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An Insider's Look Into the VC Ecosystem

By Katie Vloet

Many entrepreneurial efforts—and, it follows, many investments by venture capitalists—fail. So what inspires a venture capitalist to risk investing in anything, a student asked Jason Mendelson, '98, at a Nov. 17 event at the Law School.

"Venture capitalism is a lot like baseball. If I can hit .333 with some power, I'm going to make the All-Star team every year," said Mendelson, cofounder and managing director of the Foundry Group VC firm and coauthor of the AskTheVC blog. He spoke, along with cofounder and coauthor Brad Feld, about "All Things Startup: An Insider's Look Into the VC Ecosystem."

Mendelson also encouraged the law students in the audience to join the new Zell Entrepreneurship and Law (ZEAL) Program, which will include a clinic offering free legal advice to Michigan's burgeoning number of student entrepreneurs. Law students also should take contracts, mergers & acquisitions, enterprise organization, and employment law, he suggested.

Mendelson and Feld answered numerous questions from the business and law students in the audience, and signed copies of their book, Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Wiley, 2011).

Feld wrote about the visit for Business Insider. "Days like today are incredibly energizing for me," he wrote. "The level of enthusiasm and optimism among the people we met with was phenomenal. Their willingness and interest in learning and trying new stuff was apparent. And their understanding that plenty of things wouldn't work, but they wouldn't learn if they didn't try, was front and center."



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