Venture Capital Investing Themes: What’s Hot, What’s Not
Venture capitalist Bill Tai presented the V. Dale Cozad Lecture in Entrepreneurship on April 12th, to an audience of students from across the campus.
Drawing on his strong experience as an investor, Bill Tai spoke on ‘Venture Capital Investing Themes: What’s Hot, What’s Not,’ at the 13th Annual V. Dale Cozad Lecture on Entrepreneurship, on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011.
The visit of Bill Tai to the campus was a great opportunity for faculty and student entrepreneurs and those eager to learn more about entrepreneurship. Students from across the campus attended the lecture and spoke with Mr. Tai following. Student and faculty entrepreneurs also interacted with Mr. Tai throughout the day.
The six teams of student entrepreneurs who presented their business ideas in a lively afternoon session were pleased to have the opportunity to interact with an expert who could give them such informed feedback. The teams are in our Illinois Launch program, working to develop their own startups, and finalists in the V. Dale Cozad New Venture Competition.
Jonathan Naber, a materials science student and founder of the Illinois Launch firm IPT, remarked that "Meeting with Bill was a great pleasure - he is a clear example of an engineer who has used his analytical mind to become a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist… He is a great role model for entrepreneurial students."
Zach Trater, a computer engineering student who participated in the afternoon session and then attended the lecture, said that it “was a great experience. He gave honest and complete feedback, which will help us tweak our pitch and ensure we present Contendable successfully to both investors and customers. In addition, his lecture displayed valuable insight about the technology market and where it's heading.”
Bill Tai is a partner at venture capital firm Charles River Ventures, a serial entrepreneur, and angel investor, and a serious kite boarder, on snow and water. In fact, he’s an Olympic Ambassador for the International Kiteboarding Association, and co-creator with Susi Mai of the MaiTai Kite Camp.
As an investor, Tai focuses on digital media, enabling technology and web services. He has funded 40+ companies as a VC since 1991 in all layers of the tech ecosystem. Fifteen of his start-up projects have grown to become publicly traded companies. Others have been acquired by such firms as Nokia, HP and Microsoft. An active investor, he has been founder or chairman of several of his projects.
Tai graduated with honors from the University of Illinois with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1984, and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1987. He serves on the Board of Managers of IllinoisVENTURES.
The V. Dale Cozad Lecture Series in Entrepreneurship honors the memory of Dale Cozad and the hard work, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit that led to his great success. This lecture series was established by the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through the efforts of Peter and Kim Fox and endowed through the support of the family and friends of V. Dale Cozad.
See more photos of the 13th Annual V. Dale Cozad Lecture in Entrepreneurship