We had a great time listening to the 32 companies present and hearing their CEOs put through their paces by the VCs. One CEO confided in me that there are few things that make him sweat these days but being grilled by VCs in front of 100 people is one of them. Another confessed that he was a bit rusty, so the event was good practice for getting out on the funding trail. One more admitted that he didn’t like the feedback but it was good to know and clearly they needed to straighten the kinks in their business model.
Tom Foremski of SiliconValleyWatcher moderated two of the tracks and has some comments about the event here. John Furrier of PodTech was busily interviewing many of the companies, so we can expect to see those out soon. Robert Scoble made a brief appearance at the VIP party on Tuesday and was circling the Microsoft Campus where the event was held. I bumped into several other PR types including Margit Wennmachers from Outcast and Jason Mandel of LaunchSquad. It was also good to meet Sam Whitmore of Forbes and his eponymous Media Survey, who also moderated two of the tracks. Jeff Nolan, who recently left SAP Ventures, has some thoughts about the event on his Venture Chronicles blog. One of the companies – Coverity – was boot strapped and won the audience choice award for its track. The CEO confidently claimed he didn’t want any VC money which caused quite a lot of raised eyebrows and mutterings among the VCs, and wry smiles among the other CEOs.
There was a real sense of optimism and buzz at the event. Scott Dietzen, president and CTO of Zimbra, the AJAX poster child, even claimed ‘the Valley is back’ as he lofted his Innovation Award. Let’s hope he’s right.