Angel Fund

Willamette MBA

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From Paramedic to Angel Investor: Zack Schick

As a JD/MBA, Zack Schick was inspired to enroll in the Angel Venture Fund because of its reputation at Atkinson Graduate School of Management. “I heard it was the best MBA class for practical knowledge and experience.” Now, as a delegate for our class to the Oregon Venture Fund (OVF), Schick has the opportunity to meet fellow angel investors, speak directly with entrepreneurs, and research potential investment opportunities.

OVF’s monthly meetings focus on pitches from entrepreneurs with businesses primarily based in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The fund invests annually in a wide variety of startups, both in terms of industries and in the stages of the company life cycle. To date, OVF has invested in 61 startups and a total of 57 million dollars. Not chump change. Despite the fund being able to invest 100k to 2m per year in companies, Schick says his first meeting was relaxed and welcoming.  “The environment is collegial. I expected it to be more intense, but the meetings are open and friendly.” One of the benefits of the Angel Fund at Willamette is the chance to attend meetings with seasoned investors up and down the West Coast. Sitting at a long table of over thirty investors, Schick says it was great to interact and meet with those who have a lot of experience in investing in startups. “The most interesting part [of class] is being able to access meetings I otherwise would not have access to,” says Schick.

Schick says the class offers an opportunity to learn about business in an environment separate from his law and MBA coursework and provides a chance to apply and expand on what he learned in his core MBA courses. The class has also quickly taught him how to critically examine business ideas and entrepreneurs. Prior to and throughout the year, the class examines startups from an effectual lens. Effectuation principles are born out of a set of research that says that great entrepreneurs use a similar set of logic to start successful ventures. If you’re interested in learning more about effectuation, you can read Nathan Foos’ blog post here or view the Society for Effectual Action here. Despite not having a background in entrepreneurship–prior to enrolling at Atkinson, Schick worked as a paramedic–he’s quickly learned how to examine startups and entrepreneurs from the principles of effectuation. “I look for clarity in their vision and their understanding of the business environment their startup operates in. For me, it’s huge when an entrepreneur can articulate their vision and explain where the business is heading.”

Every month, Schick and fellow classmate Brian Campos explain three startups they heard pitched at OVF to the remaining class members. One of those startups could just become a multi-million dollar Oregon-based and funded company.

This blog post is part of a series on the 2019-2020 students enrolled in Angel Fund.


Emily Anderson is a second-year MBA candidate at Willamette University studying accounting and finance. She is a 2017 graduate of Gonzaga University, where she received her B.A. in International Studies. Emily enjoys traveling to listen to pitches from entrepreneurs, debating new ventures with her colleagues, and analyzing potential deals.



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