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During the late 1990s, San Francisco's Financial District was the center of tech investment banking, with boutique investment banks based in the city executing IPOs for many technology companies that later became household names.
But at the end of the decade, storied firms like Robertson Stephens, Hambrecht & Quist and Montgomery Securities were acquired by big New York firms.
Sensing an opportunity, Michael Moe, former head of research at Montgomery and later at Merrill Lynch, founded ThinkEquity Partners in 2001.
Launching the company into the teeth of the worst bear market in a generation wasn't great timing, as Moe admits in his Vator.tv pitch here.
But the firm persevered, and now has offices all over the world and has helped raise more than $40 billion for fast-growing tech firms, which Moe calls, "the stars of tomorrow."
He had been among the first analysts to tout Starbucks' stock in the 1990s and has written a book titled "Finding the Next Starbucks."
Recently, ThinkEquity hosted its fifth annual growth conference, called G5, for 4,000 institutional investors.
In this interview, shot in Michael's office in the Transamerica Pyramid high above downtown San Francisco, Moe talks about the big themes of the conference.
Among them are Web 2.0, open source software, on-demand SaaS, green technology, which "will be gigantic," and another theme called "the phone is my life," in which Moe explains how the phone is to his children's generation what the car was to his parents'.
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