A few different comments from my day yesterday. I hope everyone is having a great week!
I had Calling All Entrepreneurs yesterday in Greensboro at the Nussbaum Center. It got good regional pickup in the Triad including here. I love putting the spotlight on the Nussbaum Center because this is where Batanga was headquartered when we first invested. The incubator is running pretty close to capacity. Yeah, its not all tech companies, but I like the office space with all its character and history and always enjoy the people.
So, I had a lot of fun today. Sam (heads up the place) did all the heavy lifting recruiting all the entrepreneurs. And he recommended a different format to me. He suggested that all the entrepreneurs sit through all the pitches. I was VERY skeptical walking into it. But what happened is a few positive things: a) Everyone got the benefit of hearing how other entrepreneurs pitch. And there are a lot of good things to be learned out of that (what to do/not to do). b) Everyone heard some of my feedback which applied to several of the companies. c) Some of the best feedback came from other entrepreneurs in the room d) I think there are some potential partnership opportunities that were discovered there and some folks swapped contact info. At the end, we saved about 20 minutes for just general VC Q&A. So, thanks to Sam and all the entrepreneurs that participated. There was even a group from Orlando that came up for this. Anyway, there was a lot of positive energy in the room and I really enjoyed spending time with you guys! Invite me back sometime. And I may try that new format again!
Hopefully you are following me on Twitter. But if not, you missed seeing this morning my tweet from the PWC MoneyTree breakfast - North Carolina was ranked #7 last quarter for states grabbing venture capital. The Southeast was ranked #3 behind Silicon Valley and New England. Good numbers when ranked against other regions/states. It was also very interesting to see the growing trends for capital getting invested in NC into biotech companies. I think it was something like 60% of the capital invested in NC last quarter. I know almost nothing about biotech investing (it all looks interesting), but from what all my peers tell me on that side, that percentage should only grow.
Btw, this morning's quarterly breakfast was by far the most packed I have EVER seen for a PWC MoneyTree breakfast. Most of the regional firms were represented and a bunch of entrepreneurs. You should attend the next one. Free breakfast and a good place to meet a bunch of people. And if you go, give me heads up so we can at least meet. I'll try and remember to post the next one here.
Speaking of PWC MoneyTree.... I usually recommend entrepreneurs that are raising capital to look at the back of the quarterly presentation that PWC presents locally. It gives a BIG list of all the "active VCs" in North Carolina. This is typically a good starting point since it identifies the investors that are either located in NC or out of state firms that have invested here. Once a firm invests here, they usually want to find more in the same region. But looking at the list today, it is VERY dated. I think many of the firms haven't made a new investment for over 12 months. Another group probably hasn't invested here in NC for a couple of years. So, if you are looking to raise capital, you may use the list and could be potentially approaching a firm that is either a) no longer in existance or b) out of capital.Would you be useful to publish a different version? Maybe I can work with PWC and put something together that shows the more active VCs. Let me know if that would be useful to you and I'll work on it.