The California Venture Forum has tapped 13 companies, five from Orange County, to pitch their businesses to an audience of investors.
In addition to enhancing credibility, the selection could translate into badly needed money for those small companies. Investors have poured a total of $20 million into firms selected by the forum since 1994, said Jay Winokur, a forum board member and financial consultant.
The forum helps introduce small companies to venture capitalists. "The venture capital community in Southern California has not been working for small companies, because venture capitalists have focused on large, established businesses," he said.
The five Orange County companies are Akropolis.net of Santa Ana, an Internet portal for architects; DV Studio Technologies LLC of Irvine, a multimedia firm; Marinetics Corp. of Costa Mesa, a developer of battery chargers; Raising Great Kids of San Juan Capistrano, a publisher of child-rearing materials; and Solutions Mediation Systems LLC, a Laguna Niguel developer of dispute resolution software. They will make presentations before 200 venture capitalists, bankers and angel investors at the forum-sponsored investor conference Nov. 10 at Claremont McKenna College.
Biodot, a $7-million manufacturing firm in Irvine, met its banker through the event, Chief Executive Mike Surmanian said. The forum "is great because it brings together in one place a number of investors who would otherwise be difficult to reach."
Companies are selected on the strength of their concept, the quality of their business plans and the likelihood of them receiving funding. Businesses wishing to apply must pay $300 in fees, which cover coaching and business plan critiques. Most entrants come from the Southland.
The nonprofit California Venture Forum holds its investor conferences in May and November.
Information: (714) 235-8655; http://www.calventureforum.org.