What are the biggest global events for Venture Capitalists and Business Angels where they can learn about their own business?
There are surprisingly few such conferences, for the very good reason that there are actually relatively few such people (venture capitalists and ‘professional’ angel investors) to attend them! But that said, here are the biggest (i.e., “only” events of their type):
Angel Capital Association (US) Annual Summit
This is the big one, which rotates among different cities in the US each year. Leaders and active members of all the major North American angel groups attend this three day conference, along with a large delegation of international business angels. Sessions are all about how to improve angel investing and manage angel groups, as well as connecting with other industry players and getting technical presentations. The first day is full of optional educational seminars from The Power of Angel Investing series, developed by the Angel Resource Institute.
EBAN Annual Congress
The European/International counterpart to the ACA Summit, the annual EBAN Congress rotates among different countries in Europe. It has a similar format, with a focus on European and cross-border business angel investing, and a somewhat greater focus on governmental support of angel investing. There is probably a 25% overlap in attendance between the two conferences, with the leaders of the largest North American and international angel groups (known as BANs in Europe) typically attending both.
NACO National Angel Summit
The third of the big three conferences is the Canadian counterpart to ACA and EBAN conferences, which is getting bigger each year. Again, there is a good overlap between the NACO and ACA Summits, with a number of leading American angels journeying north for this one.
Since each of these conferences is a once-a-year event, ACA and EBAN also hold smaller events at the other end of the year, typically focusing on education and leadership training for the most active of their angel group leaders. These are theACA Leaders Workshop and the EBAN Winter University.
Further down the scale are the regional events that the organizations put on, which usually combine regional investment syndication with classes and tutorials. The group’s respective websites list these events.
NVCA Annual Meeting
The big one for VCs is the annual meeting of the National Venture Capital Association. Usually two or three days, the speakers are mostly major venture partners talking about issues facing the industry, such as regulatory, fundraising, returns, etc. There are breakout seminars on educational topics, and lots of networking. In many years, NVCA and ACA will schedule their respective annual conferences in the same city on adjacent days, so that attendees can go to both.
Other than the NVCA meeting, there are a wide range of local and regional venture capital associations that serve as meeting points for investors in a given area. These groups will typically have annual forums at which investors hear pitches from entrepreneurs, although they might also have the occasional educational panel about current trends and practices. A calendar of many of these is available from the NVCA website: NVCA and Industry Events
Both Angels and VCs
This invitation-only event, which premiered in New York this year, is the first conference to specifically target both serious angel investors and early stage venture funds. I’m completely biased because I chaired it, but the feedback we received from the participants was universally positive, and this will be an annual event going forward. The focus was not so much on the mechanics of investing, than it was an in-depth participatory discussion of where the venture/angel industry is going, and what strategies smart investors should use to adapt.
In addition to the events listed here, there are hundreds of other investment-related events that self-describe as “summits”, “forums”, “conferences” and the like. But for the most part these are pitch events, rather than ‘places for VCs and Angels to learn about their businesses.
*original post can be found on Quora @ http://www.quora.com/David-S-Rose/answers *
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