New Venture Capital Program Completes First LSU Cohort

BATON ROUGE  — A group of 14 students in the LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business have completed the first cohort of the new Venture Capital Apprentice Program provided in partnership with the LSU Finance Department, Nexus Louisiana and its investment arm Innovation Catalyst, and the Red Stick Angels, a subsidiary of Innovation Catalyst.

The program, which was administered over the course of the 2020 fall semester, included a cohort of students enrolled in LSU Finance Department’s Venture Capital course taught by Mike Kirby, retired co-founder of private equity firm Stonehenge Capital. The students formed four teams, which then worked with Innovation Catalyst and local companies Kinesics, OfficerReports, and Omnidek to exercise their finance and modeling-related skills while providing the companies with financial and market research support for use in their business planning. This mutually beneficial arrangement fostered an environment of close collaboration between the company CEOs and the student groups. 

“The projects these students worked on — preparing a competitor and market analysis, a fundraising pitch deck, a multi-year financial model and portfolio analysis tool to calculate a venture fund’s rate of return — are things often required in the real world as part of a M&A transaction or round of venture capital financing,” said Dr. Narayanan, Chairman of the LSU Finance Department. “The students worked closely with the management teams of local companies as opposed to working on a theoretical academic exercise. Providing this type of practical real-world application of the LSU finance curriculum is an incredibly valuable and unique opportunity for our students.”

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