This post originally appeared on the Nexus Louisiana Tech Park blog.
A strong tech community needs people skilled in the ways of venture capital. These experiences are often hard to come by without the right connections.
Nexus Louisiana wants to make the tech community more inclusive and give future entrepreneurs the skills they need to thrive. It’s why Nexus Louisiana partnered with LSU, Innovation Catalyst, and the Red Stick Angel Network to form the Venture Capital Apprentice Program that helps business students gain real-world experience at local startups. VCAP aims to inspire, educate, and develop students interested in investing in private companies or becoming entrepreneurs.
This spring, a group of 21 students in the LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business completed VCAP. The program represents the second cohort of students enrolled in the LSU Department of Finance’s venture capital course taught by Mike Kirby, a retired co-founder of the private equity firm Stonehenge Capital.
“The program gives students a window that shows them another part of the finance world that they probably haven’t had exposure to,” Kirby says. “More importantly, it gives them an opportunity to work with successful local companies in a professional environment.”
The students worked with Innovation Catalyst and local companies, including MasteryPrep, Everso, Louisiana Funds, Omnidek, Kinesics, and Directed Analytics, to exercise their finance and modeling-related skills providing 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.
Finding Opportunities for Growth
Directed Analytics Founders Jody Mitchell and Brenton Moss make products to help businesses track and achieve their goals. They developed proprietary technology, 4SightGPS, to create actionable and measurable roadmaps that can be followed to optimize performance.
For example, Directed Analytics applied 4SightGPS to help adults with cognitive learning disorders set and meet their goals to develop employment skills. From there, the founders tested their product in healthcare services and state and local contracts.
Mitchell and Moss have focused on digital marketing and workforce optimization as good candidates for refining their goal attainment framework and software. Both industries deal with a lot of variables that could impact their ability to reach goals.