SMU entrepreneurship club brings Ross Perot Jr., Anurag Jain and Joseph Beard to campus, talk ventures, business and more

The SMU entrepreneurship club hosted a forum in Crum Auditorium on Oct. 27. The forum included successful entrepreneurs, Ross Perot Jr., Anurag Jain and Joseph Beard of Perot Jain, L.P.

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From left to right: Ross Perot Jr., Anurag Jain and Joseph Beard waiting for the forum to begin in Crum Auditorium on Oct. 27. Photo credit: Lisa Salinas

Perot Jain is an early stage venture capital firm founded by Perot Jr. and Jain in 2014.

“Our firm combines the best of both worlds,” Beard said.

They have operating expertise and extensive knowledge in advising, according to Beard. This, he said, allows them to provide much value to their portfolio companies.

Perot Jain is currently partnered with 18 companies and is represented in three different countries: the United States, Switzerland and India.

Perot Jain looks to invest in any company they think is innovative but specifically focuses on healthcare, information technology and analytics.

In addition to the entrepreneurs talking about their company, they also discussed a little bit about themselves and how they came to be successful in their ventures.

Perot Jr. was, in a sense, born into business.

“I spent my Saturdays with my dad at the data centers,” Perot Jr. said. “You know, as a kid there wasn’t much for me to do at a data center, so I would play with punch cards.”

Today, Perot Jr. serves as a chairman for multiple companies such as The Perot Group and Hillwood in addition to being a real estate developer.

The discussion of beginning a venture capital company began when Jain and Perot Jr. crossed paths during their employments at Dell.

“I said, Anurag why don’t we do some kind of venture program,” Perot Jr. said.

The goal behind the venture capital company is the find young talent and ideas, according to Perot Jr.

“If they are a great entrepreneur, a great leader . . . it doesn’t really matter what they’re doing, we’ll bet on that person,” Perot Jr. said.

The moguls offered advice and insight to SMU students, even relating to students.

“My first idea came to me sitting exactly in a seat like this,” Jain said. “I was sitting in the auditorium of the University of Michigan receiving my MBA.”

Jain has over 30 years of experience in the automobile components industry in addition to working for the Endurance Group.

But despite one’s original end goal, he or she may end up in a different place, according to Beard.

“Where you start today may not be where you end up in 10 years,” Beard said.

Following the forum was a reception, where students had the opportunity to network with Perot Jr., Jain and Beard.

SMU senior Bucky Layton took a lot from the forum, even calling the entrepreneurs the “three wise men.”

“They all three have incredible background experience,” Layton said.

Layton pointed out that it’s important to be affiliated with one of Perot Jain’s industries if you’re looking to partner with them.

“I do think that if you are looking specifically at their venture capital firm and looking to get anything from them, you need to be in one of the specific industries that they are interested in,” Layton said. “And if not, then you need to come with an encyclopedia of information on what you’re going to be doing.”

Layton has no doubt in the continued success of the company.

“It’s a small firm that they’re running with great potential,” Layton said.

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