Innovation, Inspiration and Fundraising - Secret Recipes from Leading VCs

Tips and strategies from leading VC's in the valley.


       Tuesday, April 26, 2010

       6:00PM to 7:00PM - Registration and Networking

       7:00PM to 8:15PM - Main Event  


Fenwick & West LLP

801 California Street

Mountain View, CA  94041

Event Description:

Venture capitalists invested $21.8 billion in 3,277 deals in 2010, an increase of 19 percent in dollars and a 12 percent rise in deals over the prior year according to latest MoneyTree Report, which tracks the industry. The rise in venture investments in 2010 represents the first time the annual investment level has increased since 2007.

Now that you have decided to launch a company, how do you ensure that you have the right recipe for a successful business? What does it take for an innovative idea to land a top investor in its early days? How do investors gauge the chances of success for a startup beyond early days? How do they partner with entrepreneurs to ensure a successful exit?

Our event panel, consisting of top notch silicon valley investors, will discuss their secret recipe for picking the right startups early on and helping them become successful businesses.

This event is a special VLAB fundraiser event for Japan Tsunami Relief. All ticket proceeds will be donated to American RedCross.


* Peter Sims, Author, "LITTLE BETS", speaker, and entrepreneur


* Howard Hartenbaum,  August Capital

Jeff Clavier, SoftTech VC

* Rob Coneybeer, Managing Director, Shasta Ventures

For any questions, please email 

Detailed Bios


Peter Sims

Peter Sims is an author, LITTLE BETS, speaker, and entrepreneur.  He was the coauthor with Bill George of True North, the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-selling book.  His next book is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, from Simon & Schuster: Free Press. His work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Tech Crunch, and Fortune and he’s a contributor to the Reuters, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review blogs.  He received an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business where he and several classmates established a popular course on leadership and has had long collaboration with faculty at Stanford’s Institute of Design (the  He frequently speaks or advises at corporations, associations, and universities, including Cisco Systems, Eli Lilly, Current Media, Qualcomm, and Stanford University.  Previously, he worked in venture capital with Summit Partners, a leading investment firm, including as part of the team that established the firm’s London Office.

He lives in San Francisco and his great-great-great grandfather, Jacob Gundlach, founded Gundlach Bundschu (GunBun) in Sonoma, California’s oldest family-owned winery, which is run today by his cousins who, unlike Peter, know a lot about wine.

Howard Hartenbaum, Partner, August Capital 

Howard Hartenbaum joined August Capital in 2008. Prior to joining, he served as a General Partner at Draper Richards LP where he was the founding investor in Skype and a former member of the board of directors where his achievement resulted in his joining the Forbes Midas List of top venture capitalists.

Before entering the venture capital field, Howard was at Hughes Electronics, where he was responsible for supporting business development, marketing and sales of satellite, information security and automotive technologies developed by HRL Laboratories. He also worked in engineering positions in ergonomics and user experience at Honda Motor Company and manufacturing at Teledyne Relays.

Howard has worked overseas for a total of ten years in Luxembourg and Japan. He is a graduate of M.I.T.

Current Investments: Bubbli, Livemocha, Memolane, Pixazza, and RelayRides.

Previous investments: Skype (acquired by eBay – EBAY), Photobucket (acquired by Fox Interactive Media – NWS), Bebo (acquired by AOL – TWX), Netkraft (acquired by Adea Solutions) and DimDim (acquired by – CRM)

Jeff Clavier, SoftTech VC

Jean-Francois “Jeff” Clavier is the Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC, one of the most active seed stage investors in Web 2.0 startups. Since 2004, Jeff has invested in close to 100 consumer internet startups (Fund I, Fund II, Fund III)  in areas like social media, monetization, search, gaming or B2B/B2C web services. These investments are typically located in Silicon Valley, New-York and Boulder. With over 20 years of operational, entrepreneurial and venture capital experience, Jeff is able to  add relevant perspective and value to his companies as they grow from inception to maturity, and hopefully, success.

In 2007, Jeff was recognized as one of the 13 “Web 2.0 King Makers” by (late) Business 2.0. BusinessWeek named him one of "The 25 Most Influential People on the Web" in 2008, and one of the "Top 25 Angels in Tech" in 2010. He was also nominated in the "Best Angel" category at the Crunchies in 2009 and 2010. He is often noted for his investments in categories such as “passion-centric communities” or online gaming, or for having sold a number of his Web 2.0 startups to the likes of Yahoo, AOL, Intuit or more recently Twitter and Groupon.

In September 2007, after successfully investing as a business angel, Jeff announced the formation of SoftTech VC II, L.P. – a $15M seed fund backed by a mix of institutional and private investors to invest in 60+ consumer Internet companies over 3 years.

Some of Jeff's representative investments include Mint (Intuit), Brightroll, Truveo (AOL), Userplane (AOL), Rapleaf, Ustream, Milo (eBay), Blekko, Eventbrite, Tapulous (Disney), DNANexus, FanBridge, BillFloat,...

Rob Coneybeer, Shasta Ventures 

Rob Coneybeer brings to Shasta Ventures deep experience in building startup companies. Prior to co-founding Shasta Ventures, he was a general partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA) where he led 15 early-stage investments in core infrastructure technologies spanning semiconductors, software and networking equipment.  Prior to joining the venture capital industry, Rob served as a lead integration and test engineer in the Astro Space division of Martin Marietta. While at Martin Marietta, Rob helped build the first EchoStar spacecraft.

Rob’s current areas of active interest include mobile, wireless, and sensors, as well as technology applications that leverage new infrastructure technologies in novel and creative ways.  He is particularly interested in startups that have discovered creative new approaches to connecting the “real world” to the Internet, whether via smartphones, low-cost sensors, or other innovative new devices.

Rob earned a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia.  He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named a Palmer Scholar.



For any questions, please email 

This event is sold out!!

There are no tickets left.


Please log into your VLAB account before registering

© Copyright MIT Enterprise Forum Bay Area, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Alumni Development Software