In May 2011, Octane sponsored a major funding/venture capital event at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, CA called VC in the OC. It was a huge success and brought together investors and start-up companies from Orange County and surrounding areas. The forum involved keynote speakers, discussion panels, and booths. Don Kloos of DeviceLab, Orange County, attended the event and had the following to say: “The event is an ideal way for small business and start-up companies with innovative ideas to make presentations to venture capital groups. In all, there were about 15 companies presenting. Products and services were primarily in the high-tech or medical device industries. Booths showcased service providers as well as technology products and innovations.”
Keynote speakers at the event included:
- William Wang, Founder and Chief Executive of VIZIO, Inc. The company was founded in 2002 by Mr. Wang, Laynie Newsome, and Ken Lowe with the idea that everyone deserves to own the latest technology. Eight years later, these three founders are still hard at work, and taking entertainment freedom by storm! By providing a myriad of high definition entertainment options and unmatchable value, VIZIO has grown to over 160 employees and remains the first American brand in over a decade to lead in U.S. LCD HDTV sales.
- Mark Stevens, a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital in Menlo Park, CA. In 1989 Stevens joined the firm and began to concentrate his talents on semiconductor, software, and systems-related investments. Over the years, he became a rising star on Forbes magazine’s Midas List of top 100 venture capitalists, climbing as high as 10th place in the ranking. Along with the firm’s voting partners, Stevens is responsible for some of the high tech industry’s most successful investments: Google, Yahoo!, NVIDIA, YouTube, and others. In 2004, he donated 22 million dollars to USC and to help found the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation to develop a new model for innovation at a major research university.
Attending events like VC in the OC is important for a number of reasons:
- Motivates the inventor to continually pursue new technologies/products/ideas
- Encourages healthy exchange of ideas
- Provides opportunities to present products and services to potential investors
- Establish contacts in a particular marketplace/industry
“Of particular interest to DeviceLab were the companies presenting medical devices. We were able to provide these entrepreneurs with helpful advice on product development, patents, marketing, and so on,” said Vu. “For the small business, an event like this might be the stepping stone needed to bring their idea to development, and eventually to market.”