Students from Wolfville’s Acadia University won an undergraduate venture capital contest at a recent event, with a team from  Mount Allison in Sackville, New Brunswick, taking second.  Teams from other regional schools also won accolades.

The international Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) was held March 8 at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.  The school hosted ten teams of venture capital students from nine institutions, organizers said in a release.

Teams vied for $2,000 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.

“It’s really learning entrepreneurship from the outside in,” said Ellen Farrell, principal faculty advisor to SMU’s Venture Grade team, on the value of learning about VC. 

“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.”

The international Venture Capital Investment Competition engages teams from 80 institutions in Canada and the U.S., the release said. 

University teams compete as “junior partners” to a fictitious investment fund. They hear presentations from startup 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.

Among the prizes, a special Halifax Partnership award went to Halifax’s Dalhousie University, and the Entrepreneur’s Choice was given to Memorial University in St. John’s by participating entrepreneurs.

In the MBA/Graduate category, the winners were University of Toronto, with University of Waterloo in second place.

Ashored, Trip Ninja, B-Line Analytics, Colour Smith Labs, Retail Deep, and Aurea were the startups invited to participate. 

The judges included many well-known names from this region.  The full list included:

·         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

The Acadia and Rotman teams will go on to participate in the World Finals at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. SMU students do not compete in their own event, but rather in the New England and the Silicon Valley regionals.