Patrick Vernon

Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Venture Initiatives, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

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

Vernon has taught the first phase of StartUp-UNC, a series of courses designed to help UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty and staff turn their ideas into startups. He is the resident lean startup expert, creating a classroom simulation of a startup accelerator for StartUp participants to explore the market feasibility of their innovations.

He also teaches an entrepreneurial consulting course for undergraduate business students, who have had the opportunity to work with more than 50 local startups, such as Counter Culture Coffee, eTix,, LoneRider Brewing Company and Chapel Hill Toffee.

As director of venture initiatives, Vernon has led innovation and growth of the global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) from five domestic events to a network of 50 events in 13 countries, including 66 MBA programs and serving more than 1,200 students annually. He founded and leads the national uVCIC for undergraduate students interested in learning about venture capital.

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

Prior to joining the business school at Carolina, Vernon 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.