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Inside the Shark Tank

Santa Clara University entrepreneurial-law students will be given a chance to help launch Silicon Valley startup ventures, as part of a new collaboration between Keiretsu Forum and Santa Clara University School of Law’s Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic.

Starting last month, eight students in the new Santa Clara University Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic, under the supervision of the clinic’s director, will be joining Keiretsu’s “angel investors” at monthly Keiretsu Silicon Valley investor meetings, where a handful of startup entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to a room of savvy evaluators. Angel investors provide financing to early-stage companies in exchange for a stake in the company or other consideration.

“This project will cultivate a new generation of entrepreneurial students while adding a fresh perspective to angel investing,” said Laura Norris, director of Santa Clara University’s Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic.

The students will get the rare opportunity to listen in and provide input as teams of angel investors examine the viability of the potential investments, a process called “due diligence.” Students will gain valuable insight into the process investors use to make investment decisions, while the angels will benefit from gaining access to the opinions of the student demographic—a point of view not readily available to most angel investors.

While the initial collaboration includes only students from Santa Clara Law, the intention is to include students from other Santa Clara University departments to create cross-disciplinary diligence teams, said Norris.

“This is really a win-win partnership,” said Randy Williams, CEO and founder of Keiretsu Forum. “The students’ perceptions of the proposed deals will be a valued addition to our current process, and the students will get a bird’s eye view of how angel investing works.”

“Santa Clara University is fortunate to be offered this opportunity to work with Keiretsu and their robust network of angel investors,” added Norris. “This partnership is part of the University’s commitment to supporting the local entrepreneurial community while providing a relevant experiential learning opportunity for the students.”

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