Friday, June 12, 2009

Raising Capital for Innovative Ventures in Today's Economy

Over 50 people attended MassTLC's Entrepreneurial Cluster breakfast seminar: Raising Capital for Cutting Edge Ventures in Today's Economy.

Participants included: James Geshwiler, Managing Director of CommonAngels; Michael Greely, Chairman of New England Venture Capital Association and a General Partner of Flybridge Capital Partners; Thomas Ryden, Founder and COO of North End Technologies and Bill Sweeney, Managing Director of Comerica Bank, Venture Capital Group. The panel discussion was moderated by Jeff Stoler who is a Partner at McCarter & English.

Several key points continually rose to the forefront...

- The first being the fact that the Venture Capitalist Community is highly segmented. Michael Greeley drove this point home to the audience by explaining the extreme importance of the firm that you, as the entrepreneur choose to meet with. It is crucially important to pick the right firm based on your industry and the amount of funds you need to raise. What every entrepreneur needs to take away here is this: Only talk to firm associates who really understand your market, always keep in mind that your time is more valuable than the time of the Venture Capitalist. The VC is paid to meet with you! Choose your primary meetings carefully.

- The second key point made this morning is just how up and coming the robotics industry is! All of our panel members agreed that Robotics is the next big thing, and is definitely the area everyone will have wished they invested in. This shift has occurred most likely because the cost has come down dramatically while the processing ability has come up, and one result of this is we are beginning to see more consumer robot products.

- One final observation to share from this morning's event... Bill Sweeney could not stress enough the importance of exploring government funding. If you take the time and effort to locate these funds, there is loads of it available for your venture. Almost every group within the government will fund development, and if you are looking to start new technologies this option may be the best option because you will own your technology. Consider all groups, even those you would never think would provide funding; as an example the Departments of Veterans Affairs will often provide small amounts of technology funding. Government funding is the most unused source of funding.

This event was sponsored by Comerica Bank and McCarter & English, LLP, Attorneys at Law.

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