McDonough School of Business
Georgetown McDonough undergraduate students Phoebe Martin (B'24) and Devon Pasieka (B'25) convened renowned leaders at the intersection of venture capital, entrepreneurship, and public policy for the first student-led Venture in the Capital Summit this past March.
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Undergraduates Lead First Student-Run Venture Capital Summit on Campus

Georgetown McDonough undergraduate students Phoebe Martin (B’24), Devon Pasieka (B’25), Trip Gorman (SFS’24), Bryant Hill (B’24), Andrew Deves (B’25), Carolina O’Leary (SFS’25), and Quinten Dreesman (SFS’23) convened renowned leaders at the intersection of venture capital, entrepreneurship, and public policy for the first student-led Venture in the Capital Summit this past March.

The event featured a number of experts who shared their insights and experiences with the Hoya community through panels and fireside chats with key figures in the venture capital sector, as well as other industries.

“Students often think that they can only go into investment banking or consulting careers, and we really wanted to use this event to expand the audiences’ purview and understanding of what career options are available to them,” said Martin. “I think it’s one thing to hear it from someone who’s a year older than you, but it’s even more impactful to hear it from a really successful Georgetown alumnus, who has chartered their own path in the field.”

Venture in the Capital was hosted in collaboration with Georgetown Entrepreneurship. The day kicked off with an introduction by Jeff Reid, founding director of Georgetown Entrepreneurship, and Todd Klein, one of the partners of Revolution Ventures, a Washington, D.C., based venture capital fund. Following the kick-off, Martin moderated a virtual discussion with Friedberg, whom she credits as one of the inspirations behind the inaugural Venture in the Capital event. 

Other panels on the climate tech revolution, implications of big tech regulation, and navigating alternative career paths were held throughout the day. Notable speakers included Mark Feldman, global chair of investment banking and a member of the Executive Committee at J.P. Morgan; Antonio Gracias, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Valor Equity Partners; Trae Stephens, partner of Founders Fund and co-founder and chairman of the board of Anduril Industries; Michael Brown, general partner of Battery Ventures; Bobby Franklin, president and chief executive officer of National Venture Capital Association; David Friedberg, chairman and chief executive officer of the Production Board and co-host of the All-In Podcast; and Anne Dwane, co-founder & partner of Village Global.

Martin said she came up with the idea for the event after attending The All-In Summit in Miami, Florida, last May. After seeing the large network of leaders at the summit and engaging with  Georgetown alumni who are working in venture capital, she felt confident Georgetown had the proper network and resources available to host its own venture capital conference.

Reid was eager to work with the students to host a successful event on campus and support student learning experiences. He said the opportunity to collaborate with Venture in the Capital directly fits into one of Georgetown Entrepreurship’s guiding pillars: student formation. 

“The students who created this event exhibited tremendous entrepreneurial spirit, and I was proud to support that effort,” Reid said. “I believe all who attended left with a greater understanding of how entrepreneurs play a crucial role in society, how policy affects entrepreneurial activity, and hopefully with some inspiration to pursue their own entrepreneurial career paths.”

The event name, Venture in the Capital, emphasizes Georgetown’s geographical advantage in the nation’s capital, according to Martin and Pasieka. The students wanted to address what sets Georgetown apart from other universities with venture capital clubs and organizations and highlight the regulatory policies that affect the industry, particularly those coming from the federal government that have downstream impacts on startups and venture firms.

“The presence of venture capital funds and startups in D.C. are especially important so we can make sure regulations being put in place are supporting innovation, founders, and helping them grow and succeed,” Pasieka said.

When speaking about working alongside other students to put on the event, Martin said success is best when it’s shared. For Pasieka, she said each contributor to the event was able to make their own mark that made all the difference for the overall success of the event.

“We all had different strengths that we brought to the table, and we were able to play on each individual member of our team’s strengths,” said Pasieka. “It was just a really collective effort. This event was uniquely successful because it was composed of alumni and people established in the industry, talking to students, and more or less, this is the future of the industry sitting in front of you. I believe attendees left the event knowing how venture capital ties into other industries such as investment banking, and alternative asset classes, as well as a call to action at the end of what the future is going to look like.”

Martin and Pasieka hope to see Venture in the Capital grow and succeed in upcoming years, featuring new and recurring speakers, particularly those who were enthusiastic but unable to attend the event this year.

When reflecting on this year’s event, Pasieka said she and Martin feel especially fulfilled when it comes to knowing they could be a part of helping other young women get involved in venture capital, an area that Georgetown is already leading the charge on. According to a study by Different Funds, Georgetown is the second-best university in graduating women who lead venture capital firms

“As it relates to Venture in the Capital, I believe having female leadership was uniquely important in that it shows that the venture capital industry really needs diverse perspectives and voices,” Pasieka said.

Georgetown Entrepreneurship
Undergraduate Program