Keiretsu Forum opens its first India chapter in Chennai

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Originally published in Business Standard, Article by Gireesh Babu

Keiretsu Forum, a global angel investor network with 1,400 accredited members, has forayed into India by opening a chapter in this city. The soft launch was on December 5, 2014 but the chapter will be officially launched on February 6 this year. With this, the Silicon Valley-based network will have 34 chapters across three continents.

“The Forum would offer international connectivity to investors and companies seeking angel investment, which means it would broaden the opportunities for them,” said Rajan Srikanth, co-president of Keiretsu Forum Chennai & Singapore. He added the Forum would help angel investors evaluate the deals in a better way, using the expertise from members across the world.

For instance, an angel investor in Chennai might not be able to invest in a start-up if there is no tool to evaluate the deal. “In the Forum, probably there might be somebody in the US or some other part of the world who might have already explored similar opportunities and might help investors here to evaluate the deal. It will increase the opportunities for both the investor and the start-up to work together,” said Srikanth.

A SNAPSHOT
  • Keiretsu Forum was founded in San Francisco East Bay in 2000
  • It has 34 chapters in 3 continents and around 1,400 members
  • US members have invested close to $500 mn in 450 companies
  • Indian members will provide early-stage capital of Rs 50 lakh-5 crore
  • Syndication to chapters worldwide, can help firms raise up to $10 mn

Globally, Keiretsu Forum works through franchisees. One franchisee is allowed to open up to four chapters. The franchisee team behind the Chennai chapter is set to soft-launch a chapter in Singapore on February 5.

The Chennai and Singapore chapters will work together and will have meetings connecting the investors and companies at both places. The activities of the Forum will include bringing academia into it.

The Chennai chapter has already got the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and Anna University as members.It is expected to start operations with 15 members, of which 10 have signed up. Each chapter will have a cap of 150 members.

The franchisee team is also planning to open chapters in Bengaluru and Hyderabad later this year and next year, respectively, said Srikanth.

The Forum is registered as a for-profit company, which will work as a facilitator for angel investors and companies. The franchisee will charge a nominal fee and will pay royalty to the global Forum.

The Indian angel investment segment is witnessing a growth phase with successful entrepreneurs as well as professionals investing money, time and expertise to nurture promising start-ups.

While the Chennai chapter will create a network for like-minded investors, it will also be a platform for angel investors to network with other investors and start-ups internationally, said Srikanth, who is also the managing director of SmartKapital, a venture services advisory firm.

Keiretsu Forum to Start its India Journey on February 6

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Original article can be found here.

CHENNAI, INDIA–( JANUARY 19,2015)–  Angel investing is set to get a leg up with the Keiretsu Forum, a leading global investor network, starting its India operations. Its Chennai chapter, the forum’s 34th globally and first in the country, will be formally launched on February 6.

“The fact that there is a mushrooming of angel investor groups is a leading indicator that there is both start-up activity as well as investor interest in it. There is also growing sophistication among the angels,” says Rajan Srikanth, Co-President, Keiretsu Forum Chennai & Singapore. Keiretsu Forum was founded in 2000 [by Randy Williams] in the Bay Area, US.

Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest in and mentor start-ups from an early stage. India has a few organised angel groups such as Indian Angel Network, Mumbai Angels and Chennai Angels.

Keiretsu is a Japanese term describing a group of affiliated corporations with broad power and reach. The forum globally has 1,400 members in three continents.

“With its India entry, says Srikanth, Keiretsu believes it can take angel investing activity to the next level.”

Membership to the Keiretsu Forum is by invitation and the Chennai chapter has signed up 10 investors since a soft launch in December, including Chand Das, Chief Executive – ITC Education and Stationery; Biji Kurien, former CEO, Berger Paints; and S Gopal, former Managing Director, Chemplast Sanmar.

