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Chapter 5: Investment Forum, Meeting, Network and Association Directory

Chapter 5 contains:

New strategies have been developed in the last several years to bring entrepreneurial companies together with prospective investors and others who can assist in business growth. The events and organizations listed in the directory in this chapter can help to foster access to capital for new and expanding recycling ventures in a variety of ways. The directory entries can be categorized as either investment forums, investment meetings and investment networks, or associations, as defined below:

Investment Forums

Investment forums tend to be annual events in which 10 to 40 businesses selected from a larger pool of applicants make presentations for a group of attending investors and service providers. Networking opportunities are often arranged for presenting entrepreneurs and investors in these one- to three-day events. Special keynote talks of particular interest to private equity investors are also often featured. The annual forums typically select for high growth companies that may have appeal to professional venture capital, corporate or private individual investors. They generally serve an entire state or a multi-state region. Of the 104 directory entries, the 23 events best meeting this description, in the geographic order in which the are listed in the directory, include:

Figure 5-1
Investment Forums
Event City
1) Northeast Recycling Investment Forum Brattleboro, VT
2) New Jersey Venture Fair Princeton, NJ
3) The Upstate NY & Canada Inv. Conference Rochester, NY
4) Mid-Atlantic Venture Fair Timonium, MD
5) Pittsburgh Growth Capital Conference Pittsburgh, PA
6) Central Florida Venture Capital Conference Orlando, FL
7) Florida Venture Forum Coral Gables, FL
8) NC Venture Conference RTP, NC
9) Dare to Deal-Southeast Capital Connection Charleston, SC
10) Southeast Recycling Investment Forum Columbia, SC
11) Great Midwest Venture Capital Conference Indianapolis, IN
12) Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Ann Arbor, MI
13) Innovest Cleveland, OH
14) Wisconsin Venture Fair Madison, WI
15) Oklahoma Investment Forum Tulsa, OK
16) Southwest Venture Forum Dallas, TX
17) Texas Venture Capital Conference Austin, TX
18) Midwest Recycling Investment Forum Lincoln, NE
19) Venture Capital in the Rockies Denver, CO
20) Utah Venture Capital Conference Salt Lake City, UT
21) Arizona Venture Capital Conference Phoenix, AZ
22) Bay Area Venture Forum San Francisco, CA
23) Los Angeles Technology Venture Forum Los Angeles, CA

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Investment/Entrepreneurial Meetings

Investment and entrepreneurial meetings tend to be more frequent monthly or quarterly breakfast or lunch meetings of investors and others interested in new ventures with a single topic or speaker. Often the speakers address investment opportunities in a particular industry sector and may themselves be entrepreneurs. Several such meetings have very short (one to five minute) prepared presentations from selected entrepreneurial ventures. The investment meetings tend to serve smaller in-state regions and involve fewer venture capitalists and more individual investors than the venture forums. Presenting companies are usually local enterprises seeking capital and other resources for business start-up and growth. Some of the organizations provide services either solely to entrepreneurs or solely to investors. See the directory descriptions for details on each group’s mission, services and programs. Of the 104 directory entries, the 65 organizations that conduct investment or entrepreneurial meetings, sorted in the geographic order in which they appear in the directory, are as follows:

