Jake: Hey guys, this is Jake. I’m here with Todd Jones, the Vice President of the Shasta EDC, and he’s going to bring us an update on the Redding Venture Conference.
Todd Jones: The first annual Redding Venture Conference is at the end of this month, Friday, May 31st, from 8:00 to 6:00 at the Sheraton Hotel here in Redding, right across the way from where the EDC offices are. We are just finalizing our top five presenters who will pitch their startup at the event on the day of. We just had our last pitch breakfast. We heard three more people that were contending. We’ll pick the top five here very shortly, and we’ll make those announcements in the coming weeks, well before the Venture Conference. If you haven’t got your ticket, go and get it at startupredding.com/venture.
Jake: Todd, you mentioned you’re going to have five presenters. One of those presenters is going to win the grand prize. Is that right?
Todd Jones: That’s right, yeah. We’ve been hearing pitches since about January, so we’ve heard about 24 pitches total now from different companies, and we’ve had conversations with many more than that. Out of those 24 people we saw most pitch at pitch breakfast or pitch lunch or another special event, they went on to pitch the top ones of those. The Shasta Angels, they saw about 15 out of that 24 pitch. They’re going to pick the top five presenters and one of them is going to walk away with a $10,000 cash prize the day of the event, and one of them could potentially also receive a real investment from our local Shasta Angels.
Jake: Once people go online and they purchase their tickets, what are the times, once more, of the event?
Todd Jones: The time of the event is from 8:00 to 6:00. It is a full day.
Basically what the day is going to look like is, in the morning we’re going to hear from some of our local organizations who have helped put this event on, and we’ve dreamed about this for several years. We hear from the three main organizing organizations, which are Startup Redding, the Shasta Angels, and the Shasta EDC have all played a really pivotal and critical role in the creation of this event. We’re going to hear a little bit from all of them, and then we’re going to actually hear from our keynote speaker, Marianne Hudson, who is the founder and the executive director of the Angel Capital Association, which represents, I believe, it’s about 20,000 angel investors throughout the country, and she’s helped found angel groups in other parts of the world.
Todd Jones: She’s going to tell us a little bit about what angel investing looks like for an investor and what it can mean for a community. Our local Shasta Angels have invested over $2 million into 11 companies over the past four years, and of that money they’ve created several hundred jobs throughout those local startups. We’re really excited to have her speak about the impact of it because a lot of folks in our area aren’t really familiar with angel investing. Then, we’ll have a great lunch served by the Sheraton. In the afternoon, we will hear those five people pitch. We’ll have a nice cocktail hour at the end of that while our judges are deliberating, and then we will award that $10,000 check that evening to the winning startup.
Jake: That’s great, Todd. That sounds like a really great event, and it sounds like a lot of fun for the people attending.
Todd Jones: Yeah, it’s going to be a lot of fun. The ticket price is actually going towards that $10,000 prize, so it’s really important that we get all those tickets sold. We’re over halfway there right now, and by the time that this is released we’ll probably be even closer to being sold out, so make sure you get your ticket. We’ve been able to underwrite this event through a lot of sponsors in our organization, most prominently The McConnell Foundation stepped up as our platinum sponsor to really make this event possible and to really make a great event. It takes a lot of time and money to pull something off like this, but this is our first year. This is something that we want to do for years to come, so we’re really excited about doing this. You can go to our website to see the rest of our full sponsor list, but The McConnell Foundation really helped us get over the hump to make this event possible.
Jake: Great, thank you. One final thing before we wrap everything up. Once more, what website do people need to go to purchase their ticket?
Todd Jones: The easiest place is startupredding.com/venture. It will take you to the event page, which has a much longer URL, but go to startupredding.com/venture. You can learn more about the event, and then there’s a link there to purchase a ticket. If you’re hearing this or seeing this for the first time, it is not too late. This is something we’re going to do annually. I’ve gotten a lot of people emailing me recently asking if it’s too late to pitch. It’s too late to pitch for this year, but we’re going to start the pool of people pretty immediately for the Venture Conference next year.
Todd Jones: We’re hoping to start seeing pitches in earnest in August or September through the Angels, but people will need to be pitching at pitch breakfast, which is once a month, or in another special event that we can put together to hear local startups pitch and then we’ll put those people in the queue for next year. So, if you’re just seeing this, it’s not too late. Reach out to me at email@example.com and we can definitely get you in queue for next year. Besides the Venture Conference itself, the Angels are hearing pitches almost every month, and many of those come through events that the EDC does. They can make investments any time, so there’s always opportunity out there. There is capital available in our community. We’re just trying to make the best startups come out of the woodwork and really see that there is a lot of opportunity for them here locally.
Jake: Yeah, and if you did miss your chance to pitch, those people should definitely attend.
Todd Jones: Absolutely.
Jake: See what it’s going to be like, pick up on some things they can do next year to pitch their idea.
Todd Jones: Yeah. No, that’s it. We’re really looking for, just last thought, just for the type of startup. If you’re a service organization or a franchise organization, probably not the best for you. Really what we’re looking for are ideas that have a lot of scalability, so rapid growth potential and are investible. There’s got to be something that investors, besides the prize, would be able to get something in return. That could be equity, most likely, or some type of a debt agreement. Equity is the big one. Something where the Angels are going to see a potential to get a return on their investment, and scalability and exit strategy, which means acquisition or IPO potentially, are really the big things that they’re looking for.
Jake: Great. Well, Todd, thank you so much. We really appreciate this. Once again, this is Todd, vice president of the Shasta EDC, telling you guys about the Redding Venture Conference. Thanks, Todd.
Todd Jones: Thanks, Jake.