Rattan L. Khosa SeedCon 2023: Building for Resilience

Mike LaVitola, MBA ’14, co-founder and CEO of Foxtrot contemporary corner stores, served as the Rattan L. Khosa SeedCon keynote speaker (photo by John Zich)

The Polsky Center and Chicago Booth’s Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC) Group co-hosted Rattan L. Khosa SeedCon 2023, Booth’s annual flagship entrepreneurship and venture capital conference, on January 27.

This year’s theme was “Building for Resilience” in recognition of the world’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent economic downturn, which has spurred investors, entrepreneurs, and operators to think creatively about how to build for a resilient future.

Nearly 200 participants, including entrepreneurs, investors and passionate members of the startup ecosystem, had the opportunity to hear from more than 20 speakers during panel discussions and keynote addresses, as well as to attend various networking sessions to explore emerging industry themes and connect over shared ideas.

Rattan L. Khosa ’79, the namesake of the event and founder of industry-leading post-tensioning company AMSYSCO, offered opening remarks, and Mike LaVitola, MBA ’14, co-founder and CEO of Foxtrot contemporary corner stores, served as the keynote speaker.

With this year’s theme of recovery and resiliency, the speakers focused on what it takes for startups to succeed in a challenging economic environment. Khosa discussed bootstrapping his business and the many challenges he faced during COVID. LaVitola spoke on the importance of having a network of individuals that you connect with and lean on for advice and understanding.

“Having a partner is necessary so it’s not just you all the time,” he said. “And it’s important to find people in the same boat as you. Having this network is beneficial so that you can be totally vulnerable with each other in ‘behind closed doors’ conversations and build relationships that allow you to commiserate, network, and compare notes.”

Industry panels covered the state of consumer business, B2B and SaaS, healthcare, and fintech. These panel discussions brought together entrepreneurs and investors that shared insights into trends within their respective industries. An additional panel addressed the topic of entrepreneurship and investing in the time of an economic downturn.

“The Polsky Center was delighted to partner with the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital student group again this year to bring together a strong lineup of entrepreneurs and investors for candid and insightful discussions, said Erika Mercer, executive program director at the Polsky Center. “We are grateful for the generous support of Rattan L. Khosa, who helped make this day possible.”

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