Academic angle

The forum also has members from academic institutions and those who provide affiliated services to the entrepreneurship ecosystem, such as lawyers, merchant bankers, accounting and HR professionals. According to Srikanth, IIT-Madras and Anna University have agreed to join the Chennai chapter.

The advantage for them is they can send students to the chapter meetings of the forum, where investment proposals are discussed and vetted, so that the students can learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to make a presentation for raising funds.

Faculty members too are allowed to attend these meetings. By allowing lecturers and professors to attend chapter meetings, the forum hopes they will bring more of the cutting edge research that happens in the institutions into commercial use.

Why Chennai? “One, because I am from Chennai,” says Srikanth, an alumnus of IIT-Madras, who went on to do a Ph D in the US and worked there for nearly two decades before returning home. Two, Srikanth says he was involved in conducting TiE Chennai’s Pitch Fest – where entrepreneurs pitch their ventures to investors –for nearly six years, and found that there was enormous activity going on in the city.

The belief was that there was not much of risk-taking in Chennai. “We wanted to change that (with the Pitch Fest),” he says.

From the Pitch Fest, he realised there was a pent up demand from investors for businesses to invest in. “I am not starting (the Chennai chapter) on a losing ticket. I am starting with a horse which I think is actually the dark horse,” he adds.

(This article was published on January 19, 2015)

Emerging Entrepreneurs Pitch Contest – Application Deadline January 26

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Emerging Entrepreneurs (E2) Pitch Contest – Application Deadline January 26

Have you launched a business within the last three years? JFK University’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership, in cooperation with the Keiretsu Forum and Chevron, has launched a new competition for entrepreneurs in the Bay Area: The E2 Pitch Contest. This event will connect emerging entrepreneurs with resources, feedback and mentoring from angel investors and community leaders. Participants pre-selected by the IEL will have 3 minutes to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges.

Bay Area entrepreneurs interested in applying should complete the Gust online application on this link. Application deadline is January 26, 2014. The criteria to apply is: (1) the company is 3 years or less in business and (2) applicant must be a principal in the company.

For more information about the event, contact the IEL Office: iel@jfku.edu or call 925-969-3525.

E2 Pitch Contest
Tuesday, February 10; 5:30pm – 8:30pm
JFK University: Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership
2151 Salvio Street, Suite 350, Concord, CA 94520

How to Pitch Your Startup to an Investor – Part Two

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Article by Éva Réz, original article published here

[Previously], I enumerated some “magic ways” of pitching (read more here), but the bottom line would be to actually use your pitch for showing your product/service, your expertise and your needs. Obviously, you should know your own motivations for pitching, but what are the key areas that investors would definitely like to hear from you?

Good structuring is half the battle. Build your pitch on the following topics and give them a specified weight within the defined timeframe according to their importance (this might depend on who exactly you talk to and whether you have three or 15 minutes):

  • Problem to be solved
  • The solution – product/service
  • Market and competitors
  • Target customers
  • Business model
  • Team
  • Financials – revenues & costs
  • Capital needed
  • Roadmap
  • Exit

This is not the Bible of pitches, but you definitely want to touch on these points. A typical mistake is that startuppers talk about their solution at least 80 percent of their time and forget about important issues (see them in bold). I would suggest to allocate at least half of your time on the pitch items in bold, because investors of course, would like to understand how you want to make money and how they will achieve the desired returns on their investment.

I often come across enthusiastic founders, who are a little bit offended when I interrupt them while they are talking about their “dearest baby”. But you have to accept the fact that even the greatest idea is not enough if nobody wants to buy it and/or if you cannot sell it. Obviously, investors will only put their money into your company if they believe that you and your team are capable of building a viable and sustainable enterprise. Think of the investment as the means of value creation and let investors know where the specified amount takes you (e.g. what are the milestones that you can achieve from the investment).

