The Alliance for Community Development (ACD) is a non-profit organization focused on economic community development for low and moderate income communities. The ACD hosted the Bay Area Capital Connections Conference VI: Investing in an Inclusive Economy on October 3rd, 2013, at the Kaiser Auditorium in Oakland, California.
The Alliance for Community Development of Oakland, CA. provides resources and support for Bay Area companies and entrepreneurs with diverse leadership; including women, minorities and disabled veterans.
The first presentation by executive director at The Center for Multicultural Science, Jake Beniflah, Ph.D., spoke of “Market Opportunities in an Economy with a Diverse Majority,” emphasizing the importance of businesses and investors to focus on the multi-cultural market. He revealed statistical trends in the United States of a shrinking white population and a growth of minority groups, especially Hispanic. Beniflah expressed that this multi-cultural majority demographic already existed in major cities and that the strategies of multi-cultural marketing to take advantage of this shift in spending power was exemplified by salsa selling more in the U.S. today than ketchup.
The following panelist discussion titled “Angels, VCs, Crowding Funding: Know Your Financing Options,” was led by a group of investors and entrepreneurs, tackling questions of interest from capitalization strategies, due diligence, ownership, valuation and more.
Panel members from left to right: Kirk Westbrook (Vice President of Technology Banking Group at U.S. Bank), Patrick Sagisi (DBL Investors), Shirley Gee (Keiretsu Forum), Jonathan Mi (Brightpath Capital Partners) and Brahm Ahmadi (Co-Founder and Executive Director of People’s Grocery).
Founder and CEO of the Keiretsu Forum presented “Who Gets Capital,” explaining the process of how the Keiretsu Forum committee reviews, deliberates and selects the pitches that get funded. Of the thirty to fifty considered each month through their process, only two to three make it through to due diligence, leading to the over 400 companies funded with capital of about $500 million between their twenty-seven chapters from California to Istanbul. Some of the features Williams noted the forum considered most favorably included having skin in the game, past investors, entrepreneurial training and fluid execution of the pitch, to name a few.
Finally, the conference stage was opened up to local entrepreneurs to pitch their start-up dreams to the audience and a panel of judges. Hosted by ACD Executive Director, Darlene Crane, the showcase of five start-up hopefuls featured ideas from software and technology to a product line and service. After the votes were tallied, Tom Yeh was the winner of the Double Bottom Line award for Siteler: seeking to bring a mobile car wash industry to the site of the client. The winner of the Audience Choice and Fundability was Pax Pure commercial filtering technology.
Kimberly Morris and Philip O’Connor present Pax Pure, a patented water treatment technology targeting the oil and gas industry and winning the Audience Choice and Fundability award.
We’ve heard time and time again how small-businesses are the backbone of our economy. How have you supported one lately; whether through your neighbor or a dream of your own?
Credits: Images by Gina Kiani. Data linked to sources.