Venture Capitalists at HWS – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Venture Capitalists at HWS

Leaders representing a dozen venture capital communities from around the world gathered for the first time this week at Hobart and William Smith Colleges to discuss shared public policy issues and market opportunities that promise to impact the global venture capital and private equity industries. Terry McGuire ’78, The National Venture Capital Association Chairman Emeritus and co-Founder of Polaris Venture Partners, organized the event along with HWS Colleges President Mark D. Gearan and leaders from the delegation. 

“Hobart and William Smith Colleges were proud to host this inaugural event and are grateful to Hobart alumnus Terry McGuire ’78 for bringing this important group to campus and to the greater Geneva community,” says Gearan.  “I am especially grateful to the attendees of this Congress who graciously mentored our Hobart and William Smith students, sharing their knowledge and advice. Their generosity has been inspirational to our students.” 

Ten students were selected via a competitive application process over the summer to act as student hosts during the event.

“It was extraordinary,” says Daniel Organ ’11. “I was able to get insight on how venture capital works in Brazil, and also listen to the questions and concerns that other countries had regarding the venture capital market.  It was an extremely valuable experience in that I was able to receive advice from the top people in the industry.  The unanimous advice I received was ‘don’t be afraid to take risks.'”  

The delegates – from every continent except Antarctica – were happy to share their knowledge.

“The delegates were impressed with the HWS students and with Geneva,” says McGuire. “It is my hope that one or two of these students may secure an internship through a connection made this weekend. And it’s clear that the delegates will return home with a broader understanding and positive view of the Colleges and the Finger Lakes region.”

venture capitalists

The Global Venture Capital Congress convened over a two day period, during which time delegates discussed topics ranging from the regulatory and legislative environments around the world to the capital markets systems and ways to stimulate the innovation economy. 

“The venture capital industry is no longer centered in a single geography.  It is a quarter-trillion dollar global ecosystem that needs to be viewed as such in terms of the policies and market dynamics that impact us all,” explains McGuire. “Challenges and opportunities abound across the globe and we are best served by sharing our different perspectives and experiences as we all advocate for innovation economic growth and entrepreneurship in our respective regions.”

The delegation included representatives from the following venture capital associations:

  • African Venture Capital Association
  • Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association
  • Brazilian Association of Private Equity and Venture Capital
  • British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association
  • Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
  • China Venture Capital Association
  • Emerging Markets Private Equity Association
  • European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association
  • High Tech Industry Association (Israel)
  • Indian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
  • Latin American Venture Capital Association
  • National Venture Capital Association

In addition to discussing the political and market landscapes, the delegates heard from several dignataries including Harvard Business School Professor and Senior Partner at Bessemer Ventures Felda Hardymon who discussed “Practicing Venture Capital in a Global Marketplace” and Dr. Phillip Sharp, Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor at MIT who spoke on “Combining University Research with Innovation and New Enterprise Creation”.

McGuire earned his B.S. in physics and economics from Hobart and was a member of Sigma Chi.  He went on to Dartmouth College for his master’s in engineering and then continued on to Harvard University to earn his MBA.

Jerry McGuire with Students

In the years since his graduation, he has been involved with the Colleges in a number of ways. He and his wife, Colleges Trustee Carolyn Carr McGuire ’78 were members of the 18-member committee that organized the Boston Launch celebration of Campaign for the Colleges. The two also provided for the renovation of 775 South Main Street, the former Sigma Chi fraternity building, into a student residence, the Carr McGuire House.

Something the McGuires specifically added during renovation to benefit all students on campus was a guest suite. Designed at Terry’s behest, it is based on Harvard’s model of having visiting scholars and dignitaries live with the students and be part of the community. It has been used numerous times to enhance the students’ experience with the Professionals in Residence series, enabling visiting professionals and scholars to spend more time on campus interacting with students.

About NVCA

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) represents approximately 425 venture capital firms in the United States. NVCA’s mission is to foster greater understanding of the importance of venture capital to the U.S. economy and support entrepreneurial activity and innovation. According to a 2009 Global Insight study, venture-backed companies accounted for 12.1 million jobs and $2.9 trillion in revenue in the United States in 2008. The NVCA represents the public policy interests of the venture capital community, strives to maintain high professional standards, provides reliable industry data, sponsors professional development, and facilitates interaction among its members. For more information about the NVCA, please visit www.nvca.org.