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Elfman-Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab

Elfman-Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab

The Merrick M. Elfman and Therese L. Wareham Private Equity Lab was created for Chicago Booth students to learn firsthand about the private equity and venture capital industries. Through the combination of an intensive internship at a private equity or venture capital firm and an academic course, students become active participants in the analysis of real-world investment decisions made by seasoned investors and also learn to apply their academic frameworks to their internship experiences.


Students accepted into the PE/VC Lab will be registered for either the PE or VC section of the PE/VC Lab course, which meets once a week in the evening for three hours during the spring term. The PE section of the PE/VC Lab is taught by professor Chris McGowan and the VC section is co-taught by professors Jason Heltzer and Ira Weiss. The content is designed to equip students with timely practical tools and impart experience from industry veterans with the ultimate goal of accelerating the apprenticeship process of those aspiring to work in the private equity and venture capital industry. Coursework includes case discussions, simulated board meetings and investment committee meetings, guest speakers, workshops, and lectures. Students hear from both the professors and guest speakers on cutting-edge topics related to private equity and venture capital investing. Students also share information and challenges related to their internship experiences and various networking opportunities allow students to meet venture capitalists and private equity professionals from other participating firms. Grades are based on host firm evaluations, classroom participation, case write-ups, and a final project. The course cannot be taken pass/fail, and it is not possible to audit the course.

Participants do not need to bid points to gain entry into the PE/VC Lab course. Admitted students will automatically be registered for and receive points for their participation in the PE/VC Lab course.

TAs for the Spring 2020 PE/VC Lab course (BUS34702) include:
PE Section 

  • Cass Gunderson
  • Anurag Gandhi
  • Kelly Carlquist
  • Joe McIlhattan

VC Section

  • Julia Butz
  • Margaret Gaby
  • Shaun Walker


In conjunction with attending spring-term course sessions, participants in the PE/VC Lab also intern for 15-20 hours per week for at least 10 weeks at their host firm (broadly defined to include seed/venture capital firms, growth equity firms, and buyout firms). Internships may take place during the winter quarter only, spring quarter only, or both quarters. Students will work on specific assignments for their firm, ranging from evaluating new market and business opportunities for investment to analyzing specific issues faced by portfolio companies.

The days on site and work schedule will be arranged directly between the student and their host firm. All internships are typically unpaid; however, students may be reimbursed up to $500 for transportation expenses related to their internships.

Summer internships or other continued work with the host firm would be negotiated and arranged directly with the firm and would be separate from the PE/VC Lab.

Host firms are welcome to have students sign standard non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). However, host firms are prohibited from asking students to sign non-compete agreements.

The following firms are participating in the 2020 PE/VC Lab.

  • 4S Bay Partner
  • 7Wire
  • Agman
  • Akoya
  • ARCH
  • Aves Capital
  • Benford
  • Chicago Capital
  • Clean Energy Trust
  • CompanyFirst
  • Contrary
  • Corazon
  • Cultivian Sandbox
  • Cultivian Capital
  • DOM Capital
  • Duchossois
  • Edgewater
  • Equator
  • Equity Intl
  • Evolv
  • FinTech Forge
  • Flexpoint Ford
  • Golden Eagle
  • High Street
  • HPA
  • HPVP
  • Impact Engine
  • IrishAngels
  • Jump
  • Kinsale
  • Kinzie
  • Knox
  • Lightbank
  • Listen
  • LTW
  • M25
  • Maxim Partners
  • McNally
  • Moderne
  • Monument Microcap
  • Motivate VC
  • NextGen
  • New Markets
  • Nine Four Ventures
  • OCA
  • One Equity
  • Origin
  • Pareto & Co.
  • Pfingsten
  • PSP Capital
  • PSP Growth
  • Randolph Group
  • Roark
  • S2G
  • Samata Capital
  • Sandalphon
  • Sandbox
  • Seven Hills
  • SevenSaoi
  • Singerman Real Estate
  • Sterling Partners
  • Stellex
  • Techstars
  • Tilia Holdings
  • UChicago IF
  • VestedWorld
  • Victory Park
  • West Lane

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