Now, assume that I am your potential investor…

When you talk about your solution, make me understand the problem you intend to solve. Explain me how your product/service will answer the defined market need, and persuade me that your differentiators will allow you to create a competitive advantage. I am especially interested in your innovation, technology or business solution, so try to focus on that. At first, make it as simple as you can, because I am not an all-industry expert. If you cannot describe your idea to me in a few sentences, you would better keep on working on it. Your customers will also want to get clear messages on your value proposition.

When I ask you about the market, do not tell me that you need capital to finance a complete market research. We live in the age of the internet, so at least give it a try on your own! Validation, traction, patent (pending) is like music to the investors’ ears, so do not hold back any important details on these. Ideally, my take away from here would be: a good understanding of your innovative solution and what makes it unique.

I would also like to see that you have a clear view on who your clients/customers are. Based on my experience, this one is probably the hardest part for many startups. Some even do not know whether they would like to go B2C or B2B. It is easy to say that you will try both, but in most cases it will simply not work.

Try to find your focus, because you have limited resources. Besides that, I am curious about your business model: who you will be charging and for what. Do not make this too complicated, but have arguments why you think your pricing is reasonable and why people would be ready to pay for your solution. Conversion rate can be crucial here: if you do not have a valid one yet, use relevant benchmarks. Out of these inputs you will be more or less set with the revenues side of your financial plan. My take away from here would optimally be: an insight into the demand side of your product/service and how you would like to make money out of it.

Do not forget about the introduction of your team. I would like to see who I will work with in case I choose to invest into your company. You should not be afraid of telling me what skills are missing from your team, because hiring these people can (and should) be part of your capital spending plans. Also, take the opportunity to find these people with the help of your audience. Investors have extended networks, so they can help you with match making. My take away from here would optimally be: it is a “people business”, thus I would like to get to know you and your background.

And then it is all about money…

I often have discussions with startuppers whether they should make financial projections or not. My answer is definitely yes. Of course, you cannot predict the future, but you can demonstrate to me that you have a good understanding of how you want to grow your business and what resources you will need to do so. In a pitch, I do not expect you to go into details, but do highlight the key lines of your operation. I am particularly interested in what purposes you would like to use the requested investment for. Your roadmap will give me information on how far this amount takes you to, and whether you plan with future investment rounds.

Exit – but how?

And finally, we get to the point, which 99 per cent of startups neglect: exit strategies. There are two typical ways of exits: being acquired by a third party (e.g. a bigger company) or selling shares via an initial public offering (IPO). Here, you can impress me by presenting recent transactions and related valuations of similar companies, but even more by having an idea about who your future acquirer might be. My take away from here would be: how much money you are seeking, and how you would like to use it for building a successful business, which will compensate for my risk by decent returns.

The Q&A session is also something you should be prepared for. If you cover the above topics in your pitch, you have already addressed most of the key issues. But investors will surely try to get a solid grasp of your startup. Delete the ‘I do not know’ answer from your vocabulary! Either you should be able to give information on the given question, or at least show your commitment to find the missing piece. Besides attending pitch competitions, you can train yourself for such situations by exposing yourself to similar talks before performances that really matter. You can learn a lot from feedback!

Your pitch is ready to use

Out of the presented ingredients you can now make a good pitch, which will deliver the most important messages to your potential investors. However, take pitch as a facilitator to achieve your goals, not as your key activity. Try to build your personal brand (characteristics which make you outstanding) and your startup’s image as an integral part of your daily occupation; and use your pitch at the right time, at the right format and with the right content!

About the Author

Éva Réz is an investor manager at Day One Capital and has been on both the giving and the receiving end of pitches many a time. In this two-piece series, she lifts the veil on one of the well-guarded secrets of the startup industry with useful advice on how to get in the right mindset, choose the right information and create stellar content.

How to Pitch Your Startup to an Investor – Part One

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It is the Golden Age of “Pitch Rush” and to help you stand out from all the stories investors hear daily, guest author Éva Réz explains what people with money look for.

Éva previously was a Keiretsu Forum intern and Fulbright Scholar.  Original article can be found here.

