The Global VC

Here’s What Happened at #DealCamp at Berkeley

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Guest blogger – Adam Sterling is the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy, co-founder of Startup@BerkeleyLaw, and a former venture capital and startup attorney.

I returned to U.C. Berkeley almost two years ago to help establish the university (and Berkeley Law in particular) as the world’s leading institution for the study and practice of law and entrepreneurship.

After completing our second Venture Capital Deal Camp with 500 Startups last week, I’m confident that Berkeley is the place to be for investors, entrepreneurs, practitioners, and students interested in innovation.

Below is a recap of Deal Camp – if you weren’t able to join this week, we’ll be back with another session in October! 

Deal Camp is a collaboration between Startup@BerkeleyLaw, our institute for venture capital and entrepreneurship, and 500 Startups, a leading global venture capital fund and startup accelerator. The program is an intensive four-day course focused on the nuts and bolts of deal making for investors who want to improve their ability to define, negotiate, and execute early-stage investments.

At Deal Camp last week, we welcomed over 30 investor participants (our “Deal Campers“) from 14 different countries (Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

Our Deal Campers represented various sources of capital (including corporate funds, family funds, and venture capital funds) looking to increase and improve their early stage investments. While our dynamic faculty curated a robust curriculum, our Deal Campers were the stars of the show!

Here’s what happened at Deal Camp:


Day One – After arriving at Berkeley Law, the Deal Campers spent the morning sharpening their own investment theses (with the support of the 500 Startups investment team) and then headed off to the 500 Startups Mountain View headquarters for the world-famous Preview Day. At Preview Day, the Deal Campers took front row seats to observe pitches from the latest and greatest startups in Batch 19 of the 500 Startups accelerator. After the pitches, the Deal Campers met with the Batch 19 founders to practice applying their investment theses.


Day Two – Deal Camp returned to Berkeley Law and kicked off with a lecture from Berkeley-Haas professor Gregory LaBlanc on the business case for venture capital. This was followed by a lecture from Neil Dugal of 500 Startups on early stage financing terms and processes. At lunch, the Deal Campers enjoyed a fireside chat between Ben Ling of Khosla Ventures and Bedy Yang of 500 Startups. After lunch, I started a two-part interactive workshop on modeling the economics of early stage finance with my good friend, Scott James of Accel. We then finished off the day with a lecture from leading venture capital expert, and Berkeley Law professor, Robert Bartlett, on the art of the valuation.


Day Three – We kicked off with a review of the various term sheets and definitive agreements used in early-stage venture capital and was followed up by a case study workshop with Christine Tsai of 500 Startups. Christine explored a few of her more successful investments and interviewed a couple of her favorite founders. At lunch, Berkeley’s very own Peter Minor (founder of the CITRIS Foundry incubator), interviewed Michael Berolzheimer of Bee Partners. Peter and Michael discussed strategies for finding value in new and developing startup markets. After lunch, we kicked off our Term Sheet Olympics and the Deal Campers spent the afternoon preparing and negotiating venture capital deals.


Day Four – The final day started with a lecture from the New York Times Deal Professor, and Berkeley Law faculty member, Steven Davidoff Solomon. Professor Solomon discussed venture capital exit strategies and the state of M&A in 2017 (along with some very insightful predictions on the future of venture capital). Following the Deal Professor, I completed our cap table training with Quinn Rotchford of AngelList and enjoyed an interview with Ellen Pao of Kapor Capital on the relevance of human capital in the venture capital world. Ellen was fantastic, insightful, and a highlight of the program! After Ellen’s talk, we were treated to a two-hour, no-holds-barred, AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) with Dave McClure of 500 Startups (led by Christine Winnett, executive director of the Berkeley incubator SkyDeck).


Unfortunately, Deal Camp had to come to an end on Friday, but not without some fireworks! Our Deal Campers each received a certificate from Berkeley (set to music and many, many high fives) and spent the night making future plans with one another over cocktails at Berkeley’s famous Freehouse bar and restaurant.

I’m proud to call Berkeley my home away from home and to declare that #BerkeleyMeansBusiness! Go Bears!

Thank you to Adam Sterling for contributing to the 500 blog. For more insights from Adam, follow him on Linkedin or Twitter.

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