Salt Lake Tribune - Success among students


TUESDAY June 20, 2006

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Article Last Updated: 06/19/2006 11:27:47 PM MDT


Success among students
By Linda Fantin The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah entrepreneur hit it big by focusing on a young work force and its new ideas

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In its first four years, the University Venture Fund raised $5 million, making the following announcement all the more incredible: During the past 18 months, UVF has raised another $13 million for Jared Hutchings, left, is managing investments in budding director of the University Venture biotechnology companies and Fund, a student managed venture capital fund. He works with other start-ups. associate Jason Robbins to finalize a It's an unprecedented amount conference itinerary. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune ) of money when you consider the fund managers were plucked from a peer group more accustomed to investing in the futures market - as in hops, barley and ramen. But, as UVF founder Jared Hutchings has discovered, college students are uniquely suited to this kind of work - and not just because they can persuade parents, er investors, to part with a lot of money. "Students are in touch with trends and they have a great talent for doing research, for accessing information and people," said UVF managing director Jared Hutchings. He should know. As a University of Utah student, Hutchings, now 29, recognized the potential of a college-run venture capital firm to harness youthful enthusiasm, encourage private-sector investment in education, and create a laboratory for training the next generation of entrepreneurs, investment brokers and fund managers. Five years later, he's running the company he founded, now the largest student-run capital fund in the country. The $18 million milestone is huge - the fund started in 2001 with a $500,000 grant from James L. Sorenson family and reached the $5 million mark in January 2005 - the true

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Salt Lake Tribune - Success among students

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mark of success might be the number of other schools eager to invest in the concept. Started at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business, the nonprofit has expanded to include students at other universities. The list includes Brigham Young University, Westminster College and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, making it the only multischool, education-based fund in the country. Hutchings said several other schools have expressed interest in joining. He noted that the annual University Private Equity Summit, hosted by UVR, attracts students from 35 universities from across North America. The UVF model is distinct in that it relies mostly on undergraduates. It also raises money like a traditional venture capital firm. This occurs by pitching investors who expect reasonable payback rather than relying on donations and university endowments like similar funds set up by Cornell and the University of Michigan. These methods, as of January 2005, had raised Advertisement $500,000 and $3.5 million, respectively. UVF also teaches students entrepreneurship by funding

innovative-yet-risky start-up companies for which there are no public valuations. Other student-run venture firms tend to invest in safer stocks of public corporations. At UVF, 25 students commit 20 hours per week to researching and evaluating companies. Students then pitch potentially lucrative start-ups to the volunteer investment professionals who oversee the UVF portfolio. So far, UVF has pumped money into nine companies, many of them from Utah, that range in size and sizzle - from Orem-based Omniture, a fast-growing company that analyzes Web traffic and is set to go public, to Handi Quilter, a small, Bountiful-based manufacturer of quilting machines. "I have the perfect job," Hutchings said Monday. "I get to work in an industry I love and at the same time I get to work with students and see their world open up. And knowing that I started this as a student makes their dreams seem more attainable." Brian Waterhouse, a 19-year-old junior at the University of

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Salt Lake Tribune - Success among students

Utah who received a scholarship from UVF, wants to work for a hedge fund after graduation. He's been with the fund for only eight months, yet he calls the experience invaluable. He was one of several UVF students who met with billionaire Warren Buffet earlier this year. "I imagined you'd come in, have a boss, get an assignment. That doesn't happen," Waterhouse said of working at UVF. "It's a lot more free-flowing." And competitive. "Everyone wants to pass a deal," Waterhouse said, adding that his lone pitch was turned down. Hutchings said the fund invests only in small businesses and has a preference for start-ups in Utah. "But we have a duty to invest in the best deal possible." And now the group has $13 million in new money to disburse.


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