Report Index


Sam Valenti III
Chairman and CEO, Valenti Capital and World Capital Partners

Sam Valenti III is a big believer in what he calls the “barbell theory.”Through his oversight role on the Zell Lurie Institute Advisory Board and as a long-time mentor, he works at the far opposite ends of a barbell-shaped learning continuum to provide students with real-world perspectives they may not get in the classroom. At one end of the barbell, Valenti presents a macro-scale overview of the venture-investment and finance industry to help students gain a broad understanding of the sector's different iterations, professional attractions and personality requirements. At the other end, Valenti zeroes in on the micro-scale, front-line details of how to structure a financing deal, where to find allies and which players to consider as competitors. “What I bring to the table is a deep vein of investment experience in venture capital, private equity, stocks, bonds and commodities over 45 years,”Valenti says. “Mentoring offers a wonderful opportunity to help ‘fill in the blanks' by imparting my professional knowledge to young people at the Institute who are self-starters with strong backgrounds and huge dreams.” Valenti began investing when he was 21 years old, and, early in his career, he served as chairman of the Investment Advisory Board of the $50 billion state of Michigan retirement system for 20 years. “By definition, I had to analyze every asset class and get to know the people who had the best returns in the world,”he remarks. “That's the kind of context I still have, so I am able to share resources that are current and thought processes that are being tested on a daily basis.”Today, Valenti stays active as the chairman of TriMas Corporation, the chairman and CEO of Valenti Capital and World Capital Partners, the chairman at the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund and a member of Business Leaders for Michigan. He also is the former president of Masco Capital Corporation and a 40-year veteran of the Masco Corporation. Three years ago, Valenti established an annual award at the Zell Lurie Institute to recognize outstanding MBA students. The Valenti Excellence in Entrepreneurship award is given to two high achieving individuals each year who are the most well-rounded and well-liked in their class. After graduation, Valenti stays in touch to help them advance their careers and entrepreneurial ventures. “These young people are just beginning, and I'm at a different end of the rainbow,”he says. “I like that kind of blend.”