University Venture Fund

January 16, 2007 08:04 ET

Students Gain Insights on Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital from Industry Professionals at University Private Equity Summit

SALT LAKE CITY--(Collegiate Presswire - January 16, 2007) - More than 120 students from prestigious business schools will get an insider's look at the extraordinary opportunity--and risk--of the private equity industry at the University Private Equity Summit, Jan. 18-20, 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah. During the three-day conference, business students listen to and rub shoulders with veteran venture capitalists and successful young entrepreneurs, some of whom are recent college graduates themselves. The conference is sponsored by the University Venture Fund (UVF), an education-based private equity fund that has raised $18 million to invest in innovative start-up companies.

Speakers and panelists for the one-of-a-kind conference range from private equity industry leaders to young founders of new-industry category companies, such as Tim Westergren, who created Pandora.com, a virtual personal radio-station that analyses an individual's musical taste and plays them new songs with a similar flavor. Keynote speaker is Ian Blasch, director of Micron Ventures, which will invest $100 million over the next ten years in early-stage technology companies.

For venture capitalists who want to discover and bankroll start-up companies taking early advantage of consumer trends and high-tech innovations, hanging out with students is an opportunity to learn as well as teach. "The University Private Equity Summit is the only private equity conference that brings together the next generation of entrepreneurial talent and today's experienced professionals," said John Crocker, managing director of Citigroup Private Equity, who has attended the conference for the past two years of its four-year run.

Networking between private equity professionals and the students and between students from different schools has turned out to be as important as the content of keynote speeches and panel discussions, said Mark Campbell, who has organized the past three conferences and who is a principal with UVF. "This year we purposely made more time for networking," he said. "Our conference is an opportunity for students to share best practices on entrepreneurial clubs, and student investment organizations. It also provides an outlet for veteran private equity professionals to chat with college students who are immersed in technology and have the ability to uncover unique start-up opportunities."

Already the conference can claim enterprising successes. For example, Bryan Sims, a student who came to the first University Private Equity Summit in 2003, gained venture capital contacts and learned the entrepreneurial process well enough to found brass|MEDIA Inc. in 2004. Brass publishes a lifestyle magazine that educates young people on successful money management and circulates to more than 300,000 readers in 37 states.

The University Private Equity Summit concept was sparked by an innovative business-education teaching strategy in which students, universities and private equity professionals collaborate to teach entrepreneurship by full participation in the venture capital process. UVF, for example, is a self-sustaining private equity fund in which students raise the capital, research the investments and pitch the deals to volunteer private equity professionals. Participating venture capital companies benefit from the students' research and students receive a hands-on education in an industry that is notoriously difficult to enter for those who lack experience.

The conference will be held in the Wells Fargo Building, 23rd floor, 299 South Main, Salt Lake City, Utah. Participating schools include Arizona State University, Boston College, Brigham Young University, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard Business School, Occidental College, Purdue University, Syracuse University, University of Kansas, University of North Dakota, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin, Utah State University, Westminster College, Wharton University and William Paterson University. The conference is sponsored by Deutsche Bank, KPMG, Colorado Venture Capital Association, Park City Mountain Resort, vSpring Capital, State of Utah, UV Partners, Morrison Forrester, TCO-University of Utah, Wells Fargo, Utah Fund of Funds, UBS, Red Herring, Canopy Ventures, Jefferies, University of Utah, Wasatch Venture Fund, Kauffman Foundation, Brigham Young University, Fort Washington Advisors, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Morgan Stanley, Thorpe Capital and Capital Source.

About University Venture Fund

Founded in 2001 at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business, University Venture Fund (UVF) is an independent venture capital firm committed to improving the quality of entrepreneurial education for a diverse group of students at its participating universities. The fund is a collaborative effort between students, universities and the professional investment community in which students raise capital, perform due diligence on venture capital opportunities and make investments. In addition to being the largest fund of its kind, UVF is the first fund for which students raise all the capital and the first student-run fund that has a traditional limited-partner relationship with its investors. Each year UVF hosts University Private Equity Summit when business students from around North America gather to share best practices and learn from investment industry professionals.

(c) 2007 University Venture Fund. All products and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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