Who wants to be a Student VC anyway?
At least 87 students at The University of Sheffield do.
In Spring Semester 2017, we’ll launch an educational programme to run alongside our Fund. The students accepted onto this programme will form a society that meets on a weekly basis to debate trends, share learnings and discuss potential deals.
We’ll put on 6 weeks of delivered talks with investors and entrepreneurs to give the students some foundational theory in Venture Capital, such as how funds are modelled, how to add impact as a VC and the entrepreneurs’ perspective. After this is complete, the students will start sourcing and managing deal flow as an associate VC might in another venture capital firm.
We always knew there were students out there who would jump at this opportunity. After all, it’s rare to get this kind of experience. But we had lots of debates and discussions about exactly WHO would apply to be a Student VC. Would it be finance students wanting to learn more about venture capital mathematics? Business students wanting to learn more about entrepreneurial finance? Well, we did a nice little summary for you below. And even made some graphs…
Level of Study
We were really excited to find that students at all levels of study were interested in being a part of Campus Capital. We think there is huge potential here for peer learning, and are pleased to see that Postgraduate students are wanting to roll their sleeves up and get involved.
Year of Study
We also wanted to build a team that would be sustainable past one year. Like any student society, there is churn as students graduate or dedicate more time to their studies or just want to focus on another interest or hobby. Having a decent spread of team members across the various year groups helps to mitigate this, as some students will stay for multiple years and help to onboard and support the new members each year. As you can see from the stats above, we’ve got interest from every single year group.
We knew our Student VC Group would need to have certain skill areas represented in the team… Finance, for example. But after that, we wanted to ensure as much diversity as possible in terms of degree discipline. And we got it… kind of.
We were overwhelmed by applications from Engineers. Some Business. Some Finance. But mainly Engineering. Judging from their applications, their main reasons for this are: they love technology and understand that Venture Capital is often a necessary enabler of new technologies to thrive; and they are interested in entrepreneurship in general and want to experience it in an active way that doesn’t require them to set up their own business.
But look at that ‘Other’ box. There’s no obvious route to Venture Capital. VCs come from all different backgrounds and there is absolutely no reason why a student in Psychology or Architecture won’t get as much out of this programme as a student in Economics and Finance. Their motivations will likely be different, the applications to their degree and vice versa will likely be different. But it will make the debates on deal flow way more interesting, for sure. And a variety of backgrounds leads to a variety of perspectives. This can only be a positive when dealing with such a varied industry as Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship.
And these are some of the reasons our applicants gave us for wanting to be involved. We were really heartened to see such a conscientious group of young people wanting to contribute to positive change in the world and seeing Venture Capital as a way to do that. And their motivations for getting involved were as varied as their disciplines.
As well as the above, we also identified that that over 90% of Campus Capital applicants in Sheffield had never received Startup Support from University of Sheffield Enterprise, meaning that through this Student VC Group, we have brought more entrepreneurially minded students into the fold of The University of Sheffield’s amazing enterprise unit, further increasing their chances of gaining knowledge, experience, and success in the world of startups… whichever side of the table they happen to be sat on.
Now the shortlist is complete, we’ll be interviewing over the next two weeks, and by the Winter Break, we’ll be able to announce the entire team. The first ever Student VC Group in the UK, on-campus at The University of Sheffield.