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Venturing Ahead

College startups? Meet investors. USC Marshall hosts 8th annual Venturing Summit

May 16, 2019
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The USC Marshall Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies hosted the 8th annual University Venturing Summit Tues., May 14. The half-day event brought together venture capitalists, venture-supporting service providers such as accounting and law firms, entrepreneurship faculty, and new university ventures from USC and beyond.

“The perception of a lot of university ventures is that they are still in the ‘good idea’ stage,” said Patrick Henry, assistant professor of clinical entrepreneurship at USC Marshall and Summit organizer. “But the reality is that the university venturing world is more market-ready than ever, and university ventures are more ready to launch than ever.”

“The resources and independence offered by USC to entrepreneurs enabled me to build a prototype that proved the value of the business."Jessica Schleder MBA '19, founder of Adoptimize

Demonstrating Henry’s concept were 20 companies that shared two-minute presentations on their concepts, business plans, staffing and market analyses with the prospective investors and advisors in the audience. The ventures presenting aimed to serve audiences in some of the hottest areas of growth in the L.A. marketplace and well beyond—from data security to bridging gaps in socialization to growth field known as “pet tech.”

One such business was grown right here at Marshall by the former leader, now proud Marshall MBA alum, of the Graduate Women in Business student organization, Jessica Schleder.

Schleder’s business, Adoptimize, amplifies lead generation for pet insurance companies by automating better shelter intake photos, increasing adoption rates and—and therefore—pet insurance policy volume.

“I came to USC to go into nonprofit animal management,” said Schleder, “and the first semester of the Marshall MBA program gave me the tools to identify a market need and articulate a vision, and that altered the course of my career.”

“Not only has the entrepreneurship curriculum catalyzed the concept of Adoptimize into a business,” she continued, “but the resources and independence offered by USC to entrepreneurs enabled me to build a prototype that proved the value of the business.”

The list of school’s participating in the Venturing Summit included, among others, UCLA Anderson, California State University Northridge and UC Irvine. Leading private sponsors included the law firm Greenberg Glusker, online entrepreneurship community Spark XYZ, and Big Four accounting and consulting firm, EY.

The 9th annual University Venturing Summit will also be hosted by USC Marshall in May of 2020.

Bill Edwards 2019 Venturing Summit

The Demo

Bill Edwards of Airbond demonstrates his product to potential investors at the 2019 Venturing Summit, hosted by USC Marshall and the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Natalie Meyer and Pullquest

Here's the Pitch...

Natalie Meyer pitches her startup, Pullquest, at the 2019 Venturing Summit.

Sam Tate of Roost at the 2019 Venturing Summit

Making a Deal

Sam Tate, of Roost, makes a deal at the 2019 Venturing Summit.

Tiffany Nguyen

A Good Idea

Tiffany Nguyen makes a pitch for AsproDental at the 2019 Venturing Summit.

Jessica Schleder

A Pitch for Pets

Jessica Schleder pitches her startup, Adoptimize, at the 2019 Venturing Summit.

Bill Edwards 2019 Venturing Summit

The Demo

Bill Edwards of Airbond demonstrates his product to potential investors at the 2019 Venturing Summit, hosted by USC Marshall and the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Natalie Meyer and Pullquest

Here's the Pitch...

Natalie Meyer pitches her startup, Pullquest, at the 2019 Venturing Summit.

Sam Tate of Roost at the 2019 Venturing Summit

Making a Deal

Sam Tate, of Roost, makes a deal at the 2019 Venturing Summit.

Tiffany Nguyen

A Good Idea

Tiffany Nguyen makes a pitch for AsproDental at the 2019 Venturing Summit.

Jessica Schleder

A Pitch for Pets

Jessica Schleder pitches her startup, Adoptimize, at the 2019 Venturing Summit.