Friday, January 25, 2008

What I Learned at the Connecticut Venture Group - 1

Last night I attended the Connecticut Venture Group's ("CVG") forum on venture funding and term sheets. For the next week, I'm going to write about all the things I learned at the meeting.

Entrepreneurship is hot in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Typically, when the economy is disrupted, people turn to starting businesses. The meeting was packed with about 150 entrepreneurs all seeking capital. We did hear from 10 investors (an angel, a banker and eight VCs), who spoke about their areas of interest, their firms and how much they are looking to invest. What amazed me is how much venture capital is available in my area -- millions of dollars. However, each venture capitalist or angel tends to want to invest in specific areas that mesh with their own expertise and their investment criteria. Some want software companies with $5 million in revenue seeking expansion capital. Others want to invest only $500,000 in early stage companies which actually manufacture something and have at least one paying customer. The list goes on.

It's important for anyone seeking capital to be strategic. Discover what the investors want before sending out your plans or executive summaries. One way to do this is to attend meetings like the one I attended or to attend venture fairs. CVG runs the largest venture fair in the Northeast, called Crossroads. I was a judge for last year's event. About half the companies that apply to present are accepted. Go to the CVG's website to learn more about Crossroads and other CVG events.
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