Santa Clara University

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Winter Quarter '07 Newsletter

A Home Run in Entrepreneurial Inspiration at Founders Club Banquet


Innovation begins with inspiration, and guests at our fall quarter Founders Club banquet received plenty from guest speaker Paul DePodesta. Featured in the New York Times bestseller Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and renowned for his creative management approaches in Major League Baseball’s famous front offices, DePodesta discussed the innovative strategies he’s used to build winning teams, and the application of those strategies in the corporate world.


Asked about the thought process that leads innovation, DePodesta says, “It all starts by asking yourself the ‘naïve question,’ which is, ‘If we weren’t already doing it this way, is this the way we would start?’ I just believe that being relentless in this can lead to success, and the more relentless you are, the better.”


On the road to his own successes with the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Dodgers, and, currently, the San Diego Padres, DePodesta credits the influence of several key mentors and their common qualities of innovative thinking, wide-ranging interests, and broad, eclectic knowledge. He also points out a central tenet of entrepreneurial success.


“Finding something that you’re truly passionate about is key, so that at the end of the day, you’re happy and doing what you love,” says DePodesta. “It’s a lot easier to be a success that way, and the other everyday things people worry about tend to fall into place from there.”


DePodesta adds that he was honored to participate in the first-annual Founders Club event, sharing his experiences with the donors, student leaders, and CIE advisory board members who gathered at the Adobe Lodge on September 27.


“Nothing excites me more than people and ideas, and that’s exactly what CIE is promoting,” he says. “Personally, I think it’s terrific, and exactly the kind of thing I like to encourage.”


Interested in supporting our mission to connect, educate and launch entrepreneurs? Join alumni and friends of Santa Clara University in the CIE Founders Club by contacting Kevin Holmes at 408-554-5753 or

CIE to Have a Home in New Leavey School of Business


Plans are underway for a new home for SCU’s Leavey School of Business, and the CIE team is looking forward to being among its residents.


One of Santa Clara’s two largest capital projects to date, the 85,000-square-foot business school facility promises to bring faculty, students, and associated organizations together in an environment made for interactive person-to-person learning. It’ll be about 2 ½ times the size of the present space in 90-year-old Kenna Hall, and accommodate classrooms, faculty offices, research centers, and executive education programs currently spread across campus.

“In the macro, it brings us all together in one place,” says Barry Posner, dean of the Leavey School of Business. “Once that happens, we’ll have provided a space that brings people into closer contact with one another and helps them find opportunities for learning and collaboration that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”


The CIE offices are slated for location on the ground-floor commons, along with other business-oriented centers and associations. Notes Posner, “We think that putting CIE back into the business school will serve to give greater visibility to the Center itself and to all of our efforts in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.”


As of press time, individual and corporate gifts have amounted to $36 million of the project’s $48 million funding goal, and the planning team hopes to break ground on the new location in either late spring or early summer of this year. For a sneak preview of the look and layout of the planned facility, visit “Building For The Future” on the business school website. And for further details on project details and funding, contact Dean Posner at 408-554-4523.


MBA Entrepreneurs’ Connection Hosts 10th Annual Venture Capital Investment Competition


CIE would like to congratulate the MBA Entrepreneurs’ Connection at the Leavey School of Business for their very successful first-time hosting of the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) on January 19. Founded by the University of North Carolina in 1998, the VCIC is the nation’s premier strategy competition for venture-minded and entrepreneurial MBA students, providing them with a real-world venture capitalist experience.

One of eight regional competitions across the U.S. and Europe, the event represented the Wild Card West section with competitors from Brigham Young University, UC Davis, San Diego State University, UC-Irvine, University of San Francisco, and SCU. Turning the tables on the common business plan competition format, participating students played the roles of investors and reviewed pitches presented by real entrepreneurs. From there, competing teams went through the entire VC analysis and investment process, with their performance judged by a panel of investors representing top-tier angel investors, venture capital and private equity firms. Presenting entrepreneurs also received the benefit of practice and exposure to the VC community, which has provided over $300 million in new business funding to participating ventures over the competition’s history.


