Jake: Hey guys. My name is Jake, and I’m here with Todd Jones, who is the Vice President of the Shasta Economic Development Corporation. He changed his title just so I wouldn’t have to get it wrong on these videos.
Todd: You got it right, good job. Well done.
Jake: For the first time ever.
Jake: And so Todd, today you’re gonna be talking to us about the Redding Venture Conference and Pub Talks. Let’s start with the Redding Venture Conference. When is that event?
Todd: Yeah, so the Redding Venture Conference has been changed and updated since the last time we spoke and that’s reflective on our website and our marketing. It’s going to be Friday, May 31 at the Sheraton Hotel at Sundial Bridge which is right across the street from where we’re at the Shasta EDC offices and we’re really looking forward to it. We’re gonna have five presenting companies and we’re gonna have a keynote speaker that morning.
Her name is Marianne Hudson. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Angel Capital Association of North America. And she was the former Director of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation for six years. So very well versed in entrepreneurship in Angel Capital and really the effect it can have on community development and startup growth. It’s a very key part to startup growth so we’re really excited to have her.
Jake: You’ve already selected the five companies that are going to be presenting. If someone wants to present are they gonna have to wait ’till next year or is there an opportunity there still?
Todd: Yes. It’s a pretty limited opportunity. We have about 20 companies that are going through the process right now to be selected to be a finalist for the Venture Conference. And the way that that’s working is first people need to reach out to me, Todd@ShastaEDC.org, and we’re going to get you into one of our pitch breakfasts which we do the second Thursday of every month and our next one is April 11 at From the Hearth downtown on Market Street. And the way that works is pitch breakfasts, as I’ve spoken about before is really a place for people to practice their pitch for the first time and it’s a requirement to get to the Venture Conference. How the process works is you pitch at our pitch breakfast or we’ve also been putting together pitch lunches which are invite only or the guest. It’s made up of Angels and local business mentors.
So, one of those two events, if you make it through that and the judges and the mentors feel comfortable enough that you should be able to pitch to the Angels, you can be invited to pitch at the Shasta Angels which meets the fourth Tuesday evening of every month and those are also invited, private events. The Shasta Angels, who’ve been around for five years and have invested in nine companies locally for two million dollars, they’re going to be the ones that are going to select the five finalists, so they’ve already seen, I believe, seven of the 20 at the Angel’s meetings and in April and again at a special event in May where you’re the remainder of the ones that make it up to Shasta Angels and they will select the five finalists who will then pitch to a group of judges at least one of them will be one of our local Angels and we’re going to have sometimes guest judges as well. And they will select the winner right there at the event and give them a $10,000 check.
So we have a lot of sponsors. The event has been brought to you by Startup Redding, which is a new non-profit, the Shasta EDC and of course the Shasta Angels who we could not do this without them. And our great sponsors are D.H. Scott and Company, Five Star Bank, US Bank, Haedrich and Company and Venture Properties, as well as MD Imaging and Moore & Bogener, who helped us with our non-profit formation and also were a cash sponsor. So super grateful for all of them. It’s our first year. It’s definitely not gonna be our last and we hope to really grow in the future to have real venture capital placed at those events in the future.
Jake: Awesome. Awesome. And so if you’re not going to be pitching at the event, but you do wanna attend, you do wanna see what’s going to be pitched. You wanna watch the keynote speaker, what do you do if you want to attend the event?
Todd: Yeah, so you go to StartupRedding.com/venture and at the bottom of that page there is a link to buy a ticket. A ticket is $125 and our targeted audience really is investors and potential investors in the Redding and north state area. There’s gonna be … It’s at the Sheraton [inaudible 00:05:01] so there’s gonna be coffee service in the morning, a great lunch and a cocktail hour, so in addition to hearing these pitches, in hearing the keynote speaker, it’s just a great opportunity to see what opportunities are out there because our local Angels, there’s about 15 or 19 of them that have been active in the last four years. They have placed these investments. There’s a lot of opportunities.
