Pay to Play VC events

I just got another one of these VC email solicitations for an 'exclusive event'.  At least youngStartup has the transparency to tell me upfront what the presentation fee is, but I find it disturbing that for $1,500 I can buy a "Top Innovator" award. has only ever been a blog.  About 2 years ago I worked on an idea for a social network based around future events and their outcomes - but it never materialized.  It certainly doesn't merit an award.  I'm surprised that people from Bain, etc.. could get suckered into attending an event like this.  Obviously, the best ideas won't be presenting here, only the ones with money to play.

Don't get me wrong, established companies pay to present all the time.  That's part of how they market.  However, a startup spending $1,500 for something like this either doesn't know what it's doing (much better to spend that money on your product or more strategic marketing) or isn't well run - or it's already well-funded.  Jason Calcanis has already written about this extensively.  His message is that there are plenty of free ways to get an audience for your ideas.  The most important thing is for you to have a partner whose skills complement your own and the time and money to work on your project.  If you don't have the partner, worry about that first.  If you have the partner and not the time and money, make your pitch awesome and then start pitching to whoever will listen - for free.  Just getting in front of user groups and meetups is a huge step.  At the same time, work on your product.  If, after 6 months, you're not getting any traction, step back and reevaluate everything from the ground up.

Note: In order to not make this an ad hominem attack, I've taken out the sender's name.

Hey Adam - Let me know if you'd like to have Varud. recognized as one of 60 Top Innovators presenting at The 2010 New England Venture Summit being held on December 14-15 at the Hilton in Boston Dedham.

As you may know, this exclusive venture capital summit will bring together over 450 VCs, Corporate VCs, private investors, investment bankers and CEOs of emerging companies and will feature high-level networking, face 2 face meetings and over 40 VCs on interactive panels.

Partial list of VCs confirmed to speak includes:

Neeraj Agrawal, General Partner,  Battery Ventures | Omar Amirana, MD, Partner, Oxford Biosciences | Christian Bailey, General Partner, incTANK Ventures | Michael Balmuth, General Partner, Edison Ventures | Dr. Jonathan Behr,  Principal, PureTech Ventures | Tom Cain, Special General Partner, Sail Venture Partners | Carlos Cesta, Director, Verizon VC | Jon Chait, Partner, Dace Ventures | Andrew D. Clapp, Managing Partner, Arctaris Capital | Issam Dairanieh, US Director, BP Alternative Energy Ventures | Ohad Finkelstein, Partner, Venrock | Patrick J. Fortune, Ph. D., Partner, Boston Millennia Partners | Liron Gitig, Principal, FTV Capital | Jeffrey Glass, Managing Director, Bain Capital Ventures | Greg Kats, Managing Director, Good Energies | Alan J. Koenning, Fund Manager, UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund | Venetia Kontogouris, Managing Director, Trident Capital | John Lawrence, Partner &  CFO, Longworth Venture Partners | David J. Martirano, Co-Founder and General Partner, Point Judith Capital | Chuck McDermott, General Partner, Rockport Capital Partners | Robert McNeil, Ph.D., Managing Director, Sanderling Ventures | Jeffrey B. Moore, Vice President, MP Healthcare Venture Management | Ira Nydick, Senior Technology Analyst, Panasonic Venture Group | Brendan O’Leary, General Partner, Prism VentureWorks | Patrick O'Neill, P.E., Investment Associate, Connecticut Innovations | Joseph Riley, Managing Member, Psilos Group Managers | Praveen Sahay, Founder & Managing Director, WAVE Equity Partners | Gavin B. Samuels, M.D., MBA, Senior Partnering Director, Teva Innovative Ventures | Bart Stuck, Managing Director, Signal Lake | Steven St. Peter, Managing Director, MPM Capital | Scott Requadt, Transactional Partner, Clarus Ventures | Chris Risley, Operating Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners | Jake Tarr, Managing Director, Kinetic Ventures | Louis A. Toth, Senior Managing Director, Comcast Interactive Capital | Markus Thill, Managing Director, Robert Bosch Venture Capital | Tracy S. Warren, General Partner, Battelle Ventures | Tom Whiteaker, AVP, Hartford Ventures | Caleb Winder, Vice President, Excel Venture Management | Bilal Zuberi, Principal, General Catalyst Partners and many more.

Our screening committee is busy reviewing the submissions and will be selecting the remaining companies by this coming Monday.  If interested, I would need you to fill out the summary outline and submit by the end of Monday.

I've included the details of the opportunity - let me know if you'd like me to send over the summary outline.

Featured Company Benefits include:

    * Recognition as a Top Innovator 60 company

    * Access to leading VCs, Corporate VCs, private investors and investment bankers

    * Presentation slot

    * Three Complimentary passes for company executives

    * Additional discounted registrations

    * Two page Company Profile published in event guide distributed to all attendees and investors

    * Media Exposure

    * Two complimentary passes to attend “Featured Company” Coaching Session with active VCs providing feedback

    * Two passes to opening reception

Fee to present: $1,485 (there is no fee to apply).




Senior Associate

youngStartup Ventures

Phone: XXXXX

Email: XXXXX