No doubt, we live the era of startup pitches, but do they really help investors find the needle in the haystack? My answer would be yes, to a certain extent, but we do not (should not) let ourselves be easily fooled by a simple good pitch performance only. Convincing investors definitely requires acting skills, but as an entrepreneur you have to know what kind of questions the investor would like to get answered. Let’s see if I can help with that!

Why are pitches important?

It is like the gold rush… Now, there are a tremendous number of startups (it’s also becoming true for investors, though) who would like to mine the gold first; or at least are one of the buoyant applicants for the available resources. But they have to find the “magic way” to the nugget buckets. Pitches are certainly a possible platform to achieve this, but only if they are credible and informative from an investor’s point of view.

And this is the essence… from an investor’s point of view. So you, one of those countless startuppers, have to do a good job here: get us hooked!

First, you need your inner actor to somehow raise the audience’s attention, become noticeable in the crowd – having an outstanding product in your hands helps; or having a good sense of humour; or even giving a disastrous presentation?!

Second, you have to be able to transform into a serious entrepreneur who consciously goes through the most important topics that an investor would like to hear about. And let me be clear: it is not just your revolutionary idea! It is much more than that: we want to know about your team or the possible exit strategies, for example.

Finally, get your salesman attitude out there to make sure that those, who got excited about your startup, can easily get in touch with you. This is the forum where you can actually make valuable contacts with potential investors.

When to pitch?

Do not fall into a trap of chasing success and collecting pitch competition trophies. Startup events are useful to a certain extent: to make yourself visible, to improve yourself and strengthen your self-confidence, to mingle with other startups and to get in touch with investors, who might take you to the next level. At the beginning, I suggest that you focus on the first couple of points. A pitch event can help you get feedback, ameliorate your idea, your skills and your presentation and get you familiar with the investors’ world.

Once you feel confident and well-prepared, start attending those competitions, where you can actually approach and, hopefully, impress your targeted investor base. I am not saying that after a successful capital raise or achieving certain milestones you should not show your concept in public, but do not get distracted from your main goal: building an enterprise!

About The Genre

The Pitch Toolkit: Photo Credit: Eva Rez

Having given several presentations in my life, I definitely know how it feels to be in the spotlight, but I have also realised that the world of pitches is a very different ball game altogether. A pitch usually takes 3-15 minutes and most of the time it is followed by a Q&A session. I would define it as a brief and dense information set, which should be appealing, logically well-structured and meaningful, while it should provide a certain amount of entertainment, as well.

It is not like a lecture, where your main purpose is to educate your audience or express an idea in many details. Neither is it a traditional presentation, where you can be spontaneous, tell stories or react to the feedback of your audience. Here, you have to be prepared – basically, memorise your presentation word-for-word – and concentrated – in order not to lose your own thread while talking. In a pitch you want to share the highlights of your solution and touch on all the relevant topics an investor would like to hear about.

Pitching comes in all shapes and sizes

Strictly speaking, a pitch is what I described previously, but pitching to an investor may also happen when you catch them at a conference to introduce your startup or even when you have the first interview with a VC. Especially, in the latter case you have more time, more flexibility and more interaction, but you still have to stay focused and adapt to an investor’s mind-set.

No matter what type of pitch you give, it is always useful – if possible – to have slides illustrating your thoughts. Do not confuse this with an investment deck, where you show your concept in details, and present your business plan and financial plan in a nice format. A pitch presentation should be a guideline for the audience, as opposed to an investment deck, which is part of the decision making process.

There is always also one question: who should present? You might not think about its importance, but this is not a negligible factor. The CEO or one of the founders presenting the idea and the business case is the most credible. It is probably not a good sign from an investor perspective if you put one of your developers on stage. As the main representative of your company (or being one of them), you should have the courage and the enthusiasm to speak about your solution and future plans in public.

