Training Future Venture Capitalists

Ben Buie | 4/14/13

I’ve mentioned before that I’m writing a paper on the best practices of entrepreneurial education, analyzing CU’s program, and providing recommendations. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the research, probably because entrepreneurship is more than a hobby for me, it’s an obsession.

Just now I was populating a matrix that will compare the top 14 entrepreneurial programs in the country. These 14 were not chosen because of their rankings, I believe the entrepreneurial rankings are broken and I have been seriously thinking about raising some money to go on a road trip to disrupt them. The schools I’m researching were based on what I know having recently researched them to decide which school to attend, and taking input from Frank Moyes and Sharon Matusik, two nationally respected professors of entrepreneurship.

Looking deeply at these top schools has given me an opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned since I’ve been at CU, time that is over in less than two weeks when I graduate. Many of these schools have an entrepreneurial curriculum that is well rounded with classes on new venture creation and business planning. Some of the better curricula have startup execution, sales, entrepreneurial marketing, and entrepreneurial feasibility. However, what I’ve noticed is that although many schools have a well rounded program from an entrepreneurial perspective, almost none of them have much from an investor perspective.

This realization got me thinking about all the investor side training my peers and I have received in the last two years. Outside of class we’ve had panels at the GEA retreat, a VC Boot Camp, a student run venture fund, a venture capital competition, and internships with several local VC firms. In the class room, in addition to a number of guest lectures from venture capitalists and angel investors, we’ve had Venture Capital and Private Equity taught by Brad Bernthal and Jason Mendelson which more than a live version of Venture Deals, and Entrepreneurship & Private Equity Process taught by Bret Fund and Dan Caruso.

No wonder I feel like one of the things I’ve been prepared to do the most is see things from an investors point of view. Unfortunately, analyst and associate positions at VC firms are hard to come by, especially in an area where one the most prominent early stage VC firm doesn’t hire them.

Luckily, my peers and I have plenty of opportunities to work for a local startup, especially with TechStars Boulder cranking out 10 every year. We’ll likely gain experience either as an early employee or founder, have one or more successful exits, and start thinking about how to give back. One way to do that will be to start a venture firm. It won’t surprise me at all if CU Alumni make up a strong percentage of VC investors in the future.

About the Author

Ben currently works as a contract web developer and business consultant in Boulder, Colorado.

His passion for entrepreneurship led him to study business and learn to code. Although he never anticipated working on the web, Ben has spent the past 9 years learning everything he could about building and operating websites and web assets.

When not at work, Ben spends a lot of his time with family. He is married to a “beautiful” woman and they are raising 4 energetic boys. In his spare time he loves keeping up with technology, playing guitar, eating Sweet Cow ice cream, and painting (although he has very little time for painting these days). Other than that, Ben is a supporter of freedom and liberty, a fluent speaker of Russian, and he tries to be a humble follower of Jesus.

Read more about Ben.