FVCC 2006, Day 3: Panels, Presentations, and a Sneak Peek

Posted by on February 2, 2006 at 11:56 am.

– Venture Capital State of the Industry: Mark Heesen of the NVCA, as usual, brought a mound of stats and declared the state of the venture industry was good with growing company and fund investments. The majority of funds either raised in the last 24 months or will in the next 24 months. The panel was a bit sedate (at least compared to bio) but all participants brought some nuggets of wisdom.

Themes: more early-stage investing will come with new funds being raised, Florida is getting a lot of attention from outside funds, funds are syndicating with FL/non-FL synergies, more talk about services than I usually hear.

Nifty nugget: west coast VCs talking about simplified devices for the masses, but particularly seniors — think FireFly for grandma.

– Presentations: no blow-by-blow, see prior post for “Best of Show”

– Bio and Life Science State of the Industry: Great panel moderation by Jeff Clark of Aurora Funds on a panel that went deep on bio lingo. Donny Strosberg from Scripps Research was a fresh new voice in the region who should win a lot of supporters for a biotech incubator near Scripps’ ultimate location.

Themes: new treatments actually curing disease not symptoms, personalized medicine (at high price points) continuing to grow, bio taking a long time (5+yrs) but better not take too long (8+yrs), Florida as bio-hub coming but requires more research, capital and entrepreneurs (Jeff told us these guys were smart)

Best question: pretend you are Jeb, how do you make it happen for Florida? Trick question because Jeb announced Tuesday a major new tech/research/development/venture program that was hinted at in earlier news articles. The Governor’s plan probably isn’t perfect, but will make a major impact on Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem — if Florida’s legislature can see the vision. The panel response by Will Brooke of Harbert wins my “Best Panelist” KangaRua for shear inspiration and believability — Will’s got a future in politics.

– Post-FVCC Sneak Peek: After the show, huddled in a small, nondescript conference room, seed/early-stage life science investors got a peek behind the curtain at some of Florida’s life science research engines. Presenters from UF, Moffitt, UMiami and even Mayo were on hand to provide a sneak peek at what’s coming for cancer diagnosis, differentiated tumor treatment, periodontitis diagnosis, drug delivery, asthma treatment and others. Because of our university relationships, I’d seen many of these technologies but they stepped it up for this forum. I especially liked the opportunities where an entrepreneur was coupled with the inventor/scientist, and look forward to watching these companies mature into the next generation of Florida Venture Capital Conference presenters…

So that’s it…I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to comment with any of your FVCC 2006 observations!

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