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Entrepreneur funding conferences: Get them on your calendar!

on August 12, 2011 Source: Kauffman Foundation

Woody Allen once wrote that 90 percent of life was just showing up.

So it goes in the wide world of venture capital, where several times per year, various funding groups get together in different U.S. cities and rub elbows, share cocktails and war stories, and – most importantly for healthcare entrepreneurs – look for good investment ideas.

Entrepreneurs are invited, too, but can only expect to secure a deal if their ideas are sharp and their presentations extremely well-honed.

There are two common denominators among venture funding conferences:

  • Many (but not all) of them are held in the summer, meaning this year’s ship has already sailed.
  • Venture capitalists say that entrepreneurs are missing a golden opportunity to show up with a brilliant investment presentation. The mindset is this: venture funders are actually real salesmen (and women) who prefer to press the flesh and size up funding candidates in the flesh before deciding to give them cash or not.

Conferences may be the best way to meet those firms and grab some cash for your firm.

Going forward, we’ll cover some of the key steps needed to “influence the influencers” while you’re at a venture trade show.

But let’s start with a list of some of the best conferences coming up over the next six weeks or so. See if you can’t make one or two of them and give your healthcare startup an inside edge on capital funding.

So read up, mark your calendar, make your reservations, and start getting your pitch ready.

Social Innovation Fast Pitch

Aug. 22, 2011 (Application Deadline – Pitch on October 3, 2011)

Seattle’s Social Innovation Fast Pitch 2011 is a fast-pitch investment forum highlighting “New Ideas for Social Impact,” presented by Social Venture Partners Seattle. It culminates at the fast pitch competition on October 3, 2011, in the Fisher Pavilion with up to 20 organizations, selected from over 100 applicants  including social entrepreneurs, local non-profits and social businesses. The session has more than $150,000 in grants and investments available to those organizations delivering the most compelling five-minute presentations.

Consumer Products Investing Conference

Chicago, IL: Aug. 25, 2011

Full-day, early-stage venture and angel conference with a pitch-coaching workshop focusing on consumer products and services investing. Meet early-stage VC funds, corporate investors, family office funds and angel groups. Meet Investors from 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners, LaSalle Investments, Best Buy Capital, Hydra Ventures, General Mills Ventures, Innovation Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, Point One Percent, Metis Group, Penny Black, Angel Investors and more.

Connecticut Angel Investor & Early-Stage VC Conference

New Haven, CT: Sept. 7, 2011

Early-stage venture & angel conference with a pitch-coaching workshop. Meet early-stage VC funds and angel groups in Connecticut. Meet investors from Connecticut Innovations, Dakota Ventures, ARC Angel Fund, Kestrel Asset Management, and more to come, conferences organizers say.

Angel Investor & Early-Stage VC Conference

Houston, Texas, Sept. 5, 2011

At the FundingPost Angel Investor & Early-Stage VC Conference you'll meet investors, pitch them, and learn what it really takes to get them to write you a check. They will be discussing trends in early-stage investing, hot sectors, sectors that these angels and VCs look at, things that are most important to them when they are considering an investment, the best and worst things an entrepreneur can do to get their attention, and additional advice for entrepreneurs.

Global Chinese Financial Forum (GCFF)

Toronto, Ontario, Sept. 23-25, 2011

The Global Chinese Financial Forum will be a truly international event and will provide North American and Greater Chinese public and private companies, financial institutions and service providers, as well as the North American Chinese-speaking investor community, with substantive opportunities to meet their varied and distinct goals. The conference will operate under a vertical integration model where all participants will be able to engage with all the necessary levels of the profiled sectors.

LAUNCH | Chicago

Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 26-28, 2011

Connect with the enterprising web generation that has innovated business. Learn how tech startups compete for investment and discover the newest innovations coming out of the Midwest. midVenturesLAUNCH Innovation Workshops are a perfect opportunity to learn more about the future of Chicago tech and meet other successful entrepreneurs as well.


Seattle, Washington, September TBD, 2011

StartupDay is a conference for pre-entrepreneurs interested in founding or joining a tech startup. Learn what’s important for creating a tech business from scratch. Meet one-on-one with advisors. Learn how to pick the right idea, build your team, fund the business, build your product, bring it to market and make a profit. StartupDay is a conference organized by Seattle 2.0, a resource for technology entrepreneurs.


San Francisco, California, September TBD, 2011

The TechCrunch conference was started in 2007 with a simple goal: find the best start-ups and launch them in front of the industry’s most influential VCs, corporations, fellow entrepreneurs and press. They created a platform where early-stage, and frequently unfunded, companies could take center stage based purely on merit, without regard to their own financial resources. This year they'll launch 50 companies over three days.

Vator Splash

San Francisco, California, Sept. 29, 2011

Vator Splash is democratizing access to the Silicon Valley elite. Ten early-stage startups selected by their peers share the stage with rock star CEOs who share their secrets to success with the crowd of 400 startup CEOs, investors, service providers and bloggers. Investors from top VC firms, such as 500 Startups, Alsop Louie, Andreessen Horowitz, AngelPad and more will be attending or have attended the event.

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