VCIC winning teams included Accelerator Ventures from USF for the Entrepreneurs’ Choice award, Maverick Ventures from SDSU in second place, and Summit Partners from Brigham Young with the first-place win and a ticket to advance to the Western Regional at USC in March. SCU’s team, Clairvoyant Capital, also received kudos for their competition performance and hosting of the event.


“This simply was one of the best events I have ever seen,” said VCIC Director Patrick Vernon. “With its location in the heart of Silicon Valley and the three components of VCIC—entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and top-ranked MBA students—SCU is well-positioned to execute yet another superb event.”  

For more information on the MBA Entrepreneurs’ Connection and plans for next year’s VCIC event, send an e-mail to

Blogging About Business With the Silicon Valley Immersion Scholars


We’re thrilled to be hosting five Fulbright Scholars for an intensive six-month immersion in high tech entrepreneurship, and while they’re at Santa Clara, they’re sharing their day-to-day experiences in an online diary. Check out the SVI Blog to meet Abramo, Elisabetta, Valentina, Micol and Emanuele, and learn about their experiences with Leavey School of Business courses, special Bay Area conferences and seminars, and everyday living in Silicon Valley.

Upcoming Events

Idea Sharing
Thursday, February 22

7 p.m., Kenna Hall
Hosted by the Engineering & Business Alliance
After pitching your business plan, meet other entrepreneurs and students willing to help out or join your team. (Ross Dakin: 858-699-2190 or


Workshop for the Executive Summary
Tuesday, February 27

8 a.m., Kenna Hall
Hosted by the Engineering & Business Alliance
Bring in your business plan for feedback and peer review that’ll make it even better. (Ross Dakin: 858-699-2190 or


Entrepreneur Speaker Series - Mitch Lasky, Founder of JamDat; sold to EA for $684M
Thursday, March 7

7 p.m., Music & Dance Facility Recital Hall
Join us for our winter quarter edition. Panel discussion begins at 7 p.m., followed at 8:15 by EC and EBA open houses and Bronco$ in Bu$iness networking event. RSVP Now.


Workshop for the Executive Summary
Thursday, March 8

8 a.m., Kenna Hall
Hosted by the Engineering & Business Alliance
Another opportunity to hone your business plan before the March 27 submission deadline. (Ross Dakin: 858-699-2190 or


Business Plans Due
Tuesday, March 27

8 a.m., Kenna Hall
Hosted by the Engineering & Business Alliance
Submit your business plan for critique and editing by local VCs. (Ross Dakin: 858-699-2190 or

Sign-up for the CIE newsletter below and get connected to the Santa Clara University community of entrepreneurs:


Quick Tips from the Pros

Social networking site professionals from our fall quarter Speaker Series panel offer advice to aspiring entrepreneur:

On setting business priorities:
“When you’re starting small, pick one or two things you’re going to do well, and nail ’em.”

Steve Loughlin
President & CEO, Affinity Circles, Inc.

On establishing a professional reputation:
“Your behavior at your company is so important, because you never know what’s going to happen—whether you’ll end up working for someone again later, and so on. Behave well, behave ethically, be kind to the people you work with, and good things will happen.”

Jim Scheinman
VP, Business Development & Sales, Bebo, Inc.

On preparation for life as an entrepreneur:
“I think the key to success in (eventually) starting your own company is working at a startup, and really learning a lot from the team of experienced people there.”
Jeff Roberto
Senior PR/Marketing Manager, Friendster, Inc.
On spotting the “next big thing” in business ideas:
“It’s easy to take a business plan or PowerPoint presentation or product and list all the reasons why it won’t work…But one of the more important things is to remember there are things that can take off. If you find a good enough marketing opportunity or inefficiency, very few people will actually perceive it at the time. But once you start getting traction…everybody will say, ‘Oh, it’s so obvious that people want to do X or Y.’ In fact, it’s almost never obvious in advance.”

Keith Rabois
VP, Business Development, LinkedIn, Inc.

RSVP for the Winter Quarter Speaker Series Go

Printer-friendly format