The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is hosting UpRound, a venture capital (VC) competition where undergraduate student teams act as VCs to assess real startups in search of funding, while being judged by leading venture capitalists. During the event on Oct. 21, students will research the startups, participate in due diligence sessions, write term sheets and cap tables, negotiate with the entrepreneurs, and justify their investment decisions to a judging panel during a board meeting.
UpRound was founded to help students engage with the venture capital community and participate in Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Leading up to the competition, UpRound will be hosting open training sessions to teach students about the workings of a VC firm, as well as a roundtable dinner where visiting venture capitalists can dialogue with student leaders, researchers, and startup founders.
“We founded this organization six months ago because most students only know VC based on these very fleeting interactions or public perceptions such as Shark Tank, which aren’t accurate. VCs aren’t just a bunch of wealthy people throwing money around, there’s a lot more structure than that,” says Jonah Erlich, U-M student and co-founder of UpRound. “Engineering, liberal arts, and art students are starting businesses and they need to understand VC.”
UpRound has partnered with the entrepreneurship arms at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, College of Engineering, and College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to host the event, and partner VC firms include: Bessember Venture Partners, KPCB, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Laconia Capital Group, Correlation Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, Ludlow Ventures, IA Ventures, eLab Ventures, Mercury Fund, and Touchdown Ventures.
Erlich adds that the organization invited a combination of local and national VC firms to help them engage with the U-M entrepreneurial community.
UpRound’s VC competition will be held Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and applications are currently being accepted. Application information can be found here.