Rally, Noodles Execs to Share Lessons from IPOs with Aspiring Angels

If Colorado’s burgeoning tech industry has a weak link, it’s probably the relatively limited number of angel investors. Individuals and organizations are trying to change that, and many of them will gather this week for the 25th Annual Colorado Capital Conference.

The Rockies Venture Club runs the event, which includes the conference Thursday in Golden and a meeting for accredited investors Friday morning in Denver.

Like most conferences of this type, its goal is to bring together investors and entrepreneurs to make deals. There are 12 startups on the schedule to give their pitches.

But RVC executive director Peter Adams said another focus is to help inexperienced entrepreneurs learn what it takes to successfully raise money for a startup and help inexperienced investors understand how to pick winners.

There seems to be an ever-growing number of events in Colorado for fledgling entrepreneurs, but the emphasis on helping investors is a bit different.

Adams feels the conference is a good tool to help develop Colorado’s base of angel investors by “celebrating [how] exits can be good to help galvanize our community and get the disparate ‘accredited investors’ to become active ‘angel investors.’”

The most useful event for novice investors might come Friday with the meeting in Denver that’s limited to accredited investors. It’s a chance for them to talk about the deals, decide which ones to follow, and start in on due diligence, Adams said.

(For those not up to date with SEC regulations, that means individuals with net worth that exceeds $1 million or income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years.)

The conference’s focus will be on exits—investments that pay off with an IPO or sale—and the authors of Colorado’s biggest recent exits are scheduled to speak at the event. The state has seen two notable IPOs this year, with Rally Software Development (NYSE: RALY) and the Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS) restaurant chain both making their debuts on the public market.

Rally founder and chief technology officer Ryan Martens and Noodles CEO Kevin Reddy are both scheduled to speak about their experiences. The companies raised $84 million and $97 million respectively.

Former LineRate CEO Steve Georgis and former NexGen Storage CEO John Spiers also are schedule to speak. Both companies recorded exits in the $120 million range earlier this year.

The conference seems to have a positive track record for companies that make pitches. According to Adams, about a quarter of the companies that pitch at the conference get funded, and in the past year 40 companies that have worked with the RVC in some capacity (like practicing their pitches) have successfully raised money.

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