Make yourself remarkable to them

Take content as the most important pillar of your pitch (we will focus on this next week), but also pay attention to the “decoration”. Here are some examples for “wrapping techniques” or, in other words, convincing methods that I still remember:

  • a startup working on an environment-friendly shower head caught eyes due to its team members wearing bathrobes at a startup festival
  • a presenter from the creative industry, who was not aware of what a pitch should really be about, gave probably the worst pitch of the evening, but the audience still loved the character
  • the slides were created in a comic book style, and investors became part of a story coming to life;
  • a very modest founder with a no-frills presentation amazed investors with his company’s achievements and already existing client base
  • my favourite one was a startup notable for its product, namely a self-heating can – no microwave is needed anymore to prepare your lunch, you simply have to push a button on the can – circulated among the attendants during the pitch.
  • Last but not least: you probably want to – and have to – speak in English at most of the startup events, so be prepared for it. Losing your audience because of insufficient language skills is one of the worst mistakes.

About the Author

Éva Réz is an investor manager at Day One Capital and has been on both the giving and the receiving end of pitches many a time. In this two-piece series, she lifts the veil on one of the well-guarded secrets of the startup industry with useful advice on how to get in the right mindset, choose the right information and create stellar content.

Soft Launch of Keiretsu Forum Chennai, India Announced

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Keiretsu Forum- Dec 04, 2014) –  Keiretsu Forum announces today the soft launch of their new chapter in Chennai, India. Chennai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and was the optimal place to launch the next Keiretsu Forum chapter.

Keiretsu Forum is pleased to welcome Chennai, India as the newest addition to our global network,” said Randy Williams, Founder & CEO. ”Chennai, India ranks second in India in IT export, and is an up-and-coming hub for startup activity. We are incredibly excited to be expanding here and tapping into all that Chennai has to offer.”

Keiretsu Forum Chennai, will be headed by Subra Iyer (Co-President of Keiretsu Forum Chennai & Singapore), Rajan Srikanth (Co-President of Keiretsu Forum Chennai & Singapore), and Usha Nagarajan (Managing Director, Keiretsu Forum Chennai).

The soft launch was attended by 40 people from the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Chennai, including investors, incubators, educational institutions, and lawyers, among others.  The formal launch is planned for February 6, 2015.

Keiretsu Forum is the largest global angel network with 34 chapters and over 1,400 accredited investor members and affiliates. Founded in September 2000 by Randy WilliamsKeiretsu Forum‘s communities of accredited angel investor members on three continents have provided more than $400 million of capital into technology, consumer products, Internet, healthcare, life sciences and real estate companies throughout the world.  Keiretsu Forum members provide capital in the range of $250k-$3 million for high-quality, diverse investment opportunities. Members collaborate on due diligence and make their own individual investment decisions.

Keiretsu Forum Chapters: 

AndalucíaBarcelonaBeijingBoiseChennai, IndiaDonostia/San SebastiánEast Bay,IstanbulKirkland-EastsideLondonLos AngelesMadridMiamiNew YorkNorth Bay,Orange CountyParisPhiladelphiaPittsburgh,PortlandSan DiegoSan FranciscoSeattle,ShanghaiSilicon ValleySingaporeSpokane-InlandTel AvivTorontoVancouverVentura CountyVictoria-Vancouver Island/BC ,Washington D.C.Waterloo-Wellington

For more information, please visit: www.keiretsuforum.com

Keiretsu Forum Angel Capital Expo Honors Top 2014 Camp BizSmart Team

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Written by Peggy Gibbs, Originally posted on the Camp BizSmart Website

On November 20, 2014 seven teens took the stage at Microsoft to be honored for achieving the top score in the Camp BizSmart product design and business plan competition out of the more than 30 teams for 2014. They were introduced by Sonja Markova, Keiretsu member who then introduced Peggy Gibbs, COO and Cofounder of Camp BizSmart who thanked both Sonja and Randy with Keiretsu and Microsoft, WAGIC,  Garage Technology Ventures and the Alliance of Chief Executives for their great support of Camp BizSmart’s business and entrepreneur training. A video was then shown providing context to the students’ accomplishments and the role of business case sponsors. This video is also available on the Camp BizSmart website to view anytime.

