Founders Space: Annual 2014 Venture Forecast at Sheppard Mullin Law Firm
It was a chilly evening in downtown Palo Alto. The lights were a sparkling. The coffee beans roasting. And the entrepreneurs a gathering over food, holiday cheer, and startups/investor trends of 2014.
Founders Space is truly a place for founders, startups, entrepreneurs, and investors to gather and meet & greet. Similar to how one would make a connection on a plane ride with his/her neighbor - the ambience was relatively small and intimate. Such an ambience provides an incubator for questions, dreams, ideas, visions, collaborations, and executions.
Trend One: Transparency
Intimidation, power, scrutiny, opportunity, and money comes to mind for many when coming across the term “VC” yet alone sitting face to face with three. Not at Founders Space. VC Dave, Brian Ascher, and Jon Sodburg graciously answered all panel inquiries with a level of openness that truly surprised me. As VC Dave stated during the panel, ” VCs can be quite sage like”. Humble yet experienced and profound. No Game of Drones here.
Trend Two: Health Care
When Brian Ascher (Venrock) spoke about hot topic health care, the topic resonated with me (being an advocate and writer for food allergies & startups). Ashley Nicolei had to clap as loud as possible when the sound off for which VC had the most “inspiring story” or startup experience most proud of. And lucky for her the crowd agreed. There is something about 2013-2015 and users being drawn to platforms which put them in the drivers seat when it comes to using technology to manage health. Three cheers for Ascher!
Trend Three: Pitch Edits “Pitch Camp”
It is entrepreneurs that must create ideas and then find investors to fund them. And it is investors that must use discrimination, street smarts, and ethics to link with entrepreneurs who have the character traits to make the business a success - stop at nothing, relentless, diligent, creative, passionate.
This meet can be as quick as a train ride in Germany (VC Dave) or take years to establish the rapport - it is all in the pitch. Hence, the perfect pitch (first impression) is key in getting your startup funded. Are you ready? We suggest a few revisions. Then some more edits. Not to worry, pitch camp is the perfect place to test out your pitch!
And how does venture forecasting relate to food allergies, awareness, and food media for startups one may ask? Ascher sure did, when he announced they are not interested in funding food startups. We’ll take a hint from trend three and re-format. How about food allergy awareness and healthcare for startups? Incorporating food allergy first response (first aid for anaphylaxis) online courses and epi pen training certification? Savvy? Surely it can use a hundred more revisions, but it is developing into a more focused idea, yes? Thanks pitch camp!
Other hot topics of the evening? Snapchat turning down a billion dollar offer, Amazon Drones and Drone Hunting apps, Email & Big Data, and investing information each VC only shares with his wife. A bold group we had here.
Ashley Nicolei of LiveLoveManja was honored to attend and observe. The event has further opened her eyes to business trends within startup culture and ventures at large.