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Spring Venture Showcase
Established in 1996 with a $1 million gift from Eugene M. Lang, MS ’40, the Eugene M. Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund fosters an entrepreneurial environment at Columbia Business School by providing early stage investing opportunities to qualifying student business initiatives. It also allows the School to share in the success of funded ventures through negotiated equity or other participation.
The Spring Venture Showcase offers students serious about launching a business upon or shortly after graduation the opportunity to present their plan to a distinguished panel of judges who together help select which students will advance to present to the Lang Fund Board of Directors. Approximately 20 students will have the opportunity to make a formal 7-minute presentation followed by Q&A.
Up to six companies will be selected from the event to present to the Lang Fund Board for investment consideration.
All presenters will receive written and oral feedback on their business after the event.
Second-year students are eligible to participate in the Spring Venture Showcase and eligible for funding from the Lang Fund Board only.
Students may work individually or with a partner. The Lang Fund will consider investment proposals for all types of enterprises: small- or large-scale, high- or low-tech, start-ups or acquisitions and service, manufacturing, or retail operations.
The Lang Fund’s Board of Directors evaluates those selected from the Spring Venture Showcase event pool according to the following criteria:
- Feasibility of the proposed venture and its prospects for success
- Strength of the student’s commitment to the venture and his/her qualifications to make it succeed
- Prospects for raising additional funding as may be required
- Technical or conceptual originality or social value
Please check back in spring 2016.
All applicants must complete the following application, which includes a 5-7 page Executive Summary.
Want to review the application questions you will be asked to answer? Download the Application Question Doc.
Executive Summary- 5-7 pages. This document should include the following information:
- An overview of the market, the competition, and the positioning of your product or service. Validation from customer interviews will prove beneficial.
- A detailed description of your product or service concept. Preference will be given to those who have developed a minimally viable product. For example, if it is a web-based venture, it is anticipated that the overall design of the website be complete and hosted for demonstration purposes. If the company already has revenue, please provide details.
- Highlights of a marketing plan including the direct sales strategies and media outlets you plan to utilize to reach your targeted customer.
- A profile of your management team and the skill sets vital for success.
- A high level financial plan including a break even analysis, sales goals, after the first year and the amount of investment required to support needed capital investments and negative cash flows during the start up phase.
Conditions of Investment
In order to provide more access to seed funding in a venture’s early stages, the Fund will make an immediate initial investment, typically in the amount of $25,000-50,000, in the form of a convertible demand note in ventures that meet its investment criteria. This criteria requires that ventures have a viable business plan with good chances of success and a full time commitment by the graduating student to the business as its owner or prime mover. The Fund retains the right to make an additional equity investment in the business when the business raises its first round of equity backed by professional investors.
The Board retains sole discretion for deciding which businesses it will fund each year and may decide in a given year to forgo the funding of any projects if none of the ventures presented meet its investment criteria.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship @ Columbia provides a platform to develop new ideas by leveraging the cross-functional capabilities and knowledge of the University at large.
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March 11, 2015
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February 9, 2015
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January 30, 2015
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December 18, 2014
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Ron Gonen '04 EMBA
Gonen came up with the idea for RecycleBank, a start-up that pays households for recycling, when he was a student at Columbia.
Andrea Wenner '05
Wenner considered several other ventures before developing Out2Play, a nonprofit that builds and refurbishes playgrounds at New York Public Schools.
Andrea Miller '02
After graduation, Miller launched Tango, a multimedia company focused on love and relationships. "Think Sex and the City meets Oprah."