By Michael Agin
The members of Kentucky’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem”— investors, company founders, and government policy makers — need increased education to work better, said a nationally known venture capitalist (VC) and author at The Kentucky Angel Investor & Entrepreneur Summit held last Friday.
He also suggested that the leaders he met could make the state a “hub for real entrepreneurs” in 10 years.
Speaking to over 100 attendees gathered at University of Kentucky, Alejandro Cremades, cofounder and executive chairman of Onevest, a leading startup investing platform, was asked, “What else needs to happen to make the entire ecosystem work better?”
“One word: Education,” he replied.
“I think that education is required on all fronts. I think that Angels and VCs, they need to be educated on what it takes to help those companies strive, to help those companies grow. I think education is going to be critical as well for the founders, not only in execution but in how to structure things the right way. I think that education is going to play a critical role in being effective and in being successful in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Cremades, the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising, was the keynote speaker at the 6-hour event, which was organized by SPARK and the Kentucky Angel Investors Network. This event was tailored to investors and entrepreneurs, and featured presentations by trusted local service providers, investors and representatives of angel and VC groups from across Kentucky.
Cremades said education is needed for “everyone in the ecosystem. Education for the entrepreneur. Education for corporations. I heard today an interesting question of what can we do to get the large corporations involved in the ecosystem. There is a lot that they can do,” he said.
“So education for the corporation, education for the Angel investors, education for the VCs. There are a lot of concepts that need to be understood.”
Some of that education happened at this summit. The agenda included the following topics:
• Basics of Term Sheets & Crowdfunding – What do you need to know?
• Snapshot of KY Investment Groups, a panel discussion with representatives of 11 angel investors and VCs.
• What’s it worth to ya? – Consensus thoughts on Valuation (Interactive), a panel discussion made up of angel investors and a startup Chief Executive Officer.
“I am convinced from what I heard here that there are great minds, and a great team of individuals who are executing this,” Cremades said. “I think in 10 years that I’m going to hear that this is a hub for real entrepreneurs.”
The event promoted networking among those attending.
“It’s all about people working together, and you heard a lot about this today,” said Paul Wright, Vice President for Enterprise Development for the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, a group promoting entrepreneurs for Kentucky’s Appalachian region.
Mike Agin is a correspondent for The Lane Report. He can be reached at [email protected].