Shaddock Fund

Entrepreneurship and Investing: A Marriage Made in B-School

When students who need funds to finance a business plan meet with students who hold the purse strings of the Shaddock Venture Capital Fund, the result is experience they can’t get anywhere else.

September 07,  2017

By Elaine Cole

[Excerpt from Neeley Magazine] – Austin Patry donned his best business suit and stood in front of his classmates to ask for money for his business plan, Voilà Valet, an app that delivers real-time data to both the valet service and the customer. He showed them his sketches for the dashboard, walked them through how the app works and asked for $5,000. He got it. 

“It was my first time to pitch to anyone,” he said. 

A few months later, with a functional app and dashboard made possible through the original funds, he came back to the Shaddock Fund and asked for additional money to pay his programmers and go to launch.

“I’ll bring you along with me and show you where your money is going,” Patry told them. 

They agreed and gave him an additional $8,000. 

“I was proud that I could show them what I had done with the money they gave me after my first pitch,” he said. 

Successful entrepreneur Bill Shaddock BBA ’73 made a $250,000 commitment to form the student-run fund to give students a real experience in asking for funds and investing in new businesses. The student investors listen to other students pitch business ideas, select who they want to come back for a deep dive, and then determine if and how much a plan will be funded. Students who receive funds must provide updates on their venture’s progress.

Christine Clutterbuck was one of the students who voted to give Patry money. As a member of the Shaddock Venture Capital Fund, Clutterbuck spent the semester evaluating business proposals, competitors, marketplace and profit potential. She used that experience for her own business idea for a virtual reality program that helps hospitalized children combat boredom, anxiety and depression. 

Clutterbuck and classmates Mathew DeBilio and Kendall Records pitched their VR prototype to the Shaddock Fund and received funds for research.

“This very real experience forces you to define and refine what you want to do,” she said. 

TCU MBAs Paul Pieniadz and Christopher Fanchi received $5,000 for their company, Tempus Analytics, to develop TradeJester, a weekly game that offers the chance to win real money by virtually trading stocks around earnings announcements. 

“We demonstrated that we could use Shaddock’s capital to expand our current product and attract a user base,” Pieniadz said.

Asking for money is hard, but giving away money isn’t as easy as it seems.​

“It’s a lot easier to give away someone else’s money than your own, but it’s harder than I thought it would be,” finance major Joel Huffman said of his experience as a member of the Shaddock Fund. “I really liked all the people who presented. I could see they are visionary. I could see their ideas. But you have to balance between skepticism and optimism.

“You can watch ‘Shark Tank,’ but unless you are starting your own business or have money to invest, it’s hard to know what it’s truly like,” Huffman said. “Now, I know.”

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