About a year ago, I was reading the local paper and found a startup with an iPhone app who had raised $250K and was featured prominently on the front page of the business section. In turning to the back page, I found a later stage startup raising over $20M and receiving only scant attention. It seemed odd to me that a startup with almost no hires could gain such attention, while the later stage company providing many more jobs received a yawn. But in today’s, startup focused world, the new trumps the old.
In talking with many in the community, the phrase “Series B” crunch came up often. For some there’s ample seed and Series A funding, but little after that. Texas has no Series B funds. In general, a Series A fund is $50-100M and writes $500K to $2M checks. A Series B fund has $300M and writes $5M to $15M checks.
I had a client go to the JP Morgan Healthcare conference and came back with some substantial funding. It was a 1:1 style conference in which the participants sign up to meet investors, providers, and others. The ability to hold many meetings in one week makes it attractive. This is a new type of conference called the “appointment based event” which focuses on networking people together. In the past, most conferences were more about the keynotes, panels, and large group discussions. Appointment-based events are about 1:1 and small group meetings.
TEN launched the Texas Venture Growth Forum, in 2015, holding its first conference in Austin on October 7-8, 2015. We had over 40 investors come from across the country to meet with 27 Texas companies who were later stage startups yielding over 125 1:1 sessions over a two day period.
The overwhelming feedback was positive and focused on the ability to meet in 1:1 settings. Investors and CEOs liked the event because they don’t want to just talk about fund raising. They want to be doing it.TEN is now planning for a Life Science version of the event in the spring of 2016.