I met with Jim Nolen the other day and he updated me on the UT Venture Fellows Program. Venture Fellows are recruited from the UT MBA program for a two semester course. Twenty candidates are nominated and elected to the program by the alumni of the previous Venture Fellows class. Members get the opportunity to work in various capacities at VC firms such as performing due diligence, market validation, developing an M&A package for a company’s acquisition and more.
I was then invited to give a talk on angel investing to the group and found the audience intrigued with the prospect of working with angels in addition to venture capitalists. In my talk I highlighted the fact that angel investors in aggregate invest more than VCs. The VCs are just better at PR than angels since angel groups are more fragmented. There is a shrinking number of VCs but a growing number of angels and angels groups in the state of Texas. Startups need less money today and than previously due to increased efficiencies in business due to outsourcing and other factors.
I was impressed with the program as it provides real, hands-on experience to students before they graduate. As we know from working with startups, that is sometimes the difference between success and failure.