Foster MBAs a close second at international venture capital competition


The dynasty continues.

The MBA team of Jacob Wallack (MBA 2015), Esther Perman (MBA 2015), Hartley Riedner, Matt Gryll (MBA 2015) and Travis Vaughan of the University of Washington Foster School of Business returned to the international finals of the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) in April and brought home second place.

To get there, the Foster team first won the enormously competitive Silicon Valley regional in January, one of the 12 feeder competitions held around the world.

In the VCIC, students play the role of venture capitalists, evaluating pitches from real entrepreneurs and choosing what and why to invest in the most compelling plan. All the while, real venture capitalists from some of the nation’s most illustrious firms observe and judge the entire process.

The Foster team had the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and the full force of the UW and Seattle entrepreneurial communities behind it. Students spent countless hours preparing with faculty, former VCIC champions from Foster, and all of the top venture capital firms. “Getting that network and the insight into how to do this right was incredibly helpful,” says Perman. “That was by far the best part of the competition.”

Foster’s return to the international finals also marks a return to form for the most successful school in the history of this 18-year-old competition. In its 13 years contending, Foster has won the Silicon Valley regional six times (2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2015). And in six trips to the VCIC international finals, Foster has twice been champions (2004 and 2006) and runners-up (2008 and 2015).

Upon hearing the results from the Silicon Valley regional this year, VCIC director Patrick Vernon summed up the news in a simple tweet: “A dynasty returns!”