Wednesday, February 07, 2001

Hopeful Discussions ~ a special report by Tery Spataro

Over the past couple of weeks I've been attending various seminars on the state of the new economy. Most recently Grant Thornton, LAIRD, and Pillsbury Winthrop hosted a seminar at the Princeton Club Wednesday, Feb 7. At 8:00 am it started with an hour of networking and went till 11:30am. Though--there was something very different about this crowd. Maybe it was the suits and ties? Having been in the industry since its early days, it's not something I'm not accustomed to seeing all the time.
The free interactive seminar was titled "What business models work best in today's capital markets?" What an appropriate subject to discuss. Sidney A. Staunton, Chairman and CEO of LAIRD & Co, opened the seminar and introduced the three panels. Panel one: Grant Thorton NY e*tech Practice Partner-in-Charge Mark Oster moderated panelists including Venture Capital Investing JW Seligman managing director Thomas Hirschfeld; Angel Society Co-CEO Andrew Moore; Updata Venture Associates general partner Conor Mullett and Milestone Venture Partners partner Todd Pietri.

The second panel was moderated by Pillsbury Winthrop Emerging Eompanies Group partner Lori Hoberman. She made sure the conversation flowed between Lucent New Ventures CFO Tony Abrahams; Easton Hunt Capital Partners partner Mark Chen; Epsen, Fuller & Associates CEO Thomas Fuller; Vantage-Point Venture Partners Principal John Kain.

Rounding out the morning we heard from chairman & CEO Omar Amanat; COO Marc Pitcher; AppliedTheory CEO Danny Stroud and deltathree, Inc. CFO Paul White. Pillsbury Winthrop Emerging Companies Group Ron Flemming moderated. The panel discussions were very informative; the panelists very generous with their knowledge.

I took away some very important points, which I would like to share: It's back to business basics, build your business first, know what you're good at and stick with it, an experienced management team is important, raise capital even if you don't need it right away (it takes more time it make it happen), the internet is just beginning! I walked away feeling we are on the road to the next economy, and we are much smarter.