Monday, March 27, 2006
Interview with David Cremin, LAVA
I recently caught up with David Cremin, a venture capitalists at DFJ Frontier, who his been out promoting the Los Angeles Venture Association's Investment Capital Conference (icc.lava.org), which is being held in April. I talked with him a little about the conference, and also about what the venture capital environment is like right now.
Ben Kuo: Tell me a little bit about the Investment Capital Conference, and in particular, what's the Capital Zone?
David Cremin: The ICC is the longest running, largest and most successful investment conference in Los Angeles. The conference is all about capital for companies from startup, through growth and middle market, to exit. We generally host around 1,000 capital providers, entrepreneurs and others; This year Rudy Giuliani is going to deliver a very inspiring keynote address to the conference, about which I am thrilled.
The Capital Zone, which occurs in the afternoon of the conference, is a room full of over $60 billion managed by over 70 investment capital funds, each of which has brought with them officers from companies in their respective portfolios that are seeking additional capital of all different varieties (growth, debt, pipe, etc). Add the rest of the conference attendees to this mix and you have a very focused and deliberate investment capital "engine" that can be very efficient and catalyze terrific investment opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors. Morgan Joseph and DFJ frontier helped organize this last year with the theme of a Turkish bazaar and several companies received investment as a direct result, including our company Maxpreps, Inc. This year, to go along with LAVA's overall theme regarding the road to success, the capital zone will thematically resemble the emerald city From the wizard of oz - follow that yellow brick road!
BK: Can entrepreneurs get involved with the conference, and what does it offer them?
DC: As a former startup CEO, I wish I had resources like the ICC to help me when I was raising capital. For any entrepreneur, this is the place for them to be on April 5, whether they are just starting up or going into growth or exit phase. All the resources will be in one room at one time - it's a must attend event. All they need to do is sign up for the ICC on the LAVA web site.
BK: Let's talk a little bit about the capital environment nowadays. I Hear from some VCs that there's a too much capital right now looking at too few deals. As a VC, what's your opinion on the investment environment?
DC: Yes there is lots of capital available. So one could see it this way: with this much capital and an overall eagerness to deploy it, there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. And being that the Capital Zone aggregates a great deal of this capital in one room at one Time on april 5, I'm bringing two of my companies who are seeking growth rounds right now!!!
BK: Where are the sectors you are seeing that are looking promising right now?
DC: For my seed and early stage technology fund: clean technology, water and alternative energy, life sciences and biotechnology, and there is still a lot of room to growth generally in it. DFJ frontier is actively investing in all these sectors.
BK: What's your advice to entrepreneurs looking to get a good reception from venture capitalists -- any one word of advice you'd give them?
DC: One word: PASSION (but one word can't really help an entrepreneur I think).
If i had more than one word, I would say that to get attention you
Should be able to explain simply:
What you do
What problem do you solve and in how big or growing a specific market
Who is the team solving it and why are they uniquely capable
Who are the customers and why will they buy
How does you make money
Who competes with you
Why are you better and how will you stay better
How much money do you need, what will you achieve with it
Will you need more
BK: Thanks, and see you at the conference!