Texas Entrepreneur Networks to Host Later-Stage Funding in Austin
Hall T. Martin, founder and CEO of the Texas Entrepreneur Networks, wants to help innovative Texas companies get over the Series B hump.
That’s why he—along with Seattle-based venture capital data provider PitchBook—has created the Texas Venture Growth Forum to be held in the Texas state capitol in October. The two-day event will focus on connecting Austin companies (as well as some in Houston and Dallas) that are ready for Series B-sized cash infusions with venture capitalists interested in making the investments.
“There are a lot of first-timers (entrepreneurs) that need education: how you pitch, how to develop the deeper analytics you need for a Series B round,” Martin says. “And the value of getting in front of 15 VCs is a no-brainer.”
Companies must have more than $5 million in revenues to be eligible for the venture forum. IT entrepreneurs are invited to participate. Some of the companies are Gravitant, which makes cloud services software; Kimbia, which makes social media software; and Invodo, which makes video and interactive contact for e-retailers.
As many as 60 venture capital and private equity firms, such as Bessemer and Saphhire Ventures, as well as family offices, will attend the forum, Martin says. “Instead of flying around the country, they can just come to downtown Austin,” he says.
The venture forum will have a few panel discussions, including a keynote from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, but Martin says the focus is on one-on-one meetings between investors and entrepreneurs.
The venture capital scene in Austin is not as large as in other tech hotspots around the country. But there has been a growth of players in recent years even as veteran shop Austin Ventures said it would not be raising an 11th fund.
The later-stage venture forum is the latest such event for the seven-year-old Texas Entrepreneur Networks. The Austin-based group—which has 11,000 registered users, Martin says—began hosting funding forums in cities around the state. Two years ago, the network moved online with a website featuring various companies seeking funding, crowdfunding style.
Martin says having events such as the upcoming later-stage venture forum helps to connect entrepreneurs to funding in the near term but also can showcase the opportunities in Texas more broadly. “We want to attract series B funders to Texas,” he says. “We can expose them to our user base … maybe it would cause them to open an office here.”