One of the companies, Limelight Health has grown tremendously to nearly $100 million dollar company so these Angels that invested early on are gonna get a great return very, very soon within the next few years potentially and so we wanted to show other people out there that there is an opportunity to be part of investing in young startups who are not bankable. That’s why they come to Angel Investors and the potential for a huge return. So I mean, it is a big risk, but there is a great reward that comes with that as well. So it’s really a call out to our local investors in the north state to see what great companies are doing great things right now that you can invest in.
Jake: Awesome. All right. Well, in closing anything else you wanna mention about the Redding Venture Conference before we move on to Pub Talks?
Todd: Just that it’s our first year. We’re really excited about it. It is gonna be coming up next year, so stay involved and stay in touch with the Startup Redding ecosystem which looks like startup coffees, pitch breakfasts, public talks, which we’ll get to next and a couple other different events and just stay in the loop because really the goal of Startup Redding is to help startups scale in the north state, but it’s also so people don’t build startups alone because it’s … if you can learn from somebody else and what they’ve done, and maybe the mistakes they’ve made and the great successes they’ve had, you can avoid some of those and grow your company faster. So that’s what we’re here for.
Jake: Yeah. Yeah. And if you have that capital that you are looking to invest there’s a proven track record already with the groups that are involved in this area, so.
Todd: That’s right. That’s right.
Jake: That’s great. All right. So let’s move onto Pub Talks. Before we start, what is Pub Talks? Give me a brief overview.
Todd: Yeah, so Pub Talks started about a year ago and the Shasta EDC used to do an event called Beer Invites and we ran that for several years, and that was really an opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups to connect and network plus have some content delivered on access to capital, HR policies, app development, web development, things like that, and Startup Redding took it over a year ago and changed it, and so it’s a new event. Again, its main goal is still to bring together entrepreneurs and one of the things that we’ve done that seems to have been popular and people like is we’re really trying to get at least one entrepreneur locally at each event that has had some success just to hear their story ’cause I know people are fascinated just to hear a local startup’s story on how did they come up with that idea, what did they do.
It’s trying to take the veil back on like what does this process look like? How do you take an idea and turn it into $100 million dollar company? So, at the Pub Talks next week we are focusing on the Venture Conference, and so we’re actually gonna hear from two companies that are gonna be vying to pitch at the Venture Conference, and so this is their pitch breakfast, if you will.
They’re gonna pitch there, and then we’re going to be hearing from the Executive Director of the Shasta Angels, Eric Hyatt, who is going to talk about the first money that he raised, ’cause he’s raised seven million dollars for several startups that he’s been a part of. He’s sold several companies and he’s still the CEO of a software company in town, in addition to being the Executive Director of the Angels. So we’re just gonna hear his story in not like a nuts and bolts on how Angel investing works, but really what did he do, who’s the first person he talked to? Where was that first check he got? How many nos did he get before he got his first yes? And so it’s a really interesting story. He’s a local guy, grew up in Redding. He’s been here his whole life and has been very successful, so we’re really excited to hear from him.
Todd: So, it’s casual. It’s at Theory Collab with coffee on April 4 from 6:00 to 8:00. They close at 6:00 so we got the whole place to ourselves and they have beer and we’re gonna have a taco bar and it’s gonna be a lot of fun. It’s just a way to keep our network close and get more people to come, come out of the woodwork and just see what kind of cool stuff is going on in town.
Jake: Okay, is there any cost to that event?
Todd: There is no cost. It’s a free event. So beer, of course, will be for sale. The taco bar will also be for sale.
You can buy food and get beer or wine or kombucha or whatever you want. They don’t have coffee after 6:00, unfortunately, but you can get beer. And so there’s no cost. It’s a free event. April 4th. We do those events about every other month. So we’ll have the Venture Conference in May, and then we’ll have another Pub Talks again in June. So stay in touch with us through that and RSVP at Facebook so Startup Redding Facebook page and then you can go to the events and you’ll see Pub Talks is the top of the list right now. It’s our next event.
Jake: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you very much, Todd, and congratulations on becoming the Vice President of the Shasta EDC. We’ll talk to you next week.