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For students interested in venture capital

If you are a student anywhere in the world seriously interested in venture capital, angel investing, and/or entrepreneurship, please consider working with us on your research papers. We’re obsessed with research and data, and have a number of research topics we’d love to dig into with the right student partners.

If you are highly qualified and your research is pertinent to our work, we can help provide you with research materials, guidance, introductions to interviewees and other experts, and access to unique data sets. If your research results are high quality, we’ll also help you publicize and potentially publish your final research paper. We have relationships with many of the leading finance media which have published our own research.

To learn more, contact us with: your proposed research topics; the full resumes of your team members; the course for which you are writing the paper; your professor’s name and website; timeline; and your targeted deliverable (length, format, etc.). We cannot respond to inquiries which do not provide all of this information. We prefer to work with graduate students (MBA/PhD/etc.), but are open to exceptional ambitious undergraduates also. We have a strong preference for team projects as opposed to individual projects.

We’ve listed below some of the research questions about which we’d like to learn more. We’re particularly interested in working with you if you choose one of these topics for a research paper or field study.


THE BUSINESS OF INVESTING
  • Analyze advantages/disadvantages of investing personally in early-stage tech companies, vs. investing in an early-stage fund. Create checklist of criteria which could help guide decision-making around when to invest personally and when to invest in a fund.
  • Research best practices of VCs and angel networks in supporting portfolio operations. Among the issues to consider: identify the right technology stack to share documents, contacts, and best practices between different operating companies. Research correlation of investing success with the nature of VC involvement in portfolio companies.
  • Research diversification in early-stage investing vs. returns. How much diversification is optimal? What aspects are best to diversify in (sector, stage, geography?)
  • Identify best practices in being an early-stage board member. Create case studies highlighting high- and low-performing board members, and companies who do and do not effectively leverage their boards.
  • Novel, demonstrably-effective techniques to predict the success/failure of startups and revenue-stage companies based on pubicly visible data (e.g., YouNoodle). Similarly, techniques to assess forthcoming needs of particular startups (e.g., which ones are best off seeking more experienced management in the coming year).
  • Research and publicize best practices in managing a virtual file server for a diverse international team.

NEW YORK VC
  • Execute an analysis of the leading New York-area angels, superangels, and early-stage VCs. Evaluate number of deals, size of deals, future activity, assets under management, industries of interest, and returns. Create formal ranking.
  • Compare returns of NY vs. California vs. Boston VCs.
  • Analyze contribution of the New York VC community to local job creation.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP
  • Study characteristics of the most successful Entrepreneurs in Residence.
  • Research characteristics of successful angel-backed companies run by older entrepreneurs (50+).
  • A study of the value that acquiring access to someone else’s patent can add to a startup in a range of sectors.

MARKET ANALYSIS
  • Write a guide to market mapping a new industry sector.
  • Create a systematic approach for identifying industries ripe for disruption, and disruptive companies, using the ideas in Clayton Christenson’s "Innovator’s Dilemma" and its followup books. E.g., look for hated companies (AT&T, cable companies); look for the largest private companies (which may be seeking to hide their profitability).
  • Analyze the most rapidly-growing open-source tools/ecosystems in order to identify entrepreneurial opportunities in those spheres. Analyze opportunities that emerged from the growth of earlier ecosystems, e.g, Ruby –>Heroku. Identify opportunities that emerge from growth of HTML5.
  • Analyze the fastest-growing companies in every significant country, and then identify if we can create a comparable company in the US market. This is the reverse of the strategy used by many emerging market entrepreneurs copying US models that are successful.
  • Identify white space on market maps: Target sectors that are not yet transformed by the internet: finance, healthcare, energy, education, etc.

SOCIAL TRENDS
  • Identify how, when, and why senior executives/time-pressed professionals are using social media, and business opportunities that emerge from the use of social media by this most influential demographic.

Photo from BillWard

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