Saturday, September 18, 2010

ZZIF - The Panelists Rocked!

Angel investors at ZZIF
On Wednesday, ZINO Society produced our biggest event of the year, ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum.  I was so proud of the ZINO Society Z-Team, each of the entrepreneurs who presented, and each panelist who spoke.  ZZIF Zillionaire sponsor, Bell Harbor Conference Center did a great job of hosting our event and the Bay Auditorium was the ideal location for the ZINOpreneur presentations to a roomful of investors and business professionals.  The International Promenade housed demo tables for the 20 5-minute featured entrepreneur presenters, the 10 2-minute back-of-the-napkin entrepreneur presenters, plus another 13 demo table only participating entrepreneurs.

David Allen, Troy Hartzell, John Otter, Petra Franklin,
Alan Smith, John Cook
I have already detailed the list of presenting ZINOpreneurs in previous blog posts here and here, but wanted to share the impressive list of panelists with you.  Our first panel was the Due Diligence LIVE! panel sponsored by Fenwick & West which included Alan Smith of Fenwick & West, David Allen of McKinstry, Troy Hartzell of Evolution Capital Advisors, Petra Franklin of Vault Capital, John Otter of Commerce Bridge Company and John Cook of TechFlash.  Their role was to ask quick follow-up questions after each ZINOpreneur presented and they did an excellent job of doing just that.

Gregg Bennett, Charles Finkelstein,
Brad Harlow, Byron McCann, Peter Ueberroth

Our second panel was the Angel Investor panel entitled "The Naked Truth - Getting the Skinny on Angel Investor Wins and Losses" which included panelists Gregg Bennett, angel investor currently running for Washington State Senate, Charles Finkelstein, previously of Microsoft, Brad Harlow of B. Harlow & Associates, Byron McCann of Ascent Partners Group, Dan Rosen of Dan Rosen & Associates and Peter Ueberroth of the Contrarian GroupPeter Ueberroth was our featured angel panelist and we were so pleased to have him and two members of his Contrarian Group team join him to look at potential angel investments.
The responses from the angel investor panelists were fascinating as they discussed angel investment deals that went right and what was the tipping point for them to actually invest and investment deals that went wrong and what were the primary causes.  Several investors cited the biggest problem they faced with deals that went wrong was the CEO becoming uncommunicative once things were not going as well as hoped.  When Dan Rosen mentioned the company's name (Delve, previously known as Pluggd when it presented at ZZIF 2006) as a deal that went wrong, unfortunately he set off a firestorm of TechFlash blog posts and comments both attacking the company and attacking him personally.  You can read the postings here.

Bill Bryant, Andy Dale, Warren Gouk, Ron Howell,
Dan Kingston, Rick LeFaivre, Gregg Semler
Our final panel comprised of VCs who were to listen to two separate flights of "Back-of-the-Napkin Pitches" and select the company from each flight that they felt was most investable (at this stage with the limited information that they had after listening for only 2 minutes and looking at one powerpoint slide).  Panelists included Bill Bryant of Draper-Fisher Jurvetson, Andy Dale of Montlake Capital, Warren Gouk of Enclarity, Ron Howell of Washington Research Foundation, Daniel Kingston of Vulcan Capital, Rick LeFaivre of OVP Venture Partners and Gregg Semler of Pivotal Investments.  It was impressive to hear the individual choices and what the primary factors were in selecting which companies.  Each panelist sounded absolutely credible justifying his choices after only two minutes of information.

Hearing the insights that the prestigious ZZIF panelists shared throughout the day was worth the price of admission!

Ron Howell, Dan Kingston, Rick LeFaivre

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