Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Panelists at Venture Vineyard

One of the strengths of Golden Capital events is the consistent quality of panelists we are able to include. Investors participate to help their own visibility and hopefully find new investment opportunities. Here in Santa Rosa at the Venture Vineyard Early Stage Conference is no different.

I'm in the "Software and Internet Services" session right now. The panelists include:

* Allegis Capital, Bob Ackerman
* Horizon Ventures, Bob Dahlberg
* SAP Ventures, David Hartwig
* Claremont Creek Ventures, Randy Hawks
* Ascent Partners, Byron McCann
* Newcastle Capital, Dean McKay

Venture Vineyard in today's Santa Rosa Press Democrat

The Golden Capital team is in Sonoma this week for the Venture Vineyard Early Stage and Santa Rosa Innovation Investment Forum.

The local paper here today includes a profile of the companies that presented yesterday for the "Regional Companies to Watch" panel.

Companies that presented yesterday in the session, moderated by Jean Hackenburg of the North Bay Angels, include:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Seen as Key to Economic Prescription

I presented the Golden Capital Venture Communities model of cross-regional collaboration to catalyze innovation, entrepreneurship and private investing on a panel at a federal economic development forum this week in Alexandria, VA. (hosted by International Economic Development Council).

Never before in all my years of covering politics and economics as a journalist or working with companies, investors and communities to foster entrepreneurial networks, have I witnessed such optimism in the face of such potential calamity. It was a windy day inside the beltway, which I think lent a spirit of hope to the proceedings. It felt unusually fresh and invigorating, not hot and frustrating like Washington wind often does. In any case, it packed a punch.

Congressman Paul Kanjorski, the PA Democrat who chairs the house Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, keynoted the luncheon and sent the strongest message. "This seems to be a very upbeat meeting, which is good. All the indicators, data and forecasts we have indicate, however, that not only are we in a recession, but we might well be headed for much, much worse. It's the kind of data that might make you want to put your head in a cannon and pull the trigger."

The 300 or so attendees -- mainly economic developers, tech transfer pros, and innovation policy wonks from across the U.S. -- nearly choked on their cheesecakes. Kanjorski lightened up some by the end of his speech, and everyone went on with their business of networking and finding out about what's cutting edge in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship for economic development, but I couldn't get his harbinger of "slow spiralling meltdown" out of my head as I flew home to Chico the next day amidst new records announced for a barrel of crude, a gallon of gas, and mortgage default rate.

Bringing innovation to market was a key theme of Kanjorski's prescription for avoiding utter economic catastrophe, and a key theme for the event. I felt pretty good hearing that, since at Golden Capital, we've been of a mindset for nearly 10 years that economic development must focus squarely on innovation, entrepreneurship and investing if it wants to really make a difference in a community. I made the point in my presentation that technologic innovation from universities or national labs --as revolutionary as it may be -- doesn't mean very much unless it can get to market. It takes an entrepreneur to do that. The best researchers and academics are usually not the best entrepreneurs.

What this means for us at GCN is a continued focus on building regional collaborations that involve the research institutions, and that we must also continue to encourage our regional members to reach out to the "most likely to succeed" entrepreneurs and high into the ranks of the private sector within a community to connect entrepreneurs with the capital and advice they need to grow.

Venture Communities is designed to do exactly that and we'll keep beating that drum until see it -- or something comparable -- instituted throughout the nation, or we break under the weight of those who can't see the writing on the wall. Either way the wind blows, we'll keep fighting. Because if you aren't part of the solution...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Missed them in Monterey? Catch them in Fortune Small Business

If you attended the West Coast Venture Capital Conference in Monterey last month, then you had the chance to see Zero Motorcycles' very cool electric dirt bike. If you weren't there you can check them out in the latest issue of Fortune Small Business. The Zero X was profiled along with very cool bikes from other manufacturers.
Never know when you're going to have a chance to see the next big thing, before it's a big thing. Your next chance to see the next big thing is April 29-30, 2008 at Venture Vineyard.