Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Venture 2011?

Ed McCarthy, Managing Director, River Cities Capital Funds

Why should early stage companies plan to attend Venture?

Entrepreneurs put their heart and soul into developing their companies.  By participating in the 2011 CED Venture Conference they will avail themselves of the opportunity to network with fellow entrepreneurs and get a sense for what other driven teams are developing while at the same time providing a point of calibration in regards to how their business value proposition resonates in the market. In addition is the ability to network with investors and service providers, building relationships with others who may be able to help them get where they want to go.  

As an investor, what sets Venture apart from other conferences?

CED (formerly The Council for Entrepreneurial Development) has a long history of organizing dynamic high-energy technology conferences that are educational as well as great networking events.  This year’s event will be the 28th annual conference - which says a lot.  CED pioneered the concept of a regional Venture conference – which is why many of us refer to this event simply as “Venture.”  Each year CED’s Venture Conference provides a showcase for innovative technologies and emerging high growth companies throughout the southeast, including, of course, those from our own Research Triangle Park area.

Investors will find the conference to be an efficient forum in which to see an array of innovative companies in a compacted period of time.

Whether you are an angel investor or an institutional venture capital investor you will have the opportunity to interact with talented entrepreneurs and be introduced to innovative business models.  It is always interesting to track where others are investing, get a ground level sense for developing trends, and network with our colleagues in and around the venture industry.

What is new for this year?

We have taken an innovative approach in introducing a fast paced high tech format.  We’ll kick off with a Demo Room and a “lightening round” presentation opportunity for innovative early stage companies to gain exposure with potential partners, prospective employees, and interested investors. 

As the conference progresses there will be four key “Idea Islands,” each includes a presentation from an industry leader followed by an interactive dialogue with the region’s most dynamic entrepreneurs in that sector. These conversations are designed to give investors a better sense of the companies, their sectors, and the potential opportunities.  The four-featured Idea Islands are:

-         Digital Media and Communication                  
-         Cloud Computing                  
-         Healthcare IT                  
-         Business Analytics

In addition, the M&A panel discussion includes executives from IBM, SAS, Turner Broadcasting and GE Healthcare.  These major corporations have demonstrated a trend of acquisitiveness in each of the featured “Islands.”  This exciting panel will give entrepreneurs insight in regards what acquirers are looking for when they identify and pursue a target.

Overlaying all this we have featured speakers who will inform and entertain.  I am really looking forward to this action packed event.  

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