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Patrick Vernon

Patrick Vernon

Clinical Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director of Venture Initiatives


McColl 4216, CB 3490 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490


Patrick Vernon’s fields of expertise are venture capital, entrepreneurship, lean startups and experiential learning. His educational focus is creating innovative, interactive, experiential learning environments, both inside and outside of the classroom.

He teaches venture capital and startup courses for Undergraduate Business and MBA students, including classes entrepreneurial consulting, venture capital strategy and regional VC immersion.

As director of venture initiatives at UNC Kenan-Flagler, Professor Vernon has led the global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) into a network of 60 events in 13 countries. Over 1,500 students from 70 MBA and 50 undergraduate programs compete annually in VCIC.

He co-created the Carolina Challenge Pitch Party, a “hyper-interactive” networking event that uses a battle-of-the-bands format to expose student-startup teams to scores of local entrepreneurial leaders. The event is known as one of the best networking events in the region.

Professor Vernon is the author of “Venture Capital Strategy: How to Think Like a Venture Capitalist” (VC Razor Publishing, 2018), which treats venture capital as a topic of strategy rather than finance. The textbook has been adopted in undergraduate and MBA programs across the U.S. and internationally.

Professor Vernon’s entrepreneurial consulting course has worked with more than 60 local startups running the gamut from high tech to retail, fast growth to non-profit.

Prior to joining UNC Kenan-Flagler, he was an entertainment entrepreneur, founding an independent record label based in Los Angeles. With his band, The Zookeepers, he released four CDs and performed 500 shows in the United States and Europe.

He received his MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler with a concentration in entrepreneurship and a BS, summa cum laude, in audio technology with a minor in physics from American University.