24 Jan New class of IU Ventures Fellows seeks real-time exposure to world of venture capital
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Buoyed by the successes of its initial fellowship class, IU Ventures, Indiana University’s early-stage venture and angel investment arm, has welcomed its second cohort of IU Ventures Fellows. This year’s class, which includes IU graduate students representing a wide range of academic interests, backgrounds and experiences, will spend the next year immersing themselves in the fundamentals of venture capital and taking the first steps toward becoming successful early-stage entrepreneurs and investors.
The IU Ventures Fellows program, which runs for 12 months from January through December, provides students with a real-world education designed to help them to effectively identify, evaluate, structure and invest in new ventures. The program, which “graduated” its first class of fellows this past December, is helmed by Neil Powell, executive director of student experiential learning at IU Ventures and director of the IU Kelley School of Business MBA Strategic Finance Academy.
“We are extremely excited and pleased to welcome the newest class of IU Ventures Fellows,” said Powell. “Each of these students is prepared to embark upon a unique opportunity to learn about — and pursue their passion for — business startups, as they also build lasting relationships with leading venture capitalists and innovators from Indiana and beyond.”
This year’s fellows include seven students from across IU’s Bloomington campus whose interests span the fields of arts administration, business and finance, data science, informatics, law, mathematics and sociology. Through a combination of online and in-person seminars, guest lectures, internships and real-time projects, they will learn about the processes of deal sourcing and due diligence, while engaging with IU alumni and industry experts currently working in the venture sector.
This year’s fellows will receive their first major venture capital immersion experience of the new year when they participate later this week in the annual Venture Capital Investment Competition, the world’s largest venture capital case competition featuring more than 120 university and graduate school teams.
Aleksandra Czerniecka is pursuing a master’s degree in arts administration to add to a master’s degree in piano performance, which she earned in 2021 at IU’s world-renowned Jacobs School of Music. A former Fulbright Scholar and self-described “artist and constant explorer,” she hopes to acquire practical knowledge and skills in venture philanthropy, which she hopes to use in a future career as an artist and arts administrator. She also believes it is important to explore the world of startup investing from a perspective outside her usual artistic surroundings.
“I am hoping to bring the business and arts worlds closer together,” Czerniecka said. “I would like to come out of this program with a clear vision of how venture capital firms can get more engaged with the arts world and vice versa. I am not just thinking about venture philanthropy, but also how artistic ideas might transform into attractive business proposals. The IU Ventures Fellows program seemed like a great opportunity to ‘infiltrate’ the world of venture capital from the other side and to get to know it better.”
Hussain Habib is a first-year student at the IU Maurer School of Law, where he is pursuing a doctor of law degree. Prior to entering the Maurer School, he spent nearly four years working at the Indianapolis and Boston offices of Roche Diagnostics as a program associate, product manager and account executive. He is excited to add “real-world, real-time deal experience” to his portfolio, which he believes will prepare him for a future career in transactional law, which requires practitioners to counsel individuals on the myriad legal issues inherent in business dealings.
“With my law degree, I hope to take part in deals as part of a transactional law practice in the future, so having the opportunity early on in my law school journey to get exposure to live deals, I believe, is an invaluable opportunity that will supplement the work I’m doing in the classroom,” Habib said. “I’m also looking forward to working with and getting to know members of my cohort, who all have extraordinary backgrounds and credentials.”
Modeled after leading student venture programs across the nation, the IU Ventures Fellows program provides experiential learning opportunities that have been made possible by IU Ventures’ main investment initiatives. These include the IU Angel Network, which facilitates connections between IU-affiliated startup companies and prospective investors from among IU’s community of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, and the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, which introduces donors to IU startups, innovations and initiatives.
IU Ventures continues to develop the Venture Fellows program in partnership with IU’s Elmore Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at the Maurer School of Law; Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering; Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs; University Graduate School; and Walter Center for Career Achievement at the College of Arts and Sciences.
Additionally, this year the program will once again partner with the National Venture Capital Association to offer NVCA’s VC University online certificate program to all of its fellows. Completion of the certificate signifies mastery of the “fundamentals of VC.”
About IU Ventures:
IU Ventures invests in and supports IU-affiliated early-stage companies. Its investment programs include the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, IU Angel Network, Shoebox Fund and Innovate Indiana Fund. It further supports IU founders through the Executive in Residence Program and IU Founders and Funders Network. Student support is provided through a variety of engagements, including the new IU Venture Fellows Program. Each program takes unique approaches to accelerate and support the positive impacts that entrepreneurs affiliated with IU already achieve across the world. IU Ventures is a recognized leader in increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs and investing in Indiana startups with a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.