The Global Venture Labs Investment Competition simulates the real-world process of raising venture capital. It is a unique partnership that brings together graduate students and business leaders. The judges function as an investment group seeking to reach consensus on the business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan, and oral presentation all influence the judges’ decisions.
Begun as "Moot Corp" at The University of Texas at Austin by MBA students in 1984, the Venture Labs Investment Competition is the oldest new venture competition in the world, and it provides graduate students with a chance to simulate the real-world process of raising venture capital.
The 2013 competition was sponsored by Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, an interdisciplinary education and research initiative. The Texas Venture Labs promotes new venture creation at The University of Texas at Austin through education and mentoring, market and business plan validation, team-building and networking, and direct links to resources and funding.
The first runners-up of this year's competition were Dan Kleinbaum and Luke Kyohere, graduate students from the Texas Master of Science in Technology Commercialization program whose startup, Beyonic Technologies, has developed a mobile payment platform for use in the developing world. (Read our commencement spotlight on Kyohere.)
Seismos, founded by Texas MSTC students Panos Adamopoulos, Omar Hernandez, Stevan Slusher, and Devin Bedwell won the $20,000 Wells Fargo Clean Energy prize. Seismos provides real-time measurements of oil and gas flows for enhanced oil recovery. The Wells Fargo Clean Energy track was part of the competition for a second year, with enhanced prize money this year thanks to Wells Fargo's increased commitment and funding to Texas Venture Labs.
Seismos also won first place in February's Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, as well as first-place awards in clean energy and cleantech tracks in the Shell Venture Technologies track at the Rice Business Plan Competition at Rice University in Houston. They continued their winning streak by picking up the clean-tech and energy awards, as well as an overall second-place award, at the University of California Haas School of Business investment competition in Berkeley.
Altogether, Seismos has won more than $45,000 in cash and about $100,000 in services and non-cash awards this competition season, said team member Panos Adamopoulos. "This is all thanks to the MSTC program," he said. "We thank all the McCombs faculty and people who have been of such great help."
This year’s GVLIC had an especially strong international presence. Eleven countries were represented, and 40 percent of the competing teams came from schools outside the United States.
“We had a true global final this ye
ar, with two of the four teams in the finals coming from outside the U.S.,” said GVLIC Director Robert Warren. “Visolis did an excellent job presenting their venture and responding to the judges’ questions, and we are excited they are the 2013 Venture Labs Investment Competition's Global Champion.”