At Splash: Future of investing, mobile, etc.

Join Pandora's Tim Westergren, ngmoco's Neil Young, and a host of blue-chip investors

Technology trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
January 31, 2011
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We have a great lineup for this Thursday evening's Vator Splash. If you're an entrepreneur, angel investor, venture capitalist, corporate executive seeking disruptive startups, or bloggers looking to write about the changing dynamics across mobile, social gaming, digital entertainment or early-stage venture capital, then you need to attend.

Besides, it's the only tech conference that has an open wine bar and an afterparty performance by VCs and Facebook and Blippy executives (by day) who turn on their inner rocker by night.

There are a handful of tickets left. Press must email

Hurray. Ticket prices go up tonight at midnight. Get the tickets when you register here.

From gutter to IPO prospect?

Tim Westergren, founder and CSO, of Pandora will be keynoting. He'll talk about how his company pivoted to success, leveraged mobile (Apple's iPhone), and what the future of Pandora looks like. Tim's story should be an interesting tale, given his start. As chronicled in Faith Merino's story: About 10 years ago, Tim "raised $1.5 million in angel funding and named his business Savage Beast Technologies, which initially functioned as a music recommendation service for larger companies like Best Buy and AOL. One year later, the company was broke and investors, devastated by the dot-com collapse, were reluctant to part with their money." Who doesn't want to hear how Tim managed to turn this around? Read our story on how Pandora is a company that nearly joined Napster in the gutter to the prospects of a $100 million IPO.

Additionally, Pandora is one of the startups positioned to go public in 2011. At Splash, you'll have a chance to hear how its future is shaping up as Tim talks about his aspirations for Pandora and its 80 million members. 

A $400 million exit in two years

On the other extreme, we have Neil Young, who started his company in 2008 and sold it two years later for hundreds of millions. Neil Young is founder and CEO of ngmoco, which was sold to DeNA for $400M last fall. He'll be talking about his lessons starting ngmoco and building it to a great exit, as well as the future of ngmoco, DeNA and the mobile entertainment landscape. 

In Ronny Kerr's interview with Neil, you'll get a good handle on Neil's perspective of what's happening in the mobile gaming space. "The whole industry is completely brand new and it’s evolving at an incredible pace. The next set of social games will not be small increments on the last set of social games; there will be radical changes and improvements in how they are played. As we evolve as game makers alongside evolving users, platforms, devices, networks, it’s all up for grabs. And that’s what’s most exciting: we’re at the beginning of a tremendous revolution. We have the opportunity to build companies like that original vision of ngmoco, a future entertainment company."

At Splash, you'll have the opportunity to hear him talk about his start, his exit and his ideas for what will drive mobile entertainment.

Early-stage investing - where is it heading in light of super angels and an IPO boom?

We're also introducing a new panel: "Changing dynamics in early-stage investing: Are super angels here to stay?" They'll explore how funding and exits have changed, which technologies they're investing in and how the prospects of an IPO boom is allowing them to be more aggressive. Given the rise of the super angels funding tomorrow's rock stars, and now Bullpen - a super angel follow-on fund, we thought this would be of interest to investors and startups.

The VCs onstage include:  Duncan Davidson, co-founder, managing partner, Bullpen Capital (moderator)
John O'Farrel, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz), Tod Francis, Partner, Shasta Ventures, David Hornik, Partner at August Capital, Joe Kraus, Partner, Google Ventures, David Thacker of Greylock, Jed Katz, Managing Director at Javelin Venture Partners, Thomas Korte, co-founder of AngelPad, Jay Jamison, Venture Parnter, at BlueRun Ventures, Raj Kapoor, Managing Director at Mayfield, Saad Khan, Parnter at CMEA, and Tim Chang, Partner at Norwest. Our emcee for the top 10 finalists is Ezra Roizen, digital media investment banker at Acrkell Capital.
Top 10 promising startups onstage

What's Vator Splash without the startups of the future in attendance? As always, the top 10 startup finalists that have emerged from our online competition will be onstage giving each a three-minute pitch. We can't tell you who they are. But let's just say they're startups that are worth watching. Some of our winners and finalists have gone on to make some great progress with their financing. Recently, Cohuman - one of 10 finalists at Vator Splash September - raised $600,000 in financing, Udemy - the winner of Vator Splash May - raised $1 million last fall and LawPivot - a semi-finalist at Vator Splash September - recently raised $600,000. 
We'll also have about 25 demo companies presenting their services. Many of these companies are also young and just out of the gate.
Finally, Coverflow is always fun to watch as the band consists of some very high-profile VCs and Facebook executives. Cover Flow stars Mayfield's Raj Kapoor, Norwest's Tim Chang, Blippy's Phil Kaplan, Facebook's Prashant Fuloria and Ethan Beard, and the newest member Daniel Kraft. Additionally, the Mule from Smule will give a special performance. 

And, of course, we'll have many high-tech influencers in attendance from Alsop Louie, Band of Angels, Bessemer, Canaan, Claremont Creek Ventures, Crosslink, DFJ, First Round, Hummer Winblad, IVP, Jafco Ventures, Launch Capital, Lightspeed, Reed Elsevier Ventures, Rustic Canyon, Scale Ventures, and more!

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

Law Pivot Inc.
Description:   LawPivot ( is a legal Q&A website that enables companies, especially startups, to confidentially rece...
Description:   Udemy is a website that enables anyone to teach and learn online. Udemy tries to democratize online education by making it fast, e...
Description: Cohuman is the simplest most powerful way to keep your team in sync. Easily delegate, prioritize and track tasks with all your teams. It ...
Bio: Working on next project. Founded ngmoco in 2008, 25+ Top 5 Apps, first company to have top grossing free-2-play iOS titles & Pl...
Bio: Duncan is a serial entrepreneur turned venture capitalist who co-founded Bullpen Capital, a seed fund which focuses on the "pos...
Bio: Advisor-to and commenter-on emerging ventures
Bio: Tim is a proven venture investor and experienced global executive, and was named on the 2011 Forbes Midas List of Top 100 Dealm...
Bio: Tod Francis is with Shasta Ventures. He focuses his investing activity on early stage companies that leverage technology to im...

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