VCTips: An Inside Look at Growth and Fundraising Strategy

Strategy & Business Models, Workshop
Location: 2009 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.80, 5 ratings)

Whether you’re just starting a business, looking for capital, or working to outlast the market drought, this workshop is for you. Learn what goes on inside the minds of investors, how to present and defend your business, and how to land your first customers. Workshop topics will include venture fund mechanics, financing, marketing, revenue models, early customer acquisition, and sales. Specific discussions will include:

  • Inside the Black Box: What goes on behind the magic curtain inside a venture fund? How do venture capital funds “work”, and what drives their decision-making? (Christine Herron, First Round Capital)
  • Pitch Lab I: How to present your company to investors, how to manage investor dialogues, and what to expect from the fundraising process. ( Matt Asay, Alfresco Software; Jeff Bonforte, Xobni; Christine Herron, First Round Capital; Bryce Roberts, OATV)
  • Market Q&A: There’s a lot of shifting ground in today’s market. Share the lessons learned by someone who has successfully closed funding in a challenging environment. (Jeff Bonforte, Xobni)
  • Pitch Lab II: How to acquire your first users, and how to pitch to and close on paying customers. (Matt Asay, Alfresco Software)
  • Food for Thought: 10 questions every VC will ask you, and what they really mean. (Bryce Roberts, OATV)
Photo of Christine Herron

Christine Herron

Intel Capital

Christine Herron has spent her career finding new and innovative information technologies. She is currently a Principal with First Round Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. Previously, Christine was a director at Omidyar Network, where she developed the Media practice strategy and drove $15 million in early-stage placements.

Prior to joining Omidyar Network in 2005, Christine was the VP of Marketing for Mission Research, which develops small business CRM solutions. While there, she led marketing from initial business plan authoring through paying customer and distribution partner acquisition. Earlier, Christine was the founder and CEO of Mercury2, a software-as-a-service developer of international trade logistics systems, and managed Internet products for both NetObjects and Microsoft.

Christine started as an investor with Geocapital Partners, where she focused on early Internet infrastructure and network management software. Her investments there included Netcom Online Communications, AXON Networks, D-Vision Systems, ViaGrafix, and FocusVision. In each case, Geocapital was the initial professional investor and helped to bring the company to a dominant market position.

Christine was ranked one of the Top 20 Women in Technology in 2000 by AltaVista and holds both an MBA from Stanford University and a BA in English from Columbia University.

Photo of Bryce Roberts

Bryce Roberts

O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures

Bryce co-founded O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures in 2005. At OATV he focuses on consumer and enterprise software and services investments.

Prior to OATV, Bryce sourced and lead a number of successful early stage investments at Wasatch Venture Fund, a Draper Fisher Jurvetson affiliate. In 2004, Bryce co-founded the Open Source Business Conference (sold to IDG) in order to spark a conversation around commercializing the highly disruptive technologies and services emerging from the open source community. Prior to Wasatch, Bryce was a member of a small team at vertical search pioneer Whizbang! Labs. While at WhizBang!, he defined and launched the division (sold to Monster Worldwide). He began his career in technology doing large enterprise software deployments, saving his employer from the dreaded Y2K Bug.

His investments at OATV include GameLayers, OpenX, Parakey (acquired by Facebook), Path Intelligence, Satisfaction and Wesabe. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Brigham Young University.

Photo of Matt Asay

Matt Asay


Matt Asay is a principal at AWS, helping to drive the company’s open source strategy, among other things. Prior to AWS, Matt managed Adobe’s developer ecosystem initiatives. Previously, Matt was Adobe’s vice president of mobile strategy and held a range of roles at open source companies, including vice president of business development, marketing, and community at big data database company MongoDB; vice president of business development at real-time analytics company Nodeable (acquired by Appcelerator); vice president of business development and interim CEO at mobile HTML5 startup Strobe (acquired by Facebook); COO at leading Linux and cloud vendor Canonical; and head of the Americas at content management startup Alfresco (acquired by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee). Matt is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and holds a JD from Stanford, where he focused on open source and other IP licensing issues. He writes regular columns for the Register, TechRepublic, and InfoWorld.

Photo of Jeff Bonforte

Jeff Bonforte


Jeff Bonforte is the CEO of Xobni. He’s worked in email, voice and messaging for more than 10 years. Prior to joining Xobni in 2008, Bonforte was VP of Social Search at Yahoo!, where he ran Yahoo! Answers and Delicious. Jeff also ran Yahoo! Messenger and oversaw its move from #2 to #1 IM client in the US. Before Yahoo!, Jeff was President and Founder of Gizmo5, an innovator in VoIP that was purchased by Google in 2008. In 1997 Jeff founded and was the CEO of i-drive, the largest online storage tool of the time, with over 10mm monthly unique visitors.

Jeff earned his BA in Classical Civilizations He lives in San Francisco with his wife, son and dog.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Jon Gelberg
Jon Gelberg
04/05/2009 7:13am PDT

Thanks for the terrific session… as someone trying hard to raise $$$ in this economy, I need all the advice I can get and your session was crammed with practical advice!

Picture of Windy Moore
Windy Moore
03/31/2009 10:47am PDT

I see Wynn Resorts has a big ad on Digg. Somehow he manages to hold his image to a good standing with the tourists who “stay at “the wynn” have been too busy to participate on Digg, and the social sites, however, have you heard about for example? sounds like your sticky site pulls, while they push….

Picture of Larry Chiang
Larry Chiang
03/28/2009 8:21am PDT

this looks cool and useful for newbie entrepreneurs. Like the “black box” and “food for thought”

Picture of Joe @A Spector
Joe @A Spector
03/19/2009 2:06am PDT

Very curious to see how this panel turns out given these crazy economic times.

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