Over 200 entrepreneurs on Friday attended an alternative funding forum, hoping to network with influential investors and learn more about the array of financing tools available for start-ups.
The nearly 12-hour event, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel, featured dozens of panelists who emphasized one message: If you know where to look, there may be funding for your venture.
“We are definitely in a world where the financing approach is changing and more people are getting involved with investment projects,” said Victoria Silchenko, producer of the forum. “In order to succeed we need to know what the rules of the game are.”
At one mid-day discussion, Vivian Shimoyama, regional director for Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program, spoke about that company’s $500 million investment in entrepreneurs.
“It’s about finding businesses that are poised for growth,” she said, adding that the program provided support for businesses over 3 to 5 years.
Others spoke about alternative financing programs available through the government.
Michael Homeier, a founder of Homeier & Law, said his law firm alone had processed about 250 EB-5 projects. Since 2010, he said, his firm has helped businesses raise capital in amounts ranging from $500,000 to $400 million through the EB-5 program. The EB-5 program provides green cards to foreigners who invest in the United States.
On that topic, Silchenko had her own thoughts.
“The government is the number one financier but we don’t know much about the programs,” she said.
According to the Small Business Administration, the federal government allocates upwards of $90 billion in contracts to small businesses, more than the amount raised by both venture capitalists and angel investors.
As additional panelists spoke about angel investing, alternative currencies, and equity crowdfunding, among a variety of topics, one attendee said that he felt the fourth-annual conference was a good use of his time.
“In one day you can come get educated in so many different topics,” said Barry Fay, a consultant from Santa Barbara. “It’s all right here,” he said.