Ecosystem converges at Impact Venture Capital

By Jack Crawford, General Partner, Impact Venture Capital

On November 14th, newly launched Impact Venture Capital hosted the first ever Impact Global Venture Summit at the brand new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.  The event drew over eight hundred investors, entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, students, researchers, and policy makers.

The goal of the summit was to highlight Northern California’s best startups that are partnering with innovative corporates and serving customers in what the Fund calls “Global Challenges Industries”, which include: food + agriculture, digital healthcare, education + media, energy, and digital security + government technology.  Over fifty startups were featured on the floor of the world’s most high-tech arena, and nineteen of these companies pitched to the investor community on a 360 degree stage at center court using all the audio/video bells and whistles that arena had to offer.

The day-long event was moderated by Jack Crawford (General Partner at Impact Venture Capital) and was divided into three sessions designed to imitate the life of a technology startup.  During the “Ignite” session, dozens of seed stage tech companies networked with investors, customers, and business talent in a large tradeshow and job fair environment.  The “Accelerate” session was anchored by the 19 pitching early stage tech companies, and the “Capitalize” session focused on corporate venture capital, featured two panel discussions, and was headlined by industry icon Dixon Doll (General Partner at Impact Venture Capital)

The first panel, moderated by former Oracle corporate executive Eric Ball (General Partner at Impact Venture Capital), keyed on the “The Rise of Global Corporate Venture Capital.” The panelists included corporate executives Chris Hendricks (McClatchy), Eric Johannessen (VSP Global), Gayathri Radhakrishan (Dell), Ruth Yomtoubian (AT&T), and Meredith Finn (Salesforce Ventures) discussing how their organizations make strategic investments, identify “winning” investment opportunities, and partner with venture funds to syndicate rounds of funding.

Dan Wadhwani, professor of entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific, led the second panel focused on entrepreneurial exits.  The panel featured four successful entrepreneurs, each of whom has successfully exited previous ventures, including Gordie Campbell (Soft Machines acquired by Intel), Hayes Barnard (Paramount Equity acquired by Solar City), Pam Marrone (NASDAQ: Marrone Bio Innovations), and Yatish Mishra (RagingWire acquired by NTT Com). The panelists shared stories about the thrills and challenges of selling and taking their companies public on NASDAQ.

The Impact Global Venture Summit was run in partnership with AT&T’s Aspire ed-tech accelerator program and the Sacramento chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO).  A grant from the newly launched City of Sacramento RAILS program also helped fund the event.  Many innovative partners also supported the event, including Bank of America, Sutter Health, SMUD, Nasdaq, University of Pacific and UC Davis.


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