McCombs takes first place in the Tepper Cleantech Case Competition (TC3)

By Travis Cook, McCombs MBA ‘22


October 2020 – The Tepper CleanTech Case Competition introduced MBA teams from across the country to the world of cleantech venture capital (VC). The teams were given the description of five startups from an actual Pittsburgh-based VC firm’s portfolio and were tasked with developing an investment thesis and identifying two additional target companies to invest in.


Our team first broke down each portfolio company to find potential weaknesses to mitigate and opportunities for synergies. We then created a company scorecard and scoured the web for companies that would be a good fit for the portfolio. We narrowed our list down to eight companies and after completing a deep-dive, settled on one company that manufactures smart electric panels, and another firm that designs and manufactures electrostatic motors. We built a presentation deck around these companies with a detailed sensitivity analysis, management research, and market assessment. From the 40 team submissions, we were selected based on our slide deck to advance to the semi-finals, competing against 16 other teams. After our presentation, we learned we would be moving on to the final round. For the final, the organizers introduced a twist, requesting each team to pick a new sector for investment that was not already represented in the portfolio or in our suggested investment targets. Considering the existing investments and potentially undervalued attitudes towards the sector, we decided to highlight HVAC. After a month of teamwork, lots of laughs, and three slide decks, we were thrilled to have won the inaugural Tepper CleanTech Case Competition!


Team: The Decarbonizers

Participants : (From left to right) Kim Debrowski, Alex Giarratano, Reena Birch Fram, Travis Cook

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