Some say the days when venture capitalists could bet big on risky, world-changing companies like Google and Genentech are in the past. The prolonged sluggish period in the U.S. economy has taken a toll, and an estimated one-third to one-half of all venture funds are thought to be slowly going out of business. Many VC firms that remain are relegated to propping up dogs in their existing portfolios, or gravitating toward supposedly safer late-stage investments. Others are making smaller, “micro VC” bets on earlier-stage startups (mostly in tech).
So if VCs are turning gun shy, and this is truly a permanent change in the investment landscape, who will step up to support the most groundbreaking ideas in information technology, life sciences, and clean energy for the 21st century? How will the changing reality of venture capital alter the always-delicate power balance between financiers and entrepreneurs?
We at Xconomy make it our business to dig deep into questions like this in our local communities, and to convene some of the region’s brightest and most respected business leaders to seek real answers. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce a blockbuster event we are organizing here at Xconomy Seattle on the evening of October 28.
This special forum, which we are calling “VC Crossfire,” will gather four of the Northwest’s most successful and candid leaders across the spectrum of IT, life sciences, and clean energy. The conversation will feature Bob Nelsen of Arch Venture Partners, Tom Alberg of Madrona Venture Group, Martin Tobias of Tippr, and Christopher Henney, the chairman of Oncothyreon and the co-founder of Immunex, Icos, and Dendreon. Xconomy’s national technology and life sciences editors (Greg Huang and yours truly) will ask the hard questions of these speakers and invite you to join the conversation. This event will be held in the heart of Seattle’s fast-growing innovation hub in South Lake Union, at Amazon’s new headquarters.
Space is limited, and we anticipate that tickets will get snapped up fast. So if you want to attend, it’s a good idea to get tickets sooner rather than later. I’m personally really excited about this event, and to hear what the speakers and the audience have to say about this important subject. See all the details on how to register. We look forward to seeing many of you there on October 28.