I’m up at VCIR in Beaver Creek this week. Before the conference started (at 1pm today) the NVCA organized a “press roundtable” where several Colorado venture capitalists, out of state VCs, and the press talked about the venture capital market in Colorado.
Here’s the 90 minute unedited podcast, and show notes follow. If you want this and all future podcasts, just subscribe.
Present were (at least):
- Mark Heeson – President, NVCA
- John Metzger – Metzger Associates
- Mike Scanlin – Partner, Battery Ventures (Silicon Valley – see, they care!)
- Will Shanley – Business Reporter, Denver Post
- Dan Mitchell – Sequel Venture Partners
- Brad Feld – Managing Director, Mobius Venture Capital and Foundry Group
- Dan Primack – Editor at Large, Private Equity Week, Venture Capital Journal, PE Week Wire (I’d read it too Dan)
- Roger Fillion – Reporter, Rocky Mountain News
- Chris Onan – Principal, Appian Ventures
- Lucinda Stewart – OVP Venture Partners (Pacific Northwest)
There were a couple of other people in the room that I didn’t get the chance to meet personally or may have forgotten to list – oops.
Here are the questions/topics discussed, in case you want to jump around.
5:00 – What does Colorado have to offer from a venture capital perspective?
8:45 – Where do Colorado companies get “serious capital”? Do they tend to need to move to get access to that kind of capital?
10:00 – Good discussion of why Colorado is a great tech startup region.
11:25 – Out of staters are surprised by the depth of technology present here in certain segments.
12:30 – Out of state VCs trust Colorado VCs to “look after the shop” and it may be attractive for B rounds.
14:05 – What are the staple industries that are being invested here, and what are the ones which may be emerging?
18:45 – Surprising number of life science companies being funded (30+ in Colorado last year)
20:30 – Less “follow the leader” in Colorado than elsewhere.
21:30 – Are VCs here stringent in terms of business plans, revenue models, etc?
24:45 – Renewable energy, CleanTech discussion.
27:45 – What role can the government play in promoting energy and CleanTech?
29:50 – How strong is the local market for venture debt?
31:45 – Consumer products (natural foods, beverage, restaurant chains, LOHAS, etc).
36:00 – How does globalization affect Colorado?
39:55 – VC industry in general is much smaller than it was a few years ago.
40:40 – Where is the money going if it’s not going into VC funds?
44:40 – Does every VC firm in Colorado see every funded deal here?
47:25 – How have Colorado VCs done in comparison to the rest of the country?
50:45 – Has your mindset changes regarding exits and how you think about them lately? IPOs, strategic acquisitions, etc?
56:10 – Is there an appetite for foreign IPOs (e.g. AIM)?
58:00 – Is it rhetoric that companies may go public overseas because of Sarbanes-Oxley?
59:20 – Should startups/small companies have different Sarbanes-Oxley rules?
1:03:50 – Discussion of the history of the accounting industry – Books that Brad references (and couldn’t recall) are here and here.
1:04:30 How generous are you all feeling with your checkbooks in 2007?
1:06:35 (2 minute drop in audio due to technical problem)
1:07:20 The best things the state of Colorado can do for entrepreneurs? Brad and John say focus on education.
1:10:30 What few things would you like to see if Ritter could make one or two key moves?
1:11:30 The most underestimated thing about Colorado is simply that people want to live here.
1:14:15 What Cleantech technologies look most interesting?
1:15:30 Thoughts of VCs on recent Union bill veto by Ritter.
1:17:00 What keeps VCs up at night these days?
1:20:30 Energy/areospace collaboration with government?
1:23:45 Are Colorado Springs and Fort Collins second fiddle to Denver/Boulder/CU?
I did no editing on this – sorry if it’s a bit raw. If you have questions about what you hear, please comment and hopefully some of the participants will respond.