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|Articles - May 2011|
|Wednesday, April 20, 2011|
Almost class time, so professor Rob Wiltbank hurries downstairs to a room of 10 students already plugging away on their laptops, and he announces their daily agenda: Create a short list of the best investment opportunities in the region.
Then this professor and his MBA students at Willamette University dissect Oregon businesses:
“I like their team, and they’re good at affordable loss, but there’s not much here.”
“It’s pointing in the right direction, just at the wrong market.”
After discussions like this each Wednesday, the students rank investment opportunities on a scale from 1 to 10. And it’s no mere case study. Their findings mean real money for real companies.
Wiltbank’s class, now in its second year, is the only student-run angel program in the country and in April, it was ranked one of the top 10 entrepreneurship courses in the nation by Inc. magazine. Wiltbank is an expert on these risky investments, which are usually provided to startup companies by wealthy individuals or groups hoping for big equity returns. To sit in offers a glimpse into angels’ methods as well as an example of what Wade Brooks, executive director of the program, calls “the most amazing teaching tool that I’ve ever seen.”
Several students agree with him. “If we do poorly, then we’ve made a bad decision that costs the school money,” says Yameen Ali. “So it puts a sort of real-life situational pressure on us.”
Before the class was created, Wiltbank arranged for two students a year to shadow angels, but it was when Brooks came to Willamette in 2008 that the pair decided to launch a full-blown angel fund.
With more than $200,000 raised from alumni, the school approved, and Wiltbank and Brooks structured a year-long course that would grant students decision-making power to invest in the types of local startups that Debra Ringold, dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, believes are Oregon's “best shot at economic growth.”
The class buys two voting spots at several angel conferences throughout the region, allowing students to work shoulder-to-shoulder with private investors. The conferences also allow them to invest small amounts in several companies, which research suggests is the safest path to profit.
Every week, students discuss companies they have found. If they decide to invest, they present their findings to an advisory board. For the most promising opportunities they will independently invest up to $50,000, as they did in March with Scribe STAT, a Lake Oswego company that helps medical school aspirants find work assisting doctors.
So far, the class has invested nearly $200,000. Just one company has failed, while the other six remain in business.
The investments have yet to make money for the school, but most successful ones take at least five years to return. Profits would help the school meet its goal of growing the angel fund to $5 million. That would provide for future classes and bigger investment. And it would bring closer to fruition Wiltbank’s vision for his class to be the most active early-stage investor in the Northwest.
Friday, June 27, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER
Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.
Friday, July 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”
Thursday, June 05, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?
Friday, June 06, 2014
BY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.
Monday, July 07, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
Monday, June 16, 2014
The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.
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