Building upon the success of the first quarterly Capital Connections event, we held the second one a few nights ago. There were well over 300 people on the RSVP list, however, due to severe weather, delayed flights, and the resulting massive traffic jams, we ended up with about 200 attendees. Not too bad – even more than we had the first time, despite the weather and traffic.
What Went Right!
As with the first event, the vibe was strong. There was definitely a lot more “intermingling” of entrepreneurs and investors (perhaps our PitchCamp and podcast efforts at work!).
The next day we received a call from one entrepreneur who walked away with 8 investor prospects, and another that snagged 3 follow-ups from investors. I’ve since received emails from several others that are having dialogs with investors post-event. Congrats to those guys, and the others who also fared as well. Of course, while the theme of our event is connecting people to “capital”, that really only happens once people connect to “each other” – so hopefully, every attendee was able to make some valuable new contacts.
The newly-designed name badges were a definite upgrade from the old ones, and seemed to make the task of finding and identifying people a lot easier.
Spreading the food throughout the various rooms of the venue seemed to encourage more wandering and dialogue.
So what could have been better?
As with everything in life, there is always room for improvement.
The obvious thing was that the attendance was lighter than we had anticipated. I got at least a dozen calls while I was at the event from various entrepreneurs and investors letting me know that they couldn’t make it due to the weather (a couple of those calls were made by investors whose flights were diverted to other airports … wheee!) Nothing you can really do about mother nature, of course … The good news is that even with the bad weather and jammed highways, we still managed to draw a ton of people. Very cool.
We also had some name badges that got mangled during the print run. Yikes. We’re getting better at this, though.
At least one service provider managed to sneak his way in (a mortgage broker). We’ll be putting some better mechanisms in place to prevent this.
A few people were overheard telling others that the cash bar we had was lame (because they had to pay for drinks, not because of the selection). Clue bell, people. This is a free event, where you get to show up and stuff your face with gourmet food and meet investors. I think you can spring for your own cocktails. Besides, we don’t want the liability of what happens when someone decides to have a few too many and get “stupid” … so deal with it. Additionally, if you are there for free drinks, you should re-consider your motivations. If you want free drinks, there are plenty of service-provider love-fests around town … have at it. So … we don’t view this as something that could have been “better”, but we’ll put it out here anyway. BTW, these whiners are going under the bus on our next podcast – bet on it.
One of the things we’re going to be looking at very hard in the coming weeks is how we make event more valuable to both investors and entrepreneurs. We are tossing around a lot of ideas, and it would be premature to share them all here now. But suffice it to say, we are slowly but surely evolving the event in the right direction. I can say that there will probably be an increased focus on bringing in more angel investors and possibly a slight refocusing on how deals are put into the room.
Capital Connections Photo Gallery!
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And of course, a special thanks to our sponsors! Without them, none of this would be possible:
Special thanks to our non-profit sponsors as well:
And a very big thanks to all the entrepreneurs, investors (most especially those that traveled from other states), and observers that came out and made this event possible. What’s next? Capital Connections will be back next quarter, just in time for a great holiday party.
See you then!