Johns Hopkins Team Wins Entrepreneurs’ Choice Award at Venture Capital Competition

Johns Hopkins Team Wins Entrepreneurs’ Choice Award at Venture Capital Competition

From left to right: Christopher Bailey, Tim Xu, Sean Grant, Kimi Yang, Ali Afshar

Johns Hopkins works not only to foster startups whose products have the potential to improve the well-being of people all over the world, but also to produce savvy investors with business acumen and a strong sense of market dynamics.

Earlier this year, a team of Johns Hopkins University graduate student investors-in-training won the Entrepreneurs’ Choice award at the 2015 mid-Atlantic regional final of the Global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), during which judges evaluate the competencies of teams of student venture capitalists.

Global VCIC takes place among graduate students at more than 70 business schools around the world. Teams of student venture capitalists participate by competing in one of 12 regional finals held during the winter on three continents to qualify for the Global VCIC competition held in the spring. Throughout the rounds of the competition, students act as venture capitalists, evaluating real start-ups and interacting with entrepreneurs. Actual venture capitalists judge how well the student venture capital teams evaluate the startups, according to VCIC’s website.

At this year’s Global VCIC mid-Atlantic regional final, hosted by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business on Jan. 30, the Johns Hopkins University team of Ali Afshar, Christopher Bailey, Sean Grant, Tim Xu and Kimi Yang ranked third in the meeting and negotiations category in addition to winning the Entrepreneurs’ Choice award. The team was the first Johns Hopkins University VCIC team to win that award. At VCIC competitions, Entrepreneurs’ Choice award winners are selected by entrepreneurs representing the startups evaluated by the student venture capital teams. For their Entrepreneurs’ Choice award, the Johns Hopkins University team received a recognition plaque, which now hangs at The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School.

A week before the regional final, The Johns Hopkins University hosted an internal VCIC competition to determine a winner to represent the university at that regional competition. The winning team of Afshar, Bailey, Grant, Xu and Yang competed against 13 other self-formed, multidisciplinary teams of Johns Hopkins University graduate student venture capitalists.

This internal competition was organized by The Johns Hopkins University’s Innovation Factory, a student-led organization promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, and was judged by nine venture capitalists from across the country. The teams each evaluated four startups affiliated with Johns Hopkins—Quantified Care (specializing in medical technology), Proscia (bioinformatics), Urban Pastoral Collective (hydroponics) and Full Society (payment applications).

Johns Hopkins’ team had only one week to gear up for the Global VCIC mid-Atlantic regional final after winning The Johns Hopkins University’s internal VCIC competition, but they pulled it off.

“The fact that our team won the Entrepreneurs’ Choice award shows what a multidisciplinary Johns Hopkins University team can accomplish in short order,” says Jim Liew, assistant professor of entrepreneurial finance at the Carey Business School and one of the participating judges. “I was extremely impressed by their enthusiasm, professionalism and intensity.”

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