Exclusive: Entrepreneurs vow to create 1,000 jobs in two days

By the time he was 30, Dan Bliss had started 10 businesses, employing hundreds of people. Now he wants to help other entrepreneurs create jobs.

Bliss is the founder of the Perfect Business Summit, a two-day event held in Las Vegas October 7-8, that brings together top CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors with more than $10 billion in capital. For the second anniversary of the conference Bliss got the participants to commit to creating 1,000 new jobs by spring 2011.

“This is like a two-day economic stimulus,” said Bliss, now 40, who made his fortune running restaurants and concert venues in his native Cleveland, before relocating to Los Angeles nearly a decade ago. “Our event isn’t one of those rah-rah conferences where it’s just a bunch of motivational speakers. We bring real CEOs, real business founders to these events that have done it.”

Virgin Inc. founder Sir Richard Branson was the keynote speaker at last year’s inaugural event and this year Bliss has raised the bar, doubling the number of speakers to 75. That group includes a who’s who of entrepreneurs such as Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Palms Casino founder Gavin Maloof, UStream.TV founder Brad Hunstable, Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues founder Isaac Tigrett, Aaron Patzer, founder of Web-based money manager Mint.com, Gina Bianchini, co-founder of social networking site Ning and John Paul DeJoria, founder of Paul Mitchell salons.

Josh Stein, managing director at prominent venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, will also be among the speakers.

Bolstering our entrepreneurial ecosystem

Peter Cohan and U. Srinivasa Rangan teach at Babson College and are authors of “Capital Rising: How Capital Flows Are Changing Business Systems All Over the World”. The views expressed are their own.

Since the “Great Recession” began, at least 8.5 million jobs have vanished. How will we create new ones? The answer lies in improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE).

Everyone looks to entrepreneurs to create jobs. The Kauffman Foundation found that firms five years old and younger created most of the 40 million jobs in the U.S. between 1980 and 2005.

Hot Prospects: Ken Howery, Founders Fund

– The following profile is an abbreviated version of Venture Capital Journal contributor Deborah Gage’s piece for the the VCJ’s series on “Hot Prospects” within the venture capital industry. –

Ken Howery’s first office after college was in a broom closet at 3000 Sand Hill Road – and no, he wasn’t the janitor. He and his new boss, Peter Thiel, who was running hedge fund Thiel Capital International, wanted a Sand Hill Road address. Even though the broom closet was the only space available, it was still on Sand Hill, and the more prestigious part at that.

“The broom closet was maybe 10 feet wide,” Howery said. “We had a desk, and any time somebody had to go to a meeting, they had to suck in to get out the door.”

Hot Prospects: Alex Kinnier, Khosla Ventures

– The following profile is an abbreviated version of Venture Capital Journal contributor Deborah Gage’s piece for the the VCJ’s series on “Hot Prospects” within the venture capital industry. –

At age 33, Alex Kinnier was rising quickly through the ranks at Google, but he didn’t feel fulfilled. The chemical engineer wanted to help the world with clean technologies. A phone call with popular venture capitalist Vinod Khosla that lasted several hours put him on the path to happiness.

Kinnier took a pay cut to join Khosla Ventures, but he was thrilled to be back in the cleantech arena. When he got the urge to leave to start a company, Khosla talked him into staying and becoming a venture capitalist.

Hot prospects: Top 10 VCs under 36

– Lawrence Aragon is the Editor-in-Chief of Thomson Reuters publication the Venture Capital Journal and compiled this list with the help of his VCJ staff of editors and contributors. –

Let me introduce you to 10 young venture capitalists who are poised to do great things. All of our “Hot Prospects” are 35 years old or younger and all have yet to make their mark in VC.

While you may not be familiar with Chi-Hua Chien, 32, of Kleiner Perkins, Phin Barnes, 34, of First Round, Alex Kinnier, 33, of Khosla Ventures, Ken Howery, 34, of Founders Fund or Ann Miura-Ko, 33, of Floodgate, we’re sure you will be in the next several years.

from DealZone:

Google’s buying binge

GOOGLE/One small acquisition a month, Google chief Eric Schmidt projected last fall when announcing the internet giant was back on the hunt for privately owned firms after a short recession-induced break from buying.

"There may be larger acquisitions, but they really are unpredictable," he told Reuters at the time.

Google has mostly stuck to its plan and even made of few of those riskier big buys. Since Schmidt's revelations, the Web search giant has scooped up everything from small start-ups to much-larger industry rivals such as mobile advertising firm AdMob, a $750 million acquisition that many thought would land Google in an antitrust court battle. Indeed, the company has outpaced itself, buying more than just one firm a month in a few instances.

VCs, meet the new sheriff

Relatives of victims of the June 5 fire at a day-care centre wear angel wings during a protest against federal and local authorities in Hermosillo, in the Mexican state of Sonora. REUTERS/Alonso CastilloMove over venture capitalists, there’s a new sheriff in town: the angel investor.

As VC and private equity firms pulled back from the number of deals they made with entrepreneurs during the recession, it appears angel investors – wealthy individuals funding startups on a much smaller basis – have moved in to pick up the slack.

Last month Fast Company ran a blog titled, “Angel investors more powerful than VCs“, wherein author Brian Javeline, the founder and CEO of MyOnlineToolbox.com, stated angel investors “who used to promote entrepreneurialism have been acting more like traditional VCs.”

Michigan VC’s Top Ten list

Mina Sooch is one venture capitalist who knows how to captivate a crowd.

The chairman of the Michigan Venture Capital Association took a page out of David Letterman’s playbook by introducing her own Top Ten list at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, an annual event hosted by the University of Michigan in the small college town of Ypsilanti, about 20 miles west of Detroit.

Sooch, a managing partner for Michigan-based VC firm Triathlon Medical Ventures, talked about some of the challenges her state faces in getting deals done with entrepreneurs and boosting the amount of VC dollars invested locally. The latest report by the MVCA showed Michigan had fallen slightly from No. 16 to No. 19 overall in 2009 and that overall VC investment had dropped by nearly 50 percent, from $246 million in 2008 to just $131 million last year.

In an attempt to accentuate the positives, Sooch debuted her list of “Top Ten Reasons Michigan Will Succeed”:

A VC’s perspective on healthcare investment

- Dr. Bijan Salehizadeh is a general partner at Highland Capital Partners and focuses on investments in medical device, healthcare services and healthcare information technology companies. The opinions expressed are his own. -

With the passing of the new healthcare reform legislation, there are new-found opportunities to make the healthcare system more efficient with the influx of more than 32 million people over the next several years. With this surge, there will be an inevitable paradigm shift not only for consumers, but also for businesses.

Startups will quickly fuel the healthcare space with new technologies and solutions as the industry looks to aid the expansion of hospitals and health-related companies. For instance, the concierge medicine route is being supplemented with Web-based applications created to access the needs of the consumer while providing businesses key insights so as to foster growth and targeted programs.

VCs invest in fewer startups

So far this year both the number and size of deals by venture capitalists are down over the final quarter of 2009.

A total of 681 deals for $4.7 billion were completed by VCs in the first quarter of 2010, according to a MoneyTree Report released by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers. That dollar amount is down about 10 percent over Q4 2009, but up nearly 40 percent over the same period last year.

Dan Primack, the editor of PE Hub – a Thomson Reuters publication – told Reuters TV the decline from Q4 ’09 was mostly “seasonal” and he expected the numbers to increase over the next quarter, as VC firms secure funding from investors and more term sheets are signed.