Google, Zynga, Smule, Scoble at VatorSplash

Matt Bowman · December 3, 2009 · Short URL:

Top VCs, industry leaders are throwing support behind Vator's event for early-stage startups

The thrill of working at a startup comes from turning an idea into reality. At Vator, we get to chronicle that process for hundreds of startups, but we also get to experience it ourselves. Most recently, watching VatorSplash snowball from a kitchen-table discussion into an industry-wide event has been a serious kick in the pants.

The idea came from a simple observation. We talk to a lot of VCs at Vator, and pretty much all of them say they invest almost exclusively in companies that come with a recommendation from someone they know. That makes business sense, but it can also make it hard to break into the VC world, and it means investors might miss some of the best startups coming out of the garage.

In one sense, that's why Vator exists--to help companies break into the insidery network of investors as well as broadcast their message. When we sat down to discuss the idea of an event a month ago, we decided the goal should be to help democratize the process of meeting investors and influencers, giving early-stage startups a diving board fit for making a big splash as they get their companies off the ground. As a startup ourselves, we know how difficult it is to get exposure.

The response has been overwhelming—top VCs and investment professionals from Google Ventures, August Capital, Greycroft, Norwest Venture Partners, Ackrell Capital, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and more joined the event roster in a the course of a couple weeks, and over 60 companies entered the competition to present onstage.

Industry leaders have been super supportive. Uberblogger Robert Scoble will join Bambi as co-host, and two of the hottest private companies CEOs in the Valley, Zynga’s Marc Pincus and Smule’s Jeff Smith, will present their secrets to success onstage.

Tickets are going faster than we anticipated, but Vator readers can still reserve a spot while they’re available on our event page. Also, be sure to cast your vote for your favorite company in our VatorSplash competition. Voters are allowed only one unique vote. Then 10 winners chosen by their peers (you) and vetted by judges will give 3-minute pitches onstage. (Yes, we like to keep the presentations snappy.) One overall winner voted by the crowd will be subjected to an American Idol-style review at the end of the event. And you won’t want to miss the afterparty with band Black Mahal, led by Norwest Venture Partner's Tim Chang and joined onstage by VatorNews producer-by-day-and-musician-by-night Meliza Solan.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit



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Smule develops interactive sonic applications for the iPhone and other technology platforms.   Smule is developing the new sonic network, connecting users across the globe through expressive audio.  Smule's Ocarina, I Am T-Pain, and Leaf Trombone have set the standard for iPhone applications, combining innovative uses of the hardware with compelling social experiences. 


Howard Hartenbaum

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Tim Chang

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Tim is a proven venture investor and experienced global executive, and was named on the 2011 Forbes Midas List of Top 100 Dealmakers.

Mark Pincus

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Meliza Solan Surdi

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Jeffrey Smith

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