Congratulations to Coral Taylor (Consortium OP, 2014) and her teammates at Georgetown University! They finished in first place in the Global Venture Capital Investment Competition this month — marking the third consecutive year a Georgetown team has dominated this international competition.
Taylor (Georgetown, ’16) told us the competition is “essentially the opposite of a business plan competition.” Instead of creating a business plan and competing against other entrepreneurs to see which is most viable, the VCIC competition demands that teams evaluate business plans, develop a rapport with the entrepreneurs and come to terms for an early round investment.
“It’s hands down the best experience I’ve had at business school so far,” said Taylor, who won along with teammates Eric Ellswort (2015), Amir Kabir (2015), Ben Shopneck (2015) and Jordan Edelman (2016).
“It was very challenging, but it was probably one of the coolest team experiences I’ve had,” Taylor told us. “Our team quickly realized our egos had to go out the door, work together and come off as one voice.”
Professional venture capitalists served as judges, essentially acting as a fly-on-the-wall. If they detected open disagreement among teammates, Taylor said, it could scuttle their efforts to win the competition.
The team left the competition site — The University of North Carolina — on April 11 with first place and a $5,000 prize. The team hasn’t yet decided what to do with the prize money.
Taylor, meanwhile, is still toying with what her future holds after graduation in about a year. She’s also won a school-based business plan competition with an idea for a startup that might tempt her.
That company, My Bigger Mailbox, was inspired by a problem a number of friends and acquaintances have suffered: package deliveries from Amazon or other shippers stolen from their doorsteps. Not a problem, perhaps, for homeowners, but for renters — who can’t customize or lock down their mailboxes — it is.
“We came up with a portable mailbox using a smart lock so you can track when boxes are delivered,” she said.
Taylor recalled her own experience with the OP last year, urging new students to know what they are passionate about before they get to the conference.
“I knew what kind of experience I wanted to have careerwise,” she said. “Going into OP, I was able to listen for the buzzwords that matched what I was passionate about.”