Hot Topics: EMBA Students and Alumni Gather to Discuss Current Developments in the VC Community at Wharton|San Francisco

Despite the rough economy, it’s still a great time to start a business, according to VCs at a recent panel discussion at Wharton|San Francisco.  The panelists – all Wharton alumni — gathered last month to discuss current developments in the VC community and the impact on entrepreneurs.

Laura Onopchenko, who graduated from Wharton’s West Coast EMBA program in 2007 and is director of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs (WEP) at Wharton|San Francisco, says the event – the first of several upcoming Friday night panels — drew more than 160 students, alumni, and guests. “This is a hot topic not only for entrepreneurs, but for anyone who wants to get a pulse on entrepreneurship, find resources, and network within the Wharton community.”

The panelists included Wharton undergraduate alumnus Jim Lussier, general partner at Norwest Partners, Wharton MBA graduate Jim McElway, partner at Weston Presidio, and Wharton San Francisco EMBA graduate Ashmeet Sidana, general partner at Foundation Capital. The event was moderated by the new executive director at Wharton|San Francisco, Doug Collom, who is a partner at Wilson Sonsini.

After the panel discussion and Q&A, the event ended with time for networking. “The newest San Francisco class started recently so this was a great event for them to meet the extended Wharton alumni community and hear about a topic that is essentially part of our ecosystem in this area,” says Onopchenko, managing director at Techfarm Ventures.

West Coast EMBA students also had an opportunity last week to participate in Wharton’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program, which brings successful entrepreneurs to campus for one-on-one discussions with students about their own aspirations as entrepreneurs.  Last week’s EIR, serial entrepreneur Gordon Campbell, general partner at Techfarm Ventures, shared his observations on the current environment for start-ups and reflected on his own experiences as an entrepreneur.

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