Figure 5-2
Investment/Entrepreneurial Meetings
Organization City
1) Connecticut Venture Group Fayetteville, CT
2) MIT Enterprise Forum of Connecticut, Inc Hartford, CT
3) MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Cambridge, MA
4) MIT Enterprise Forums Cambridge, MA
5) Vermont Venture Network Burlington, VT
6) New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network Princeton, NJ
7) Venture Assoc. of New Jersey Morristown, NJ
8) Long Island Venture Group Brookville, NY
9) MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City New York, NY
10) New York Venture Capital Forum New York, NY
11) New York Venture Group New York, NY
12) Western New York Venture Association Amherst, NY
13) Delaware Entrepreneurs’ Forum Wilmington, DE
14) Baltimore Washington Venture Group College Park, MD
15) Delaware Valley Venture Group Philadelphia, PA
16) MIT Enterprise Forum of Pittsburgh Trafford, PA
17) Pennsylvania Innovation Network Malvern, PA
18) Pennsylvania Private Investors Group (PPIG) Wayne, PA
19) Venture Investment Forum of Central PA Camp Hill, PA
20) MIT Enterprise Forum of Wash.-Baltimore Arlington, VA
21) Richmond Venture Capital Club Midlothian, VA
22) First Coast Venture Capital Group Jacksonville, FL
23) The Founders Forum Melbourne, FL
24) Gainesville Area Innovation Network, Inc. Gainesville, FL
25) Tampa Bay Venture Forum Tampa, FL
26) Atlanta Venture Forum Atlanta, GA
27) The Venture Club of Louisville Louisville, KY
28) MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago Chicago, IL
29) Venture Club of Indiana Indianapolis, IN
30) Capital Enterprise Forum Lansing, MI
31) Michiana Investment Network South Bend, IN
32) Mid-Michigan Venture Capital Forum Bay City, MI
33) New Enterprise Forum Ann Arbor, MI
34) The Southeastern Michigan Venture Group Detroit, MI
35) Traverse Bay Enterprise Forum Traverse City, MI
36) West Michigan Business/Finance Forum Grand Rapids, MI
37) The Collaborative Minneapolis, MN
38) Greater Cincinnati Venture Association Cincinnati, OH
39) Miami Valley Venture Association Dayton, OH
40) Wisconsin Venture Network Milwaukee, WI
41) The Venture Network New Orleans, LA
42) Entrepreneurs of Tulsa Tulsa, OK
43) Oklahoma Venture Forum Oklahoma City, OK
44) Central Texas Venture Capital Group Waco, TX
45) Dallas Venture Capital Forum Dallas, TX
46) Houston Venture Capital Association Houston, TX
47) MIT Enterprise Forum of Dallas-Fort Worth Dallas, TX
48) MIT Enterprise Forum of Texas Houston, TX
49) Venture Network of Iowa Des Moines, IA
50) Missouri Innovation Center Columbia, MO3
51) Missouri Venture Forum St. Louis, MO
52) The Rockies Venture Club Denver, CO
53) Enterprise Network Phoenix, AZ
54) California Capital Access Forum Santa Monica, CA
55) Cal Tech/MIT Enterprise Forum Pasadena, CA
56) Central Coast MIT Enterprise Forum Agoura Hills, CA
57) Los Angeles Venture Association Santa Monica, CA
58) MIT Enterprise Forum of San Diego San Diego, CA
59) MIT Enterprise Forum of the Bay Area Santa Clara, CA
60) Orange Coast Venture Group Laguna Hills, CA
61) San Diego Venture Group San Diego, CA
62) Hawaii Venture Capital Association Kailua, HI
63) Oregon Enterprise Forum Portland, OR
64) MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest Seattle, WA
65) Northwest Venture Group Seattle, WA

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Investment Networks

Investment networks are services that match investors’ interests with companies seeking additional capital. The matchmaking process usually has four steps:

  1. Companies submit executive business summaries, financial projections and an entrepreneur’s profile application. Investors submit an investment preference profile. Both investors and companies typically pay a fee to be listed on the network.
  2. The data are entered into a computer database, interest matches are made, and investors are sent the summaries of those companies that meet their requirements. At this stage, the names of investors and companies are confidential.
  3. The investor reviews the summaries and contacts the network if it is interested in meeting an entrepreneur. The network then provides both parties with information on how to contact one another.
  4. Once introductions have been made, investment negotiations can occur directly between the two parties.

