Florida Venture Capital Conference 2015 Recap

For the nearly 500 attendees, advice came fast and furious at the 2015 Florida Venture Capital Conference, Jan. 29-30  at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood.

 “Be proactive.” “Don’t assume it will be easy.” “Don’t leave money on the table.”

Ideas, advice and encouragement were offered as investors and entrepreneurs alike found much to take away from the conference.

The two-day event offered entrepreneurs from high-growth companies in a broad spectrum of industries the opportunity to showcase themselves before a nationwide audience of venture capitalists looking to invest.

During the past 22 years, presenters at the conference have raised more than $3B in funding.

Conference Highlights:


 Key Takeaways:

For Entrepreneurs:

On seeking Venture Capital –

  • “When seeking venture capital, make 10-15 calls per day. If you are not doing this, you are not raising money.” – Jamie Grooms, CEO, Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Research
  • “What NOT to do: Sit back and let venture capital find you.” – Richard Licursi, CEO & president, venVelo
  • “Make sure you have a path to profitability with the funds you have now.” –Dan Cane – president, CEO & co-founder Modernizing Medicine
  • “Don’t take advantage of family and friends. The way you treat your investors will help you down the road.” – John West, chairman, Hire Velocity
  • “CEOs: Don’t assign fundraising to someone else. It belittles the opportunity for investors.” – Grooms

On Talent Acquisition-

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  • “Get the word out to your network about what you are looking for: 80 percent of your needs can be met with a good network.” – West
  • “It’s up to us to say ‘You don’t have to leave Florida to find exciting opportunities in tech industries’.” – Cane
  • “You have to commit to building a corporate culture talent will be attracted to.” – Grooms

On Business Climate in Florida-

  • “We have the 4 T’s here in Florida: Talent, Taxes, Treasure and Tradition.” – Cane

 For Investors:

On Ed tech-

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  • “As with health care, education technology is a tough market to enter, designed to keep outsiders out”. – Andrew Rosen, chairman, Kaplan, Inc.
  • “Lots of folks focus on higher ed, the real value is in the K-12 space.” –Jon Hage, CEO, Charter Schools USA

 On Health care-

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  • The total dollar amount of venture capital in health care has doubled from 2013 to 2014 up to $4.7B from $2.2B.
  • Mobile health companies were the largest VC recipients with $1.2B.
  • “We are going through the most radical transformation in how health care is delivered in history.” – Bob Crutchfield, partner, Harbert Venture Partners

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Health-care Trends:

  • Chronic disease management
  • Tech-enabled care
  • Internal monitoring sensors
  • Information transfer technology
  • Mobile devices linking patient and doctor
  • Social media for health care


On the State of Venture Capital:

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  • According to MoneyTree – Florida venture capital funding doubled last year from 2013 to $863M in 45 deals and the state is 7th nationally in total investment
  • The number of first fundings remains in the healthy 1 – 1.4K range.
  • “This is a more complex deal environment, with more players at the table.” – John Taylor, head of research, National Venture Capital Association
  • “My sense is that there will be a slowdown, but I don’t see a venture capital bubble bursting.” – Frank Dalton, partner, Fulcrum Equity Partners

Bottom Line:

How to get seen by VC? – Travis Milks, partner, Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners

  • Join the Florida Venture Forum
  • Build a solid network
  • Educate yourself on firm profiles
  • Engage with social media

Perhaps the most important aspect of the conference was the networking opportunities, where entrepreneurs and investors spent time sharing their visions face to face.

Next year’s Florida Venture Capital conference will be Jan. 28-29 at The Vinoy Renaissance Resort in St. Petersburg. For more information visit www.flventure.org