For the fourth straight year, the California Coast Venture Forum (CCVF), along with multiple sponsors spanning a wide range of industries, service providers and investment funds, will present the 2012 Clean Business Investor Summit (CBIS) at UCSB’s Corwin Pavilion on Aug. 10. The event brings together more than 200 participants who range from entrepreneurs looking for start-up capital, to service providers like myself who provide a wide array of consulting services to entrepreneurs, companies and investors, to the investors themselves — venture capital funds, angel investors and even individual investors looking for interesting opportunities.
I am privileged to be able to serve on the planning committee for CBIS for the third year in a row, along with Jerry Knotts, CCVF’s president and CEO, and many other highly experienced investors and service providers. Christie Communications, as always, has been providing substantial support for us and for the event as well. Knotts points out; “CBIS offers a unique opportunity for High-Tech, Low-Tech and No-Tech entrepreneurs to comfortably present to investors. At CBIS, ‘Clean’ starts with ethics.”
For entrepreneurs interested in participating in CBIS as a presenter, to gain exposure to the venture capital and angel investor communities, there is an application process that starts with registering on the CCVF website. Once registered and if selected as a presenter, entrepreneurs will attend an all-day boot camp during which volunteer experts critique and offer constructive advice to help fine-tune their materials and presentations. I have volunteered for three years for the boot camp, including this year’s camp, which will be held July 19 at SBCC. The boot camp is mandatory for those who wish to be presenters at CBIS, and is highly valuable for entrepreneurs seeking funding because they learn how to prepare their materials and presentations to fit within the requirements of most angel groups and VC funds.
The CBIS event brings together entrepreneurs, investors and service providers from all around the world. While CBIS does have a clean technology focus, we have had companies present from just about every industry one could imagine, including consumer products, aircraft manufacturing, clothing, smart phone application development and many more. Many of the companies that have presented at past CBIS events have secured funding for their projects. As an entrepreneur, perhaps the toughest part of the funding process is getting in front of qualified investors to tell their story. CBIS brings together more than 200 individuals, including many investors representing billions of dollars of investment capital.
One of the other important and valuable aspects of the CBIS event is the connections entrepreneurs can make with others in their industry as well as service providers that offer specialized expertise. Many entrepreneurs are experts in their chosen field, but lack other skills, experience and expertise necessary to make their vision become a reality. Firms such as Christie Communications can create highly effective PR and marketing campaigns for companies to gain rapid exposure to key target market segments to drive acceptable revenue growth for investors. Other providers like me offer services that include business plan, marketing plan, PPM (Private Placement Memoranda), presentations, executive summaries, financial models and other materials critical to the finding process. Still others offer specialized legal services, including patent and copyright searches and applications, business structure consulting and filings, and much more. Entrepreneurs can make these connections all at one event to fill any gaps they may have, so they have the tools necessary to meet investor expectations, to secure needed funding.
For entrepreneurs who are new to the funding process, the CBIS event, along with the preparation we provide through the boot camp and other consulting assistance, offers the opportunity to learn how to approach the funding process. This knowledge can then be applied to other events as well as presentations to venture capital funds and angel groups. Each of these investor groups will have slightly different requirements for presenters, but the information gleaned from the CBIS event will certainly help entrepreneurs prepare for these other presentations.
Many experts will participate in discussion panels, including venture capital investors and service providers who have expertise in virtually every area of the funding and early stage development processes. Audience members have the chance to ask questions of these experts, and to speak with them one-on-one after each panel. There will be a wealth of information concentrated in one large room at CBIS, so it’s a perfect opportunity to soak up a lot of knowledge at a single event.
I would encourage anyone interested in early stage companies, especially within the clean technology space, to attend the CBIS. Those who want more information, or who wish to register to attend, can click here for registration information. This is a fantastic event for everyone from students to entrepreneurs, to service providers to investors, or anyone interested in learning about cutting-edge companies, many of which have been established by local entrepreneurs. Our fourth year looks to be even more successful and popular than the last!