Friday May 29 2009
In tough times, startups hit the golf course
Entrepreneurial Drive connects entrepreneurs and investors
For entrepreneurs, this economic environment is especially difficult, but there is one event that can turn that all around in one day – the Entrepreneurial Drive Golf Tournament. The tournament, which will be held Monday, July 20, at Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, brings investors and startup executives together for what could be a lot more than a great day of golf for both. “We hope that our investor pitch will attract some investors that have the ability to add value beyond capital,” said Rajiv Donde President of Laru, a software company in the financial services space. “There are so many investors all in one place, we’re hopeful that we’ll inspire a couple of them.” Investors see it the same way. As they play the 18-hole tournament, they hear quick pitches from startup companies right on the tee-box. “It’s one-stop shopping,” says Tim Coxen, a local business owner and investor, “and a great way to get caught up on the new tech companies in the region, and network with colleagues and partners.” Bringing investors and entrepreneurs together attracted top tier sponsors and more than 120 golfers to the tournament last year, raising $10,000 for non-profit organizations that support entrepreneurship in the Sacramento region. "Those unique tee-box pitches paid off for emTRAiN last year,” said Janine Yancy, CEO and founder of emTRAIN. “The online training and delivery platform service showed off their new technology to multiple investors last year. It was a busy day of real work out there on the course, believe me, but it was good for us.” The Entrepreneurial Drive was the vision of Jack Crawford, Jr., of Velocity Venture Capital. Since 2005, Velocity has been investing in seed and early-stage technology companies with an emphasis on clean tech companies. “This region is quickly becoming a national leader in clean energy with its quickly maturing technology sector – we’ve got all of the ingredients: a strong academic infrastructure, a talented workforce, plenty of incubating companies, a cache of great entrepreneurs and a bunch of experienced investors,” Crawford said. “Events like this help bring us all together to support really promising local companies, who create jobs and wealth right here at home.” This year, Velocity Venture Capital has teamed up with a partner for the event, Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Sacramento (EO – Sacramento). The worldwide non-profit organization with over 7,000 members and chapters in 38 countries will enable this successful group of proven entrepreneurs to interact with the next wave of entrepreneurs in the Sacramento region.” “It’s an exciting opportunity that we just couldn’t miss,” said John Finegan, past president and Board member of the Sacramento chapter of EO. “I played in the tournament last year and I was really impressed with the caliber of the participants, and the tee-box pitches were great. This event is a perfect fit for us.” The tournament is generously supported by a number of regional top tier businesses that contribute to technology ecosystem with professional services that are essential to the growth and development of young companies. Banks, legal firms, accounting firms, device manufacturers recruiters and others, round out investors and venture firms as sponsors and golfers participating in the event. Lining up sponsors may not be easy in this uncertain economy, but Crawford is hopeful. “It is more important than ever for companies to reinforce and expand their networks. This event attracts some of the most influential organizations, corporations and investors from Sacramento – and for this year’s event, Silicon Valley. It’s the best place for their brands to be if they plan to be a part of the local tech and energy economy going forward.” The tournament begins with a trade-show luncheon at 10:30 a.m., and the shotgun start is at noon. For more information or to register to play in the tournament, visit www.entrepreneurialdrive.com.