The Tale of the Green Surfboard: Behind the Scenes at Connect’s Cleantech Venture Roundtable

Opinion

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called out of town—leaving me to make the presentation to the selection committee. I was more nervous than visiting the dentist or going to the doctor for a shot, both of which can easily make me pass out. But having our executive team together with some familiar faces from Connect in the audience helped to relieve my anxiety.

Despite my anxieties, my presentation went well. I kept within the time limit and answered product and industry questions with confidence. Several people came up to me afterwards. To my relief, I had several nice discussions, answered questions, and I even got some customer leads. Later that afternoon we learned we were one of five finalists accepted to speak at the Venture Roundtable in two weeks.

The Morrison & Foerster law firm, which was lead sponsor of the Cleantech Venture Roundtable, hosted an educational session for all five finalists that focused on the specific elements that VCs want to see. Terry Moore, who is executive director of MoFo’s Venture Network, told us: “Companies should be prepared with well-vetted and polished top-tier document packages, diligence books, and a clear IP strategy before seeking venture capital.”

After we were selected as a finalist, we rewrote and rebuilt our presentation many, many times. We researched answers for every question that had come up, or might later come up, so we could support every claim we made about our green composites.

The morning of the final presentation, Leif and I were still going over last-minute details. As our team walked into the Venture Roundtable I felt confident we had something that was worthy of the investor’s consideration. We had a new product that would build better composites and it would be better for the health of our planet. I also knew we had a great team and the support of Connect. I was just happy Leif was making the presentation.

[Editor’s note: In the weeks since CEO Christofferson made the presentation, Malama Composites reports the startup now has several promising investor and sales leads as a result of the program.]

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Ned McMahon is the founder and chief operating officer of San Diego-based Malama Composites. Follow @

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2 responses to “The Tale of the Green Surfboard: Behind the Scenes at Connect’s Cleantech Venture Roundtable”

  1. Bill GhormleyBill Ghormley says:

    As a San Diego surfer of a previous generation (the Hobie Alter and Dewey Webber era — Tamarack, Cardiff, Encinitas and Rincoln Point) this is the most exciting news I’ve heard — good luck, Malama!

    Regards, Bill Ghormley