“Alternative Financing: Freedom from Traditional Money”

“Alternative Financing: Freedom from Traditional Money”

On September 29, 2010, U.S.-Polish Trade Council (USPTC) organized a seed and early stage financing-focused conference titled: ”Alternative Financing: Freedom from Traditional Money.”  Thanks to the event’s facilities sponsor, the law firm of K&L Gates LLP, the conference was held at the Conference Center at Four Embarcadero in San Francisco.

Entrepreneurial spirit was widely present during the conversations among the panelists and attendees before and after the panel discussion moderated by Tom Foremski, founder and editor of Silicon Valley Watcher (http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/). The audience, comprised of individuals representing multiple Bay Area start-up companies, trade missions, and providers of outsourcing services to U.S. firms, praised the panelists for their sharing of invaluable information for seed and early-stage entities seeking financing. The panelists were Paul Bragiel, Jay Cohan and Ian Sobieski.

Paul Bragiel, represented io Ventures (http://www.ventures.io/info/team), an incubator for start-ups all around the globe, described how io Ventures mentors young, promising projects to get off the ground,  provides work space, introduces key persons in the start-up’s specific industry, and provides capital infusion up to $25,000, all in exchange for 8% of the common stock ownership in the company. Paul’s experience as a serial entrepreneur and a seed and early-stage investor allowed him to shed more light on the issues that are faced by new companies on a daily basis and their struggle to obtain the financing they need to start their journey to desired success.

Jay Cohan, an investment partner at Western Technology Investment (http://www.westerntech.com/team/), outlined the parameters related to multiple debt “investments” made by his company in numerous angel- and venture-backed companies. According to Jay, the range of financing provided by his company varies depending on company-specific characteristics. The iamount varies widely from several hundred thousand to twenty million dollars of capital infusion.  The debt instruments are usually accompanied by warrants to buy the company’s stock.

Ian Sobieski, founder and managing director of The Band of Angels (http://www.bandangels.com/team/fund.php?bio=ian), provided information about how The Band of Angels fits into the angel financing market in Silicon Valley, including The Band’s history and size of the investments. According to Ian, the preferred amount of investment by The Band of Angels is in the range of $250,000. Exceptional investments ranging up to $1,000,000 have also been closed by The Band of Angels.  Case-specific decisions are made by The Band so if one’s project warrants a higher investment amount, The Band may be able to support it.

USPTC thanks the panelists, the attendees and K&L Gates LLP, all of whom contributed to the success of the event.  USPTC welcomes your feedback and looks forward to presenting further events on venture financing.

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