It was fitting that Kent Frankovich, the founder and CEO of Revolights and also the business case sponsor was present.  Kent and his team at Revolights had been introduced to Peggy and Mike Gibbs, founders at Camp BizSmart as a potential business case sponsor by Sonja Markova, a Camp BizSmart Advisor and member of Keiretsu Forum.  Revolights had caught the attention of the Keiretsu Forum winning the Eureka Pitch Competition, having run a successful campaign on Kickstarter and also the Shark Tank.

Randy Williams, the Founder and CEO of Keiretsu along with Sonja Markova, have been passionate supporters of Camp BizSmart since the camp founding year of 2008.  Randy and Sonja have made it possible to bring the winning team of students to give their pitch and talk about their experience, as well as to have the opportunity to hear dozens of companies vie to be named the top valued company in a day long competition.

Camp BizSmart Team CEO, Krithika Veerappan, answers questions provided by Randy Williams, after giving the product solution elevator pitch

Camp BizSmart provides essential business and entrepreneur skills to students age 11 to 19 at premiere venues in Silicon Valley such as Stanford University as well as internationally in Mumbai, India.  Cool CEO’s from Hot Current Companies provide real business cases for teams of students to solve with expert mentors to provide just in time hands on learning.  Sessions for 11-15 yr olds and for 16-19 yr olds are available.

A special thank you and shout out to all the amazing mentors such as Kevin Surace and Aamir Patel, and Jim Sweeney, and 2014 companies Revolights, and Vintage Electric Bikes, as well as the great judges for this years competition, Bill Reichert, Marty Reed, Paul Witkay, Harry Motro, and John Butler who make Camp BizSmart truly a one of a kind experience.

To be considered to be a business case sponsor, contact Peggy Gibbs, peggy.gibbs@bizsmartglobal.com

For more information or to sign up for future sessions, please visit the Camp BizSmartwebsite: www.campbizsmart.org

Randy and Kent with the RevoArc team at the Camp BizSmart exhibit at the Angel Capital Expo at Microsoft Nov. 20, 2014

Keiretsu Forum Launches Keiretsu Ventures

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Nov 25, 2014) - Keiretsu Forum announces the launch of Keiretsu Ventures, a premier business accelerator designed to radically accelerate the path to market and liquidity of participating companies.

As the world’s largest private equity angel investment network, Keiretsu Forum brings vetted investment opportunities to its global network of diverse and active angel investors. Keiretsu Ventures matches select, high-growth companies to a dedicated team of Keiretsu specialists who share their extraordinary expertise, mature foresight, and collective intelligence to guide and build these companies faster, smarter, and more profitably.

Randy Williams, Founder & CEO of Keiretsu Forum, announced the launch on November 20, 2014 in front of an audience of over 500 angel investors at Keiretsu Forum’s 19th bi-annual Angel Capital Expo. ”After funding over $400 million into technology, consumer products, Internet, healthcare, life sciences and real estate companies during 14 years, we are now expanding our commitment to both investors and entrepreneurs. We are here to take high growth companies from ‘cradle to greatness’. Keiretsu Ventures’ dedicated experts will actively work ‘hands-on’ to help entrepreneurs take their companies from high potential to rapid growth, which, in turn, will create best of breed investment opportunities.”

Keiretsu Ventures is led by Michael Gralnick, who Chairs the Due Diligence Committee that developed Keiretsu Forum’s Due Diligence processes and also authored Keiretsu Forum’s Due Diligence Process Handbook. The Handbook outlines how investors should evaluate a company before making investment decisions.

