VC Bootcamp: Why Boston is a Great Place to Launch
By Dave McLaughlin, CEO of VSnap
Recently The Capital Network presented its Venture Fast Track program, a one-day “boot camp” to prepare startups for success with venture capitalists and angel investors. So often I find that people with great ideas might be a little bit unsure whether they’re a good fit to plug into all the resources offered by organizations like The Capital Network, MassChallenge, Boston World Partnerships, Venture Café, and so many more. It’s important that people understand just how open this community is. If you have a hunger to start and grow something, just show up! You’ll be welcome.
At the Venture Fast Track, people commented on two big buckets of value: the info and the people.
There was an amazing volume of detailed intelligence shared by presenters. (You can click here to see the detailed agenda). This is one of the great things about being in Boston – all the specialized 411 that you need is available to you if you just dive in and start asking questions at events like this one.
Patrick Hayes is the Founder of Shopping Manager, a company that he describes as “managing a phenomenal grocery shopping experience for consumers.” For him, the most valuable part of the day was the in-depth discussion of Cap Tables and the dilution that founders and early-stage investors experience during follow-on financings.
Tonya C. Johnson is founder of Ancient Baker, a Jamaica Plain bakery that uses ancient grains and medicinal plants. For her too, the greatest takeaway was the incredible detail on all the intricacies of raising angel and venture capital.
My experience is that the Boston area has tons of super-knowledgeable people who are accessible and willing to share what they know to help someone else launch and grow their business. This forum definitely proved that out, and several of the attendees cited this aspect of the event as the greatest source of value
John Clark is President of Indivly, a startup that rewards viral content creators. He commented that “the open and honest feedback” was the most valuable aspect of the day.
Janine Franceschi is Founder of PAW, a service that helps affluent pet-toting travelers find luxury pet-friendly accommodations. She described the most valuable part of the day as the “direct access to individuals who have done it, lived it, and lived to tell about this crazy entrepreneurial ride we’re all on.”
People all over the world are dying to learn the kind of information shared in this session. As a community, we shouldn’t forget that. And part of what’s so awesome is that sessions like this one make it really pleasant and enjoyable, like a social activity, to learn all this stuff. You leave feeling totally energized.
Aubrie Pagano, Founder & CEO of Zoora, which is a really cool online marketplace for designer custom clothing, talked about this. “I really enjoyed the small group setting and the opportunity to share a meal with investors. It was an intimate, casual way to be introduced.”
I found a lot of value in the nuanced dynamics of dialogue with venture investors in a role play negotiation acted out by Matt Witheiler of Flybridge Capital, who mock-invested in a company pitched by Matt Douglas, Founder & CEO of the event management service Punchbowl, based in Framingham. There’s no substitute for getting in a room and soaking this stuff up.
If you wish you’d known about this event earlier, well, don’t fret. Keep in mind that The Capital Network offers tons of events, all full of insight and modestly priced. It’s just one of the many resources in Greater Boston for people looking to launch!