VF SIG: Incubators, Catalysts, and Accelerators



  • Are these bad words or do they really work?



    Scott Banister (bio), CTO & Co-Founder - IronPort

    (former VP of Ideas, idealab)

    Diana Benedikt (bio) - Venture Consultant

    (former Partner, Artemis Ventures)

    Bob Lin (bio), Managing Member and Co-Founder - Acorn Campus

    Brad McManus (bio), Director - Panasonic Digital Concepts Center Incubator



    Jonathan Abrams, Venture Finance SIG Co-Chair, Founder of Friendster, Sunnyvale Advisors, and HotLinks


    Program Overview

    Incubators, Catalysts, and Accelerators - Are these bad words
    or do they really work?

    The last few years have seen the emergence of new models for new venture formation and funding. These include:

    • “Incubators” like idealab!, which “hatch” their own portfolio companies
    • “Accelerators” and “Catalysts”, which offer interim management or strategic guidance and fundraising assistance instead of, or in addition to, direct funding
    • Brokers such as Garage Technology Ventures

    Many high-profile firms such as idealab!, CMGi, and Divine interVentures have fallen out of grace. At this event, we will explore:

    • Are these new models still valid?
    • Do they work?
    • Are these new approaches more or less relevant in today’s market?
    • How should entrepreneurs deal with these types of firms?
    • What are the future business opportunities for incubators and catalysts


    About the Panelists


    Scott Banister, CTO & Co-Founder at IronPort

    Scott Banister is Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at IronPort. He was founder and VP Technology of ListBot, the largest ASP for business email list hosting. ListBot was acquired and became Microsoft's ListBuilder, part of the bCentral suite of business offerings. After ListBot, Scott spent his time working with other leading start-ups as board member and investor. These start-ups include eVoice, creator of the first email-enabled home voicemail service, that was acquired by AOL in 2001. Scott most recently served as VP of Ideas at idealab!, where he contributed numerous innovations, including the unique bid-for-placement search engine model that powers Overture.


    Diana Benedikt - Venture Consultant

    Diana has consulted with more than 40 notable Internet, software and network equipment companies on strategic finance, marketing, business and infrastructure development issues. As well, she has consulted with early stage private capital firms and established technology leaders including Adobe Systems. Over the years, Diana has helped her clients obtain nearly $100 million from numerous angel and venture sources, ranging from seed stage private equity investment to mezzanine level venture financing. Recently, Diana served as Chief Operating Officer for webPKG, a pioneer in collaborative commerce solutions for global manufacturers and their packaging supply chain partners. Previously, Diana was a partner with Artemis Ventures, a Sausalito-based venture-consulting group. There she helped structure business and revenue models, developed capital acquisition strategies and secured funding for seed and early stage ventures.


    Bob Lin, Managing Member and Co-Founder at Acorn Campus

    Bob Lin, has extensive high tech investment experience with numerous successes as launching investor for companies such as Avanti, AltiGen, LightLogic. Mr. Lin was an early investor in Vertex and GWCom, to name just a few. He started his career with HP as member of technical staff and marketing manager for the disk drive division. Later he developed and managed his own international manufacturing services in Asia and marketing businesses in Europe. For Acorn Campus he is responsible for business development and global marketing, often as an Acorn Ambassador to corporate, entrepreneurial, and VC communities worldwide. He holds an MSEE from UC Santa Barbara.


    Brad McManus, Director at Panasonic Digital Concepts Center Incubator

    Brad has over twenty years of combined experience in building startups and investing in high growth companies. His eight years of finance and operations experience for early stage companies included his serving as CFO and VP Operations for Startups.com (funded by Redleaf and Garage Technology Ventures), an accelerator services company for fast track startup companies. He has also raised tens of millions in funding for venture stage companies. Earlier in his career, Brad managed over $150 million in equity portfolios. The investment focus during those twelve years centered on publicly traded high technology, medical and biotechnology and other high growth companies. Brad earned a BS in finance and economics and a MBA from Northern Illinois University.


    Event Logistics


    Pre-registration is closed. Please register at the door.



    Microsoft Main Campus

    1065 La Avenida, Bldg. 1

    Mountain View, CA


    6:30pm-7:00pm registration/networking/refreshments
    7:00pm-8:30pm program (starts promptly at 7:00pm)

    Note: Latecomers who arrive after 7:20pm will not be admitted to avoid disruption of the session.


    $20 SDForum Members

    $30 Non-Members

    $10 to full-time students (not alumni) with valid ID

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