Three Lundquist College students had the opportunity to sit side by side with experienced investors, learning due-diligence basics as they helped determine the early-stage companies that will present in in the 2014 Willamette Angel Conference (WAC) this May.
For Jenny Palm, a first-year Oregon MBA student in the entrepreneurship track, the experience has provided a thought-provoking complement to her coursework—and yielded some unexpected insights. “It’s been really interesting to see what investors look at—and what they don’t look at,” said Palm.
Kyle Spradling, MBA ’14, led a due diligence team in last year’s WAC. This year, he returned to serve as an official proxy for one of the angel investors.
Spradling’s previous experience provided him with an enriched perspective. “This year I have more confidence in the decisions I’m making and the things I’m saying because I’ve been there before,” said Spradling. “I know where I don’t need to second-guess myself and where I do.”
Though WAC’s student participants are typically at the graduate level, this year an undergraduate—junior Nick Hubert—joined in.
As a member of the University of Oregon Investment Group—he’s the current president—Hubert has had plenty of experience evaluating public companies. But working with WAC’s angel investors offered a different slant.
“The opportunity to learn what young companies need—and how to bridge that gap between an idea and an actual business,” said Hubert. “For me, it’s been about learning the difference between a great product and a great idea and an actual great company.”
For each of the three, the experience has provided nitty-gritty experience with the startup process, along with practical know-how they’ll take forward into whatever their future careers may hold.
“If you think that you’re going to start a company or work for a startup that’s going to have to fundraise at any point in time, this is something that gives you the perspective from the other side of the table,” said Palm.
This year’s conference takes place on May 8 at the University of Oregon's Ford Alumni Center.
Find out more about the Willamette Angel Conference