IVCA Scholars Gain Experience, Add Value

IVCA Scholars Gain Experience, Add Value

August 26, 2008

CHICAGO - “ The expanded IVCA Scholar Program has wrapped up its second summer and participating firms speak to the experience gained and value provided from their undergraduate interns. While skills can be gained in the classroom, the real-world experience derived from working at the firms is irreplaceable.

The IVCA Scholar Program was initiated in 2007 with the objective of increasing minority participation in the Chicago venture capital and private equity industries.

Participating firms in 2008 included Beecken Petty O'Keefe & Co. (Roy Beckham), Thoma Cressey Bravo (Mike Webb), ARCH Venture Partners (Jason Aguiar) and Baird Private Equity (Azure Nelson). Venture mentors in the program explain below what each scholar brought to their respective firms.

Brian Chambers of Beecken Petty O'Keefe on Roy Beckham

Overall, our experience with the IVCA Scholar Program was very positive. Roy was a great addition to our team at Beecken Petty O'Keefe.

His enthusiastic attitude and work ethic were evident from the beginning. Additionally, Roy's skill set progressed throughout the summer. By the end, he was adding significant value to our deal processes.

Heather Smith Thorne of Thoma Cressey Bravo on Mike Webb

Mike was an excellent addition to the Thoma Cressey Bravo team this summer. He seamlessly stepped into a role that included conducting industry research on new spaces we are exploring and providing analytical support for live deals that the team evaluated.

When developing an investment perspective on a new industry space, Mike specifically utilized primary research methods such as making phone calls to trade associations and industry consultants, store visits and product/channel comparison analyses for industry competitors.

With deals, he helped build comparable analyses and created key research documents that helped us better understand how to value a business we were evaluating.  

He also learned how to cleanly build and run an LBO model and the specifics of how a deal process is conducted. Mike was incredibly intelligent and hard working and showed a great amount of curiosity about investing and private equity.

He had a very positive attitude and everyone at Thoma Cressey Bravo enjoyed spending time with him this summer. While we were definitely sad to see him leave, he will be an immense success at whatever endeavor he pursues after college.

Mark McDonnell of ARCH Venture Partners on Jason Aguiar

ARCH has participated in the IVCA intern program for the past two years. The program leaders do a great job of providing private-company transaction basics to the interns so they can make real contributions from the first day on the job.

Jason was able to take advantage of the mentoring of the program such as working with Dan O'Connell and apply those lessons to better understand how venture capital works.

Jason spent his time primarily understanding the equity structures of our portfolio companies, reserving schedules by company and by fund and liquidation analyses of each company.

In order for Jason to be successful, he had to spend time to understand how term sheets and legal agreements provide the basis of capital structures of early stage enterprises in order to draft capitalization tables and model out how those structures play out under certain liquidation scenarios.

Given the short time he worked with us, Jason became comfortable with the legal jargon and terms. Jason spent time working with ARCH investment personnel to investigate new investment areas and opportunities.

Jason also was involved in gathering market information to assist investments staff in evaluating specific portfolio companies and whether additional investment was warranted. Finally, Jason participated in a board meeting of one of our portfolio companies.

Jason also worked on special projects including reviewing and summarizing licensing  information of our portfolio companies and compiling information on matching state grant information.

These projects required interaction at a professional level with technology transfer personnel or business development roles at our portfolio companies.

Jason took the time to understand how the venture capital business model works, the vital importance that limited partners play and the challenges venture personnel face when making a decision to invest in a new company.

Benedict Rocchio of Baird Private Equity on Azure Nelson

Azure Nelson worked with Baird Private Equity this summer as an intern through the IVCA Scholar Program. Azure primarily worked with Baird Venture Partners and supported the team in many areas including industry/market research, deal prospecting and transaction due diligence.

Azure was a great help with many internal operational projects including portfolio company analysis and CRM database integration.

In addition to Azure's work with Baird Venture Partners, she was also active in supporting Baird's Business Diversity Council in its efforts to engage community organizations. Azure was the recipient of a Baird intern scholarship for the upcoming school year.

Our participation with the IVCA Scholar Program is one example of Baird's numerous efforts designed to attract and retain great talent and promote diversity at work and in the community.

One of our key focus areas is encouraging people with diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in the financial services industry and ultimately to attract top talent to the firm. It was a very productive summer program for both Azure and Baird. We were very pleased with the experience.