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Wednesday AM December 10th, 2008

Venture capitalists with over five billion dollars under management will hear new ideas for start-up companies at Rice University this week. Ed Mayberry reports.


image of box of questionsDespite the economic downturn, Brad Burke with the Rice Alliance says it’s a great time for entreprenuers to start companies with great ideas.

“A number of funds raised money six months or 12 months ago to invest in start-up companies, but they haven’t fully spent the money that they have already raised. So many of these firms are not that affected by the change — you know, the recent changes in the last three months.”

Ed: “And some of these start-ups may be starting to prove themselves worthy of further investment, maybe.”

“Yeah, that’s right. But most of the investors who invest in these start-ups, they’re not looking for a return until five to seven years out. So I expect the world to very different, you know, five to seven years from now, and that’s why sometimes it’s great to start a company in a recession or in a down-turn, because then you’re going to be selling the company when the values would be really high.”

The Rice Alliance is holding its sixth annual IT and Web Venture Forum tomorrow morning at the Jones Graduate School of Management in McNair Hall. Fifty start-ups will be presenting their companies to some 400 venture capitalists, early-stage investors, academic and business leaders.

“Fifty companies have a chace to present what we call your “elevator pitch.” So that means they have 60 seconds — let me see, 90 seconds, so it’s a long elevator — they have 90 seconds to present their pitch so that they can attract interest from the audience and from the investors in the audience. And at the end of the day, we announce the top ten companies, as well as we have a showcase where all the companies will have some table space and folks can walk around and meet and learn more about those companies that are of most interest to them.”

Over 600 companies have presented themselves to date at these forums, and over $500 million has been raised in early-stage funding.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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