Atlanta, GA (PressExposure) April 21, 2009 -- Investors and Entrepreneurs gathered for the 2009 Southeast Private Equity Conference on April 14 and 15 at 103 West in Atlanta. The main buzz at the conference was whether there is capital available to fund new business ideas as the banking and credit markets retrench from their recent difficulties. Most participants felt that Venture and Angel Capital is still available. However, as Michael Queen of Universal Capital Management stated, the due diligence process is more stringent and the cost of the capital higher than at any time in recent history. Entrepreneurs were encouraged by the number of VCs and angel investors who came out to show their support for early stage companies.
The Conference, sponsored by Launch Funding Network and One Georgia Bank, brought together entrepreneurs from as far away as California and Seattle to discuss the current business climate with regional lenders and investors. Conference participants discussed the need for start-up business ventures to help spur the economic recovery, as entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to investors at the event. Chuck Lewis, President of One Georgia Bank, participated in a panel discussion Wednesday morning on âWhere to Find Capital in a Down Marketâ. Mr. Lewis reported encouraging trends in the SBA lending arena as the Federal Government has increased the amount they will guarantee and has taken specific measures to ensure that capital is available to small business owners.
The idea behind the early stage capital conference, started in 2008 by Karen Rands, managing director for the Network of Business Angels & Investors, is to show that Atlanta can be a hub for deal-making and new business ventures. âNew York, Chicago and San Francisco have historically funded new businesses and we want to bring some of that clout down southâ stated Rands, the conference Director. To underscore that point, Josette Fleszar, who built and sold a successful business in Atlanta and is now developing her second company here, delivered the keynote address. Fleszar sees Atlanta as fertile ground for new business opportunities.
Entrepreneurs such as Chris Pollatos of Verdant Energy Solutions and Ed Hayward of WebTop, Inc, said they liked the intimate nature of the conference because it allowed them to spend meaningful face time with investors to share each othersâ perspectives on the current market and to discuss what is needed to kick-start the economy, get new jobs flowing again, and help their businesses succeed. âThis type of conference helps bring investors and entrepreneurs closer together so we can begin building the infrastructure weâll need to grow the economy, one company at a timeâ said Pollatos. âIâm already thinking about SPEC 2010 and how with the expected economic growth this conference will be even larger and better than ever.â
Long term angel investor and venture capitalist, Ian Adlington, of Newport Capital, reflected on the difference between this conference and the many conferences he has attended throughout the world. âI thoroughly enjoyed myself. There was a rich variety of companies, all of which represented unique opportunities within their sector, which was refreshing. Further, there was a warmth about the event. Karen and her team did a great job of making sure things ran smoothly and the investors were meeting each other and the companies. Her theme was âcompassionate capitalismâ and it was quite evident in the way the CEOs and Investors looked for ways to help one another, even when an investment wasnât eminent.â
SPEC 2010 has been scheduled for March 16 & 17 in Atlanta. SPEC will take on a new name: Strategic Private Equity & Capital Conference to reflect the varied sources of capital in attendance at the event. SPEC looks to expand this conference format into other markets in the near future. For more information and highlights from the SPEC 2009 conference, including interviews with panelists and presenters, please visit http://www.sePrivateEquity.org