Venture Startup & Financing SIG: Early Management at Beebo and Friendster Share Seed Fundraising Tips + Process



  • Early Management at Beebo and Friendster Share Seed Fundraising Tips + Process

    After much thought, you have decided to start a company with a few friends – now what?  Where will the money come from and how do you get to it?   This panel will discuss the process they have seen used over numerous ventures, from both the company side and the investor side.   Areas to be addressed include:

    · Where does very firms money in come from?  What are structures used for founders, friends and family?

    · What is the process for raising from angel investors, and when do you do that?   What are the structures, terms and time frames for the angel community?

    · What about Angelist and other crowd funding platforms, when is that appropriate?

    · How do you build a fundable team? 

    · How to you build the funnel of investors, what is the vetting process there?

    · How do you approach the VC community in a way that will work?  What works best to get into the “known source” referral system?

    · What are the normal terms/deal terms that are now seen for seed/early stage ventures (pre-VC)?  VC?


    Kent Lindstrom, Over the past 2 years, Kent has been COO of Neo Innovation, which he helped build from scratch to be one of the largest independent agile software development firms in the world, with offices on 5 continents.   He has served as a Kleiner Perkins CEO, when he led a turnaround of the social network Friendster, which resulted in its becoming the social network in Asia (and eventually being sold for over $100 million.  Previously he was CFO at Friendster.  He has also served as President of the startups NetRead (an ebook platform); and PlacePop (a mobile application for local businesses).  Previously, he worked in finance at Deloitte & Touche, and holds an MBA from Kellogg. He is  listed as an inventor of the “NewFeed” patent, now owned by Facebook.

    Ben Smith is a Venture Partner with Accelerator Ventures, institutional seed fund based in New York and San Francisco. He has invested in 30 different funds and companies over the past 10 years. Ben joined Wanderful Media as its CEO in 2012 to lead its efforts to grow and serve the audiences of 12 major media companies with local discovery shopping solutions across the web, social, tablets and mobile. Wanderful is backed by $40MM of funding from media companies.

    Ben, left as the President of Reply! Media. Reply! is a high growth profitable company that manages a series of local internet properties and provides leads to local businesses. Ben sold a profitable MerchantCircle to Reply! for a significant return in 2011.  As Co-Founder and CEO of MerchantCircle, Ben built the largest network of local businesses on the web and one of the fastest growing local advertising networks. Ben incubated MC, as an EIR at Rustic Canyon, where he was focused on helping to finance and create companies in new media and software.

    In addition to being the SVP of Corporate Development at Borland through 4 acquisitions. Ben was the original CEO of CodeGear for which he led the separation and startup. Earlier, Ben co-founded Spoke with USVP and couple of great entrepreneurs in 2002. He guided Spoke through 3 rounds of successfully higher financing valuations while establishing a new category with his name on key social patents. Ben remains on the board of Spoke.

    Prior to joining Spoke, Ben served the White House as the Senior Advisor for Strategy and Planning, to the Secretary of Transportation for the period of creating the Transportation Security Administration after 9-11. Prior to this, Ben was a Vice President in EDS's A.T. Kearney management consulting subsidiary, leading the West Coast operations of the Kearney/EDS Venture Development Group. He has advised large leading technology companies on business and marketing strategies. As the one of the youngest partners in the history of Kearney, he was recognized by Consulting News as one of the top 25 consultants in the world in 2002. Ben has also been interim SVP of Sales and Marketing for a $150MM logistics services company and interim CEO of a 60-person Upside 100 software company.

    Jim Scheinman, Maven Ventures, has spent the last 20 years of his career as an Entrepreneur and investor in one capacity or another.  He’s been a founder, executive, angel investor, attorney, mentor capitalist and venture capitalist at many successful Silicon Valley consumer startups.  In January 2013, Jim launched Maven Ventures Growth Labs and Venture Fund in Palo Alto to tap into the massive trend of the groundswell of entrepreneurship; and to scale his successful angel investing business, Maven Ventures, which he founded in late 2008.  Four of his ten investments since 2008 have achieved successful exits and four others are doing extremely well, like Tango which has over 120M members and raised $75M. Jim was one of the early pioneers of social networking as one of the first employees and the head of BD & sales at the first social networking site, Friendster. In 2005, Jim left Friendster to join co-founders Michael & Xochi Birch to launch Bebo as the first employee and Board member. At Bebo, he was integral in launching the site, raising the venture round, leading the strategy and its eventual sale to AOL for $850M in 2008. Jim has a BSc in Neuropsychology from Duke University and earned a JD at the University of California Davis School of Law. Jim gave a TED talk in Long Beach in 2012 and serves as a speaker and startup competition judge at many consumer startup conferences.More information:

    Tom Cervantez, Harvard Angels -  is the founder of the Harvard Angels and Chairman of the Golden Gate Angels, active angel investor groups based in SF/Silicon Valley. 


    6:30 - 7:00 pm  Registration and Networking

    7:00 - 8:30 pm Presentation