A few of the networks, such as the Western Investment Network and the Environmental Capital Network, provide all business profiles to all network investors, instead of conducting the matchmaking service described above. Most of the networks are statewide or regional. The Technology Capital Network at MIT, the Seed Capital Network, the Investors’ Circle, the Environmental Capital Network and the Capital Network are national in scope. The 16 investment networks identified for the directory, in the geographic order in which they are listed, are as follows:

Figure 5-3
Investment Networks
Network City
1) Technology Capital Network at MIT Cambridge, MA
2) Mid-Atlantic Investment Network College Park, MD
3) Kentucky Investment Capital Network Frankfort, KY
4) North Carolina Investor Network Raleigh, NC
5) Private Investor Network Aiken, SC
6) Seed Capital Network Knoxville, TN
7) Investors’ Circle West Chicago, IL
8) Private Investors Network Bloomington, IN
9) Environmental Capital Network Ann Arbor, MI
10) The Capital Network Austin, TX
11) Capital Resource Network Kansas City, MO
12) Montana Private Capital Network Poulson, MT
13) Pacific Venture Capital Network Irvine, CA
14) Silicon Valley Capital Network Sunnyvale, CA
15) Alaska InvestNet Juneau, AK
16) Western Investment Network Seattle, WA

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National Finance and Business Development Organizations and Federal Finance Programs

At the end of the directory, a listing of national financial and entrepreneurial associations is provided. These associations can provide member directories and guides to accessing financial or business development resources. A list of contacts for federal financing programs is also provided.

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Value to Recycling Businesses

Recycling, reuse and composting entrepreneurs and the economic developers that serve them can benefit from participating in the organizations listed in this directory. A recycling venture seeking capital may want to present its business through one of the forums, meetings or networks. Even if not selected to present, involvement in these organizations will help to connect entrepreneurs and economic developers with investors and resources that can benefit the recycling industry. Some groups, such as the MIT Enterprise Forums, provide entrepreneurs help in refining their business plans and presentations.


“Networks, however, will not solve all problems... They have no role in quality control, nor in pricing, structuring or monitoring any deal, all of which are significant factors determining the ultimate success or failure of an enterprise.

Despite these limitations, networks such as VCN (Venture Capital Network, Inc. now Technology Capital Network, Inc.) have a potentially important role in increasing market efficiency, and thus in reducing the equity financing gap. They provide a confidential means of drawing from a wider geographical area to bring entrepreneurs and investors together, and of offering investors a reasonable flow of investment opportunities. Further, they provide the means to expand the informal venture capital market by lowering barriers to the entry into the market of potential new individual investors.”(1)

John Freear, Jeffrey E. Sohl and William E. Wetzel, “The Private Investor Market for Venture Capital”

However, not all of these events or organizations will be useful to all recycling entrepreneurs in their region. Some of the forums, for example, are focused exclusively on high growth and high technology companies attractive to venture capital firms. As such, they have rarely, if ever, featured recycling companies. Nevertheless, participation in innovative entrepreneurial and investment events can help recycling business owners and managers learn how they need to strengthen their companies to achieve success and attract capital.

Using the Directory

Note that the names of the events or organizations do not necessarily correspond to this publication’s characterization of their activities. For example, some “venture forums” and “networks” conduct investment meetings as defined above. Many of the organizations listed conduct a range of activities designed to foster entrepreneurial development and private equity investing. The directory descriptions listed below focus primarily on the business finance-related programs. However, it is important to note that participating entrepreneurs, in addition to seeking to identify potential investors, often also benefit by finding service providers or new management members, receiving business and marketing plan feedback, and learning about economic development or governmental programs.

The directory lists organizations and events together geographically since several serve adjacent multi-state areas. The directory sections are sorted by the ten EPA-defined regions for the United States. Within each region, entries are sorted alphabetically by state, and then alphabetically by name of organization or event. The map preceding the directory entries will assist the user in locating areas of interest.

An address and phone number are provided for all entries with a short description. Fax number, email address and internet URL for WWW home page or reference are provided where available. This directory is not exhaustive and lists only those organizations or events for which information was obtained for this publication. New organizations or entrepreneurial services in each region can be identified by contacting the active regional groups listed in the directory. Descriptions in quotes have been excerpted directly from organization brochures or materials.

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