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"Venture capital is a key component of the startup ecosystem. Investors who can bring social, intellectual, and brand capital in addition to financial capital will have access to the best opportunities to leave their mark on society as venture investors. With this program, we are preparing athletes for this new leadership opportunity."
– Cliff Shorer, the program’s Faculty Director
Developed in partnership with sports professionals, the Venture Investing for Professional Athletes program helps those looking to expand and deepen their business knowledge with the skills they need to identify and explore the opportunities they have for investment and wealth creation. Participants learn how to evaluate venture-stage investment opportunities and understand how and why to build a portfolio for optimal financial returns.
The program features Columbia Business School faculty who bring cutting-edge research and business theory, experienced professional athletes who understand the unique challenges and opportunities for investors in this industry, and an unsurpassed speaker line-up of top venture capital executives and startup founders who offer participants the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the market and to expand their professional network. With guidance from these experts, participants put their learnings into action by evaluating a real, early-stage investment opportunity and prepare a professional investment analysis to share their findings.
Please Contact Us
Please contact Program Director Erica Duignan Minnihan at +1 917-330-6632 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a personal conversation to learn more.
You may also be interested in the complementary Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes program.
This program will equip current and retired professional athletes with the knowledge, skills, and network they need to get started or improve their skills as a venture investor. Whether it’s direct investing or understanding their portfolio as a Limited Partner, this program will help them ascend the venture capital learning curve and feel more confident in your investment analysis and evaluation skills. It’s a key tool in using all the resources available to maximize the long-term value of your brand.
Program participants will learn how to read, understand, and analyze diligence material in the role of a Venture Fund Partner. They will also have an opportunity to meet and connect with real Fund Managers and Founders of the top startups currently in the market for capital.
Unique topics we will cover in-depth include:
- Financial Modeling for Investors
- Preferred Equity, Convertible Notes and other Early Stage Securities
- Investor Rights and Protections
- Understanding Syndicate Investing
- Demo Day – Startup Pitch Evaluation Skills
Typical Participant Mix
At the inaugural Venture Investing program, professional athletes learned how to evaluate venture-stage investment opportunities and build a portfolio for optimal financial returns.
Participants acquired a range of actionable skills — from funding basics to due diligence to understanding portfolio theory and modeling for investors.
The program is specifically designed for professional athletes – both current and retired. Former New York Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson was among the participants.
Roman Harper, former New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers safety and two-time Super Bowl champion, is networking during a program break.
Columbia Business School Professor of Management Murray B. Low walks participants through an investment case study.
Veteran NFL tight end Steve Maneri engages during a session on negotiation skills.
Program participants, including former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston, experience a combination of cutting-edge research, business theory, and an unsurpassed speaker line-up and put their learnings into action by evaluating a real, early
Upon completion of this program, you will earn four days towards a Certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.
Participants will get hands-on experience on the following topics through a combination of faculty lectures and immersive case studies, covering the venture capital landscape in depth:
- What is Venture Investing?
- The Portfolio Approach
- The Due Diligence Process
- The Investment Process
- Understanding Valuations
- Term Sheets & Securities
The program uses a combination of interactive lectures, case studies, planning exercises in groups, and experiential learning activities that leverage New York City and it’s vibrant venture ecosystem.
The program will culminate with a live demo day, during which participants will have the chance to meet with and evaluate real-life startups in the market for venture capital.
For a complete program schedule download the agenda.
Venture Investing for Professional Athletes is designed for current or retired professional athletes who wish to learn more about venture capital and startup investing. The program will also be open on a case-by-case basis to executives in the professional sports industry. This program has no prerequisites, and a collaborative environment will foster growth for participants of all experience levels.
Columbia Business School alumni and up to four of their colleagues are eligible for a 25 percent tuition benefit for programs lasting up to seven days. More on the Alumni Tuition Benefit.
Cliff Schorer, Faculty Director
Adjunct Professor, The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School
Schorer is a serial entrepreneur who specializes in the startup acquisition and development of small and midsized companies. He focuses on businesses with unique ideas or technologies that are in need of guidance during their initial growth phases. Schorer has been involved with companies in the high tech arena, his last position being CEO of GeoVideo Networks, a Lucent Technologies Venture. Prior to that his career included businesses in the real estate, office-supply, and health care industries.
During the early 1990s, he spent a considerable amount of time in Russia, using his entrepreneurial approach to assist in the privatization process. During his extensive professional career, Schorer has lectured in numerous business and academic forums both in the United States and abroad. He has developed financial management software programs for business education through his publishing company Bized.
Erica Duignan Minnihan
Managing Partner, 1000 Angels
Minnihan has been educating new investors about early-stage investing for over a decade. She is the founding partner of Reign Ventures and Venture Partner at Intend Ventures. As the first executive director of Golden Seeds, she began leading their investor training sessions in 2006. Since then, Erica has gone on to lead investor education sessions for professional athlete angel investors, newly formed angel investor groups internationally, and for her own group of active angel investors, 1000 Angels. Erica has been investing in early-stage companies since 2006 and received her BA in Business Economics for UCLA and her MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.
Managing Partner, Dynasty Digital
Colston currently serves as the managing partner of Dynasty Digital, a multi-faceted digital company he founded and launched in August 2017. A Super Bowl Champion and all-time leading wide receiver in New Orleans Saints history, Marques is also an investor and advisor to various early-stage companies with a focus on sports technology. Colston serves on the Advisory Board for the One Team Collective, a sports technology accelerator run by the NFLPA, and his pursuits have been featured in Inc. Magazine. He is a co-owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League.
Along with Schorer, Minnihan, and Colston, additional Columbia Business School faculty and industry practitioners contribute to and teach in the program. For more information, please contact Program Director Erica Duignan Minnihan at +1 917-330-6632 or email@example.com.
Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes
Professional athletes interested in starting a business or launching a social-impact venture learn how to leverage their brand equity and acquire the tools they need to put their business idea into action.