Conference Insights: Private Equity & Venture Capital Symposium

Each year, students at the Yale School of Management organize conferences that convene leaders in a range of industries. We asked the organizers of the 19th annual Private Equity & Venture Capital Symposium to share the key insights they took away from the experience.

April 10, 2019
Co-chairs: Grant Silow ’19 and Martha Xiang ’19


Hosted by the Yale School of Management Private Equity/Venture Capital Club on March 29 at Evans Hall, the 19th Annual Private Equity and Venture Capital Symposium featured industry leaders from across alternative investment sectors, strategies, and roles. 

This year’s symposium celebrated SOM’s mission of “educating leaders for business and society” and highlighted investors who have committed their careers to emphatically pursue purpose alongside profit—best exemplified by our keynote speakers:

  • Nancy Pfund ’82, Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, in conversation with Richard Kauffman ‘83, Chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and former Chairman of Energy and Finance for the State of New York
  • Steve Case, Chairman and CEO at Revolution LLC, Chairman at the Case Foundation, and Co-Founder, Former CEO and Chairman at America Online (“AOL”), in conversation with Susan Carter, Independent Director at BlackRock Multi-Asset Mutual Funds, Former President and CEO at Commonfund Capital, and lecturer at the Yale School of Management on Private Capital and Impact Investing. 

As the largest gathering of alternative investment professionals on the Yale campus, we evaluated areas of interest for our students and, for the first time, expanded the symposium’s panel topics to include Consumer and Retail, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Sustainable Energy, Impact Investing, and Portfolio Operations—all of which generated engaging and insightful discussions that both speakers and audience members continued throughout the day. 

We observed the following industry themes reiterated:

  1. Impact investing and conscious consumers are here and here to stay. 
  2.  Competition is surging with a growing number of players and increasing capital allocation toward venture capital and private equity firms. As a result, investors are striving to differentiate themselves by showing how they can provide more value to portfolio companies, including sector specialization, shifting towards incubating companies (amongst early stage VCs), hiring more operations talent, and offering full scale internal consulting platforms.
  3. Investors should look toward undercapitalized geographies, i.e. outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston for untapped opportunities. 

It was an honor to host the symposium this year and we thank everyone for their participation in and support of this legacy. We look forward to the 20th Annual Private Equity and Venture Capital Symposium next year!

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