Venture capital · Fundraising

Anyone heard of or been to Venture Summit?

Paul Loeb Founder, DropTrack

February 29th, 2016

Venture Summit West contacted me a few weeks ago about applying for a chance to pitch at their conference. The website looks like a lot of VCs will be in attendance. I filled out the application, and they replied saying I won a spot, but I would have to pay $400 to attend. Now today I got another email from them saying I've been accepted to come for free. It seems a bit shady to me, especially after googling and finding stuff like this:

https://pando.com/2013/11/04/startup-snake-oil-scamming-early-stage-entrepreneurs/


So, FD community, has anyone ever had any experience with this Venture Summit, or the Young Startup organization that puts it on? 

http://www.youngstartup.com/west2016/overview.php

David Albert Founder & Principal at GreyGoo

February 29th, 2016

Josh, I don't think anything Paul said was an attempt to "malign" your company. Honestly? Your terse, overly defensive response did more to damage your credibility that Paul who was simply asking for advice on the event. In a world rampant with Internet scams, I think it was perfectly legitimate question.

Tyrone Tranmer Investment/debt advisor. Real Estate/Tech investor. Entrepreneur.

February 29th, 2016

Josh's response makes me think less of this organization. I was also spammed on LinkedIn, so Paul asked a legit and timely question. This was an opportunity for you to set the record straight and instead you tried to hit back by questioning his integrity. Weak.

Rob G

February 29th, 2016

"the lady doth protest too much me thinks".   Josh; you are an associate marketing director.  Here's a tip:  customer perception is reality - closely related to the old adage "the customer is never wrong".  Customers can, in fact, be wrong, but attacking them, especially with a snarky tone, is not what i would recommend as an effective 'turn around' strategy.  Another tip, a FD profile that shows following 554 and 10 followers  and a virtually blank LinkedIn profile does not do much to deliver warm and fuzzy feelings of confidence. 

Michael Barnathan

February 29th, 2016

We're the target market and we're generating feedback. Consistent feedback that it's spammy and that the spamminess has damaged the company's credibility, but also that a few people have apparently attended despite that. I'm not sure how they want to read that (it's kind of a mixed signal), but it's interesting market feedback!

William Agush Founder and CEO at Shuttersong Incorporated

February 29th, 2016

The real question must always be "what will I get out of this?" Will you actually meet investors you wouldn't find by other means? Is it an ego boost? The reality is that none of these "pitch" events live up to their hype. They've gotten almost too big to be effective. Just don't do it on the assumption you'll raise more money than you hoped for at a better valuation than you would get otherwise. 

As others have said YMMV. 


Armand Sepulveda Co-Founder & CEO at Dycap Media Solutions, Inc

February 29th, 2016

Hey Paul,
I went to the New England Venture Summit hosted by the same organization (just in Boston not in the Valley). All though they do a lot of spamming by no means is it a scam it is an actual conference with actual investors.

However I think it is not worth the money, I thought it was a huge waste of time. The promos say they are geared towards early stage companies (seed and series A) but all the investors that were at the last event were only investing huge amounts of money in life science companies. If your not one of the presenting companies don't even bother and if your are it can be hit or miss. Good Luck!

PS- Don't let them fool you about being selected as a top innovator, everybody gets that (no offense, I'm sure you have a great start-up).

Crystal Grave Founder, President & CEO at Snappening

February 29th, 2016

Paul: I have been contacted by this company a few times. I do know some of the VCs mentioned. Because I know some, I asked a reputable one that I had recently met what his take was on the event and production company--YSV. In his opinion, as a VC, he felt it was worth his time to attend and thought he saw quality companies. I opted not to attend due to some timing and travel conflicts, but in short I think they deliver what is promised: a narrow group of companies to be presented and offered to a select group of potential funders. What they can't offer, (and really no one can that isn't directly attached to a dedicated fund (as a few of the more household name accelerators are)), is the promise that you'll be funded. I do find it interesting that they are willing to now drop the fee for you. That probably indicates that they liked you, but perhaps realize they need to fill their roster and time is of the essence and are now back-filling with pre-qualified candidates. It may mean they will put anyone in to seem full. My gut would tell me they cast a very wide net using tools like AngelList, Gust, startup incubators, accelerators, a Google alert for keywords like "startup, angel, VC, tech, Series, Seed, etc." In short: If you can spare the time and cost to get you to the destination, at this point you have little to lose and something possibly to gain. At worst, you work from the road and learn what not to do next time. You may even be able to float the attendee list to your advisor network to get some warm intros before you arrive. Since only about 1% of startups end up receiving VC investment, I can't fathom a way this event could promise you a higher rate of opportunity than what you can already clearly estimate based on your own research. However, what they do offer is a network. And I'd venture to say that 100% of VC investments start with someone knowing you, having heard about you, or having a friend suggest your biz to them. I would love to know what you end up doing, and think the FD network would appreciate your personal account if you do go. Take care, Crystal Grave FounderSnappening.com _____________________________

Rob G

March 1st, 2016

lead (the heavy metal) balloons anyone? 

Ben Littauer Angel Investor and Management Consultant

March 3rd, 2016

Wow, this got out of hand. I have attended one of these events as an angel investor and found it valuable. I'm sad that Paul's question got such a rough response, as I do see a number of other event organizers in the field who do not show integrity, so I think it is appropriate for a startup CEO to try to figure out what is real, and what is a scam.

As for paying to present, I personally would prefer to see entrepreneurs NOT paying, but, that said, I belong to one of the many angel groups that DOES charge (despite my objections). Check out Keiretsu, Investor Circle, and others to see legitimate groups that charge fees.

As an entrepreneur it always is worthwhile trying to network into an organization in order to evaluate its legitimacy. And if you refuse to present when payment is demanded, that's your privilege. Both sides of the equation may mis an opportunity, but FOMO is not a big driver among the angels I know.

Michael Barnathan

February 29th, 2016

They spam me all the time, and I've taken to assuming this is the University of Phoenix of startups - they seem willing to take anyone who pays them. YMMV.