entry-level standpoint,” says Lauren Holmstrom, a finance major from Salt Lake City. “But the competition was cool because it mimicked a real-life situation, but we were higher up in the firm than we could possibly get with the experience we have now.”

Along with acting in a higher position, Gubler learned and benefited from navigating early-stage investment landscapes.

“I hadn’t had as much experience with early-stage startups,” Gubler says. “I’ve usually worked with later-stage investing, so learning more about how to value a company that has minimal financials, traction, and viable products was useful.”

In addition to Gubler and Holmstrom, the winning team included Zach Edwards, a finance major from New Canaan, Connecticut; Jaxson Myers, an accounting major from Conway, Arkansas; and Samuel Neff, a computer science major from Holladay, Utah.

First-year MPA student Adam Pulsipher selected and advised the team. As co-president of BYU’s Private Equity & Venture Capital Club, he and the team set a goal to raise BYU's venture capital profile on a national level, including winning VCIC.

“I was thrilled to help our team get the win for BYU and be named national champions,” Pulsipher says. “All five team members are rock stars.” 

The BYU Marriott School of Business prepares men and women of faith, character, and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. BYU Marriott has four graduate and ten undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.

A BYU Marriott undergraduate team was named national champions of the VCIC.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Emily Colon