Tuesday, September 14, 1999

It's Raining Cats and Dollars!

So after breakfast at eTV world I headed over for lunch at the VC world. AlleyCat News organized the first Northeast Venture Conference, as an annual affair, and brought home some prize sponsors to boot! Loeb & Loeb, Redwood Partners, Ambrose, Prudential, Exodus, Middleberg and Organic all offered up their coffers to this highly-touted event. That Wonder Lou Dobbs marvelled the audience with his keynote, on the first day, September 14, though a few people still aren't sure where they're making their money, and aren't sure if they or Lou care. Mr. Bob Lessin, the Silicon Alley Venture Darling, in his charismatic way imparted some ways of future-thinking advice for investing in those fabulous "dot coms." And now, (drumroll please), here they are: (on the website)

While Mr. Lessin was speaking, I dined with Douglas MacLaury (SVP, NYC Economic Development Corp.), Justin Model, Lisa Linden (Linden Aschuler & Kaplan) and Charles Millard (Prudential).

I also spoke briefly with Jeanine Moss (Organic) and Diane McGrath of PaintingsDirect.com, whose firm was presenting this afternoon. Also presenting, and creating a racket with their media stunts were the JustBalls.com guys. Kathleen Hynes of PartsBay.com got the most VCs packed in one room after she stood up and lambasted them all during breakfast for always chiming "you need a better management team" while she funded her business with her own million since the beginning. BATV was following Susan Shaw of HyperSpace Cowgirls around for a show on "Business Now."

That evening Loeb & Loeb sponsored a "Women in the Alley" Suite of Sweets and had cordials, petit fours, desserts galore, fruit and cheese in a hospitality suite. There were some women mingling around but anytime I tried to get some info from a L&L rep, I got a very nice smile and nod and said I should speak with Betiayn Tursi tomorrow. Okaaay. Downstairs in the NYCEDC cocktail party, Matt Merriam of Rival Works was one of the nicer and friendlier fellows who was around, and I learned a bit about their online community that offers web-based services to enhance online gaming while meeting business needs beyond game play. He was hanging out with Brian Wiley of Agency.com. The wild and crazy guys from Philadelphia Bob Robinson (MP4) and Joshua Slavitt (Synnestvedt & Lechner) were milling about. Ben Austin (Comet Systems), Seth Price and Bruce Bernstein (NYSIA) three of Silicon Alley's good ol' boys, were out too.

Bright and early the next morning, September 15, regional companies and organizations sponsored breakfasts for discussion on what was occuring in their areas. I ducked into the Washington breakfast and noted the feeling that the businesses and cultures in the area didn't leverage their resources in the nearby universities, the way Austin has, with recruitment and labor.