MONCTON – The stage is set for one of the region’s biggest networking events.
Invest Atlantic, an event that brings together more than 300 startups, entrepreneurs and investors, kicks off Wednesday in Moncton. This will be the first year the conference has been held in New Brunswick.
The conference aims to bring noted investors together with the region’s newest and fastest growing companies for two days of networking and focused discussions on everything from raising capital and collaboration to partnerships and succession planning. Founder and organizer Bob Williamson says this year’s event will have a particular focus on what investors expect from startups.
“We’re really focusing on getting more angel investors and [getting] investors to share their stories and share what they want to see from companies looking for investment,” Williamson says. “We’re really focused on two things. One is to be able to have our startups understand what investors want from the get-go … The secondary focus is for them to meet with and hear from entrepreneurs who have already been there. They’ve been in the trenches and they’ve been on the peaks, so they have an idea of what’s coming.”
“That’s what this conference was really set up to do initially in 2010, but this year it really focuses on approaching the New Brunswick marketplace and the startup community so they can really get a solid grasp [on] what investors want from a startup.”
Speakers include Sanjay Singhal of 500 Startups, Sean Wise from Naked Entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den; Brian Lowe from the First Angel Network among many other investors and experts. The list also includes businesses and startups like Chris Mathis of Springboard Atlantic, Yves Boudreau of Alongside and Dominique Leger of In Pursuit, sharing their wisdom and insight.
All sessions will focus on three main themes: getting ready for investor money; getting the investor money ; and after the money (when your company exits). They are topics Williamson says every startup needs to know, not matter what stage they’re at.
“There’s no training program necessarily set up where you can go through and come out with all those answers, so this is what Invest Atlantic is trying to solve.”
Though the conference will give participants a lot of information to take in, Williamson says he hopes one thing they take away is the relationships they make with speakers and each other.
“Ideally, Invest Atlantic is a platform for collaboration, which means people can meet and walk away with relationships,” he says. “For our startups, if we’re not collaborating as a region in helping them and introducing them to the people they need to be introduced to, we’re not going to be as successful at the end of the day as if we did.”