Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Quick Report from WebInno 22

Web Innovators Group has turned into not just a great place to see demos from early-stage companies, but also a bit of a see-and-be-seen schmooze-fest among developers, entrepreneurs, attorneys, investors, and PR folks. The 22nd edition of WebInno tonight was especially good -- people enjoy opportunities to get out in July, when the event calendar is rather barren.

Here's a quick list of some of the people I bumped into:

HubSpot co-founder and angel investor Dharmesh Shah... Eric Hjerpe, Jo Tango's new kemosabe at Kepha Partners...Michael Gaiss from Highland Capital Partners...PR guru and Emerson College instructor David Gerzof...MyPunchbowl founder Matt Douglas...TechStars Boston kingpin Shawn Broderick, who was wearing a gentlemanly blazer and was gracious enough not to use the 'f' word around me... Akamai co-founder and Globespan managing director Jonathan Seelig... Tom Lewis from Bostonist... UI genius Karen Donoghue...Andreas Randow from the photography start-up Aggarwal from Localytics - a TechStar company that was one of the demo'ers tonight...Wade Roush, who is apparently involved in launching a new social network for recently-released prisoners called Ex-conomy... Evan Morikawa from Alight Learning, an Olin College student currently on HubSpot employee Ryann Price... her beau, Paragon Lake co-founder Matt plate and Tourfilter founder Chris Marstall...WaySavvy Travel founder Michael Raybman...Wellesley High School entrepreneur Mark Bao (aka Steven Bao)...PR dude Chuck Tanowitz...Daniel Weinreb from CommonAngels, who was bragging that he brings more deals to the angel group than just about anyone else...and WebInno organizer David Beisel, hanging out by the side of the stage and talking to all comers for a good hour after the demos ended.

Jeff Yolen, formerly an exec at Sphere and Real Networks, was wearing a nametag that said Vulcan Capital Managament, which of course is Paul Allen's Seattle investment firm. He explicitly told me that I am not allowed to tell you that he is working for Vulcan Capital Management until they issue a press release. So you didn't hear it here... but rather from his public LinkedIn profile, which lists him as a venture partner at... Vulcan Capital Management.

And Alex Lindahl of Acquia told me the best story of the night. While still a student at BC, he was pitching a start-up, TextWorks, to Highland Capital Partners. On the slide presenting the founders' bios, each founder had added a personal detail. Lindahl's was that he could bench-press 370. Highland partner Peter Bell said that part of the VC's job is to validate what the entrepreneur says. And, by the way, there's a gym downstairs. After the pitch, Bell and a few other Highland partners accompanied Lindahl to said gym -- and watched as he added weights up to about 345, before Bell told him he could stop: "I don't want you to hurt yourself."

Highland passed on the deal.

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