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Venture-Ready Founders Can Meet Investors and Venture Capitalists At Innovate Pasadena Event Tuesday

Published on Monday, October 10, 2022 | 5:00 am

Not exactly ‘Sharktank’ — the television show where investors would interview entrepreneurs hunting for capital — but an Innovate Pasadena’s ‘invited discussion’ Tuesday will likely be very instrumental for those early stage venture-ready founders who make the grade and get invited.

‘Fundraising in Today’s Market: An invited discussion with VCs for venture-ready founders’ is part of Innovate Pasadena’s annual seven days of Connect Week in-person and online innovation events this week.

The events center around innovation in technology, science, art and design, and entrepreneurship.

Tuesday’s invited discussion program will help “venture ready founders meet venture capitalists who can fund their business,” said Eric Eide, Managing Director of the Alliance for Southern California Innovation.

To get an invite to this panel on Tuesday, Oct. 11, Pasadena entrepreneurs will need to apply to the SoCal Venture Pipeline program that the Alliance for Southern California Innovation operates. The panel starts at 5 p.m. Information about the venue will be provided to those who apply.

Eide said one thing true about venture capital is that there’s not enough transparency about it, how it works and how to get it.

“So this is particularly important for first time entrepreneurs,” he said. “They don’t know what they don’t know. And if you don’t have enough knowledge, it’s going to be difficult to be successful in raising venture capital.”

He added some groups have better access into the venture capital community because they have networks that are often based on where you went to school, your race and your social circles. The event and other programs that the Alliance runs are geared towards entrepreneurs that don’t tend to have that access to networks.

“There’s a lot of founders out there that don’t know enough to raise venture capital and don’t have the networks to get in front of those people so investors can hear their ideas and what their business plans are,” Eide added. “And this event really aims to provide both of those.”

This intimate, invitation-only panel discussion and networking event will feature VC panelists from Bonfire, Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health, and Morphous, who invest in a range of technologies from SaaS and software, to healthtech and medtech, to finance and robotics.

Among the panelists on the schedule are Brett Queener, Partner and Managing Director at Bonfire Venrtures; Jay Goss, General Partner, Wavemaker 360 Health; Howard Ko, Partner at Morpheus Ventures; Kenji Funahashi, Partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati; and Mark diTargiani, SVP for Startup Banking at Pacific Western Bank, who will be moderating.

The SoCal Venture Pipeline program is a multi-year project that the Alliance for SoCal Innovation launched in 2021 with Pacific Western Bank as lead sponsor. The SVP program is completely free for the startups and investors who participate.

Startups based in SoCal region who apply to be in the SVP program undergo a rigorous screening process by a team of investment professionals before being accepted into the program. Once accepted, they are further vetted before receiving highly targeted personal introductions to appropriate investors in the Alliance’s extensive and growing network of venture capital partners.

Since last year, over 250 startups have applied to the SoCal Venture Pipeline program, and 31 of them have been accepted and connected to investors, advisors, and additional capital resources. As a result of the program, several startups have secured venture funding and more success stories are in process.

Interested Pasadena entrepreneurs will need to submit an application through in order to get an invite.

“I think historically there’s always been great science discoveries developed right here in Pasadena with Caltech and JPL and all the kinds of technologies that those institutions helped spawn off,” Eide said. “But I think we haven’t always had enough connectivity. And that was really the purpose of Innovate Pasadena: to try to get more people connected that were working on similar problems but didn’t even know each other because founders and innovators can learn so much from each other. And it’s hard work.”

“Fundraising in Today’s Market” is part of ConnectWeek Pasadena – seven days of innovation events that started on Oct. 7.

For more about ConnectWeek, visit

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