Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer
Most entrepreneurs are loath to give up equity—anyone who has ever watched Shark Tank knows that. And it makes sense. After all, it’s your breakthrough idea, your money (and sometimes your family’s and friends’ money), your sleepless nights and your hard work. When you’re pouring all that into a venture, you should be the one to call the shots and reap the spoils. It stands to reason that the more equity you take—in other words, the more ownership you give away—the less control you have over your business. And of course, you stand to make less money upon exiting, right? Continue reading
For two days at the end of June, hundreds of VCs, angels, bankers, incubators and startups gathered at the Digital Sandbox in downtown New York for the 2012 New York Venture Summit. The conference, one of the largest of its kind, was orchestrated by youngStartup Ventures to assist growing companies in accessing angel financing and venture capital investments.
Fellow investment associate Douglas Roth and I had an opportunity to attend and participate in group coaching sessions with entrepreneurs. It was a great opportunity to get to know scores of talented entrepreneurs on the East Coast – and beyond – and network with others involved in the funding and growth of early-stage businesses. Also present was CI portfolio company Precipio Diagnostics, a cancer diagnostics lab based in New Haven.
The venue was crowded with a diverse group of entrepreneurs. In attendance were companies from clean tech, IT, biotech and social media. The buzz and enthusiasm around the conference was palpable and reflected a national trend in venture capital investments into innovative startups. Recently, the University of New Hampshire Center for Venture Research in a study that followed angel investing in the U.S. reported that last year over three hundred thousand angels invested over $22 billion into sixty-six thousand companies.
The driving idea behind the summit was getting VCs to coach entrepreneurs on how to effectively pitch their business models to prospective investors in seven minutes or less. The time in between coaching sessions and presentations gave all involved a chance to network and exchange visions and ideas. At the conclusion of the summit, youngStartup Ventures presented awards to recognize the best presenters in each of the three tracks – cleantech, life sciences and tech.
In the past couple of weeks, Doug and I have been following up with some of the most promising investment prospects from the summit. We look forward to continuing our discussions and meetings – and learning more about these exciting companies!
A quick update on an excellent investor event held at Connecticut Innovations on the 12th of this month… Organized by Matt Smith, managing director of investments, CI hosted an informal VC luncheon. This lunchtime event was the first of what CI hopes to turn into a series of quarterly or regularly scheduled meetings in and around the state. This opening meeting focused on the healthcare and biotech industries, while future gatherings will focus on other CI technology interests such as IT, mobile/wireless, clean tech and other niches within the life sciences. While the CI investment team turned out in force, a nice showing of area VCs attended, including representatives from Radius Ventures, Longmeadow Capital, Ironwood Capital, Canaan Partners, LaunchCapital, and VIMAC Ventures. A casual meal was combined with introductions, sharing of each firm’s investment strategy and focus, as well as some storytelling and laughter. The event was embraced by all as time well spent casually forming relationships over open discussions between area investors. CI plans to continue these focused events later this spring and hopes to see everyone at CI’s 20th anniversary technology celebration on April 7.
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