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Entrepreneur / Investor Conference (SPEC) a Smashing Success

May 2nd, 2008 · No Comments

It has been two days since the conclusion of the Southeast Private Equity Conference.   I’m in Hilton Head, enjoying the view of the pool, drinking my coffee and enjoying my euphoria over the success of the inaugural Southeast Private Equity Conference.   I’m taking a deep breath and taking time to submit this blog entry.   Drew Ermec of Catalyst Magazine attended and blogged live from SPEC (http://www.catalystmag.com/Blog/index.html ) From the pre-SPEC presenter workshop–“What’s your secret sauce?” to the electric energy in the air throughout the EXPO and the challenge of pitching in 9 minutes, Drew captured the experience of SPEC. 

We had over 150 entrepreneurs, investors, and others associated with early stage company growth in attendance for the day and  a half event.   There were great break out sessions.    Taylor Consulting, as a sponsor, was the moderator for the Valuation session with a panelist of VCs, Investors and other valuation experts.  Comments regarding the presentation and panel discussion for Valuation ranged from “Very Helpful” to “Good insights into what is needed and how to go about getting it and why”.   The Bootstrapping your Business session was geared toward companies getting going and growing while conserving their capital and had feedback like “Content was great. Format was superb.  I enjoyed the whole session and could take another hour.”   The attendees in that session accumulated a list of free resources to be shared with everyone.  

But of course the main purpose of the Southeast Private Equity Conference wasn’t education…that was the side benefit.   The main purpose was for these bright, aspiring, innovative, and impressive entrepreneurs to connect with capital….specifically investment capital.   And that they did.  With the economy in flux, the markets in turmoil, investors came from far and wide to attend this event.   Unfortunately, the representation from the local Atlanta investor community was less than expected because many of the NBAI members could not attend because of scheduling conflicts and other notable investors would not attend because of misplaced loyalty to some group or socialist concept that entrepreneurs should get services and capital for free.  They will never know what they missed—in meeting and helping great companies and in showing their support for an endeavor that would establish Atlanta as the heart of early stage capital markets for the Southeast.  Many local investors, fund managers and investment bankers did attend…Noro-Moseley, Fulcrum Ventures, Venture +Value, Jackson Securities, Key Bank, Focus Partners, EGL Holdings, Future Factory and scores of private investors.  In addition, investors from Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and beyond attended SPEC and got to meet the entrepreneurial stars of tomorrow.   Feedback from the entrepreneurs included “well-organized event, top grade”; and “Very good conference and was run professionally.  Made several good investor contacts.”  Many companies reported having as many as 20 investors to follow up with.   Some made strategic connections with potential joint venture partners.   We’ll hear a lot of their direct reaction on the SPEC Talk Radio show today www.blogtalkradio.com/karen-rands .  

A highlight film was shot and many testimonials were video-graphed.    They will be made available as soon as possible.   For our first event, prepared for over a long time, but actually put together in just 10 weeks…it was a smashing success and we know the next one will be even betters with more investors, and sponsors and companies with even more exciting projects further along.   We gave away awards for most Innovative Company from the Showcase where the companies pitched their 9 minute investor presentation.   Winners were tied in the first session with P2P Cash and ServusXchange, and in the second session it was Maxum Games.  ServusXchange and Maxum Games were interviewed during the 4/25 SPEC Talk Radio show which can be replayed at www.kugarand.podomatic.com or at www.blogtalkradio.com/karen-randsP2P cash will be on a future show.    We let all the attendees vote on the Best of Show from the companies exhibiting in the EXPO.   Best Bio-med Product was Filtrx, a topical filter you where to prevent allergens from entering your body.   Best Consumer Products company was Red Clay People, offering beautiful hand made leather garments adorned with shells and stones.   Best Media company went to Atlanta Petz, a soon to be franchised across the region Pet magazine currently with 30,000 readers in Atlanta.  Best Technology went to Bia-Sun, an innovative approach to deliver digital media, news, coaching, education based on a schedule set by the user.

We look forward to the continued good news we receive from the sponsors and attendees about the business they completed as a result of participation in SPEC.  We hope to take SPEC to another market in the fall and then return to Atlanta next Spring.   Any community wanting to bring together investors and entrepreneurs to stimulate economic growth in their own back yard should contact us at management @sePrivateEquity.org.   We had tremendous community support from the local chambers, the State of GA Economic Development office, the SBDC, and other entrepreneurial organizations….all listed as Co-op Sponsors at www.sePrivateEquity.org.

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Tags: Entrepreneur Biz-Buzz · In The News

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