“Keiretsu Ventures is unlike other ‘accelerators.’ Our specialists are committed, roll up their sleeves, and work actively together with entrepreneurs and executives at all stages of growth to solve the most pressing problems, prepare for future ones, and unleash each company’s full potential,” Gralnick said.

Seasoned executives and specialists include experts in: sales development, operational leadership and efficiency, marketing, PR and communications, branding, technology, law and legal structuring, and all other areas essential to scaling companies rapidly. Through a partnership with one of the Bay Area’s leading part-time CFO organizations, specialists also include CFOs from all industries. Partnerships with sales organizations also help participants successfully reach and complete transactions with a range of potential customers.

The core programs are open to all potential future Keiretsu Forum applicants, companies in due diligence, portfolio companies preparing to syndicate their investment opportunity, and other high-growth companies with no plans to seek capital from Keiretsu Forum. Keiretsu Ventures’ programs will be available starting in January.

About Keiretsu Forum
Keiretsu Forum was founded in 2000 by Randy Williams in the San Francisco Bay Area. With 34 chapters and over 1,400 accredited investor members, Keiretsu Forum is the world’s largest invite-only angel investor network. Keiretsu Forum members provide early stage capital in the range of $250k – 2 million in high quality, diverse investment opportunities and collaborate in due-diligence, but make their own individual investment decisions. For more information, visit www.keiretsuforum.com.

Keiretsu Ventures Contact
Michael Gralnick
Keiretsu Ventures
(415) 860-3223
Email Contact

Keiretsu Forum Contact
Olivia Diamond
Director, Marketing & Communications
Keiretsu Forum
Email Contact

To see the article, visit Digital Journal here.

Overlake Capital, Kiwi Crate and Voxeet take honors at Keiretsu Expo

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Written by:  Senior Technology Reporter-Silicon Valley Business Journal

Published in Silicon Valley Business Journal on November 21, 2014

Demo Fall wasn’t the only place startups were pitching to a large group of investors in Silicon Valley on Thursday.

More than 500 angels heard investment pitches from a dozen businesses at Keiretsu Forum’s expo at Microsoft’sMountain View campus.

“I could talk about the growth of Keiretsu and strength of our platform but I think the reason we attracted so many interesting opportunities and so many angels is that it is an excellent time to invest and there is a lot of liquidity in the marketplace,” founder and CEO Randy Williams told me.

Three of the companies pitching were selected as best of show. They are:

— First Place: Overlake Capital of Bellevue, Washington. This is a boutique investment firm that was pitched by Senior Portfolio Manager Paul Thacker. Its primary focus is real estate and Overlake says that investors have seen annual returns in excess of 14 percent since it launched in 2012.

— Second Place: Kiwi Crate of Mountain View. This is a commerce and content platform that targets creativity in kids. It was pitched by founder and CEO Sandra Oh Lin. It delivers hands-on projects and content for children of all ages through a subscription service, an e-commerce shop and a retail channel.

— Third Place: Voxeet of Sausalito. Founder and CEO Stephane Giraudie presented this mobile conferencing startup that promises to call participants instead of having them dial in or use a password to join a meeting. It also claims to have clear 3DHD audio and one-click transfers between devices.

To read the full article, please visit the Silicon Valley Business Journal Website

Agenda – Angel Capital Expo, November 20, 2014

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Keiretsu Forum Presents: Angel Capital Expo

November 20, 2014

Microsoft, 1065 La Avenida Street, Building 1, Mountain View, CA

Today, over 500 angel investors, VCs, entrepreneurs, and guests will gather for Keiretsu Forum’s bi-annual Angel Capital Expo.

The Expo brings together angel investors and entrepreneurs looking for funding. Angel Capital Expo is organized by Keiretsu Forum, the largest global angel investment network, and was created to foster collaboration among angel groups, as well as reach out to the larger investment community. The event features 18 presenters from early stage companies. Companies selected are from a variety of different industries ranging from technology, life sciences, consumer products, real estate, financial services, social ventures and other segments with high growth potential.

View and download the agenda here.