I found this year’s VCIR Winter conference in Beaver Creek nothing short of impressive. Despite the gloomy economic winter, the VCIR conference was a wonderful (and much needed) reprieve from the seemingly endless string of tough business news – nearly 300 entrepreneurs, investors, CEOs and service providers gathered to talk about Colorado’s most promising investment opportunities
One of the highlights for me (besides the skiing) was the media panel moderated by Brad Feld of the Foundry Group. The panelists included Spencer Ante of BusinessWeek, Rebecca Buckman of Forbes, Dan Primack of peHUB Wire and Mark Veverka of Barron’s. Some of the highlights of the panel included discussion about the changing media landscape and whether or not print media would survive. This topic hit close to home, particularly since we just witnessed the closing of Denver’s nearly 150 year-old Rocky Mountain News. The panel also debated the industry’s most promising up and coming companies, and many agreed that an economic recession is a great time to start a new business given the bargains on resources, labor, real estate and other services.
104 West spent this week at Venture Capital in the Rockies, orchestrating a panel with Spencer Ante from Business Week, Becky Buckman from Forbes, Dan Primack from PE Week and Mark Veverka from Barron’s. Despite the obvious headwinds in the financial and credit markets, it was a great few days, listening to smart entrepreneurs, seeing old friends, participating in the mandatory ski day and generally taking the temperature of the symbiosis between start-ups and VCs in the Rockies.
Just a few highlights for me were Iggli, a new way to engage with friends and attend events together, NetFactor, a fascinating way to convert B2B web traffic into hot sales leads, MarketForce, a really sophisticated updating to the mystery shopping world, Atrato, another impressive attempt to solve complex storage problems, and, one of my favorites, because it symbolized so much, Justin’s Nut Butter, which is just simply smart.
There was some scuttlebutt about who was investing what and where, but I think that misses the many positives about both the overall environment and about the group of companies at VCIR as a microcosm of that environment.
This group was widely heralded as the strongest VCIR class in recent memory.
The attending media were a first-class sampling of the industry’s premier reporters covering this market.
The emerging clean technology market was there in full force both as investors and entrepreneurs.
In general, it was fascinating to see a much broader range of categories beyond the classic Web 2.0 or corporate IT. If only the skiing had been better…
Congratulations to Seth Levine from Foundry Group and Mike Bearup from KPMG who co-chaired the event. Now we can look forward to VCIR Fall!
It you follow @themediaisdying on Twitter you may feel like the media/pr world we know is in fact dying - at least I find myself feeling depressed after seeing their ongoing tweets about layoffs and papers shutting down. With that said, it’s been one week to the day that the Rocky Mountain News ceased publication – but it hasn’t died. (Yeah!) Many of the staff members haven’t stopped writing/reporting for the Rocky – they’re now posting articles to IWantMyRocky.com. The site is “a gathering spot for Rocky alumni and readers, bringing you the news of your favorite reporters and columnists and even a scoop or two that you might have seen on the pages of the Rocky.”
Check it out and support your favorite local reporters - perhaps they will be one of the leaders in "reshaping" the media landscape. Who knows...