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Success Stories from Past Early Stage East Events

DataFlux". . . [we] raised a Series A round from The Aurora Ventures Fund in early 1999 and was acquired in an all-cash deal by SAS Institute in June 2000. Our presence at Early Stage East contributed a great deal to our success." - Bob Brauer

Internet Publishing Group, Inc. "We closed $3 million in funding after the conference." - Craig O. Allsopp

ExpertCall.com "It does work. We got two serious offers after the 'adventure' at the Early Stage East event." - Boaz Bilberman

TenderySys.com Inc. "After our Early Stage East presentation, three VCs have asked for our business plan." - Prabhat Garg

AnswerLogic, Inc. ". . . the term sheet was signed the first week of August, less than 3 months after ESE. We got our first choice VC, who decided to invest after seeing us in action at Early Stage East . . . a great opportunity to generate a lot of buzz in a short time . . . ESE organizers do a great job of coaching presenters." -Jamie Hamilton

Aatlas Commerce "ESE was a great platform to develop contacts for when we were ready to release the plan." -Dan Tiernan

Smart Button Associates "We were extremely pleased with the publicity we received as part of Early Stage East. Not only did we speak with most of the top venture capitalists inthe area, but we also received national TV exposure after being chosen to appear on the PBS show Money Hunt. It is the only show I know of that focuses on the early stage segment. I have been involved in technology startups for the last ten years and have not been to a better venture fair." -Phil Sugar

Blackboard Inc. "Early Stage East was monumental to Blackboard's success in getting Blackboard before a first-tier community and in raising our first formal round of financing. We met two of our three current venture partners at Early Stage East, all who provide unprecedented value over and above the financial support and vote of confidence." -Andrew H. Rosen

Customer Insites, Inc. "We just closed our seed funding round with principals that we met at Early Stage East . . . and we have been in discussions since. Early Stage East was instrumental in launching our funding campaign." -Leslie A. Williams

PurePower Company, Inc. ". . . we did exhibit and received interest from Venture Capital and investment firms. Beyond our wildest expectations. . . . we mailed out updated business plans to 11 firms . . . a VC firm in Princeton agreed to take a secondary position for 25% of the $1.6 million we seek." -Robert R. Radcliffe

Step 9 Software Corporation "This was an excellent overall VC marketing tool." -Mark R. Merrick

Microplate Automation "At least five funds we had not worked with before expressed strong interest when they came by the booth. I would expect there will be a few more to contact us over the next few weeks. That far exceeds any other event I have attended." -Paul Hensley

Cera Products "…I had a wonderful time at your conference. We have had three calls so far." -Charlene Riikonen

Predictive Systems Engineering, Inc. "We have been very pleasantly surprised at the interest generated in PSE by some quality groups who met us at ESE" -Jim Kleinburd

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Press Releases

Early Stage East brings Star power

Delaware Economic Development Office, Press Release, June 16, 2000, "Early Stage East Selects Four East Coast Technology Companies as "Most Likely to Receive Venture Funding"

Press Clippings

News Journal, March 17, 2002, "The Best in the Business: Technology"

News Journal, March 1, 2002, "Venture Capital Fair to boost local biotechs"

Bizbites, Fall 2001, "News from the Delaware Economic Development Office"

News Journal, June 14, 2000, "Bright Ideas, High Hopes at the Fair"

Philadelphia Business Journal, June 9, 2000, "Hopefuls to Seek Funding at Venture Fair"

Delaware Today, June 2000, "Capital Improvements"

Inc. Magazine, April 1, 2000, "Seven Entrepreneurs in Search of a Deal"

The Jewish Voice, July 16, 1999, "Governor's Trade Mission Trades in Diplomacy"

Philadelphia Enterpriser, May/June 1999, "Touched by an Angel"

Philadelphia Business Journal, May 21, 1999, "Internet Invaders - Kennett Square not just for mushrooms anymore"

Entrepreneur, October 1998, "Fair Game"

The News Journal, June 1998, "Firms Seek Their Pot of Gold"

Honorary Award Winners

Sal Buccieri & Founders' Awards

The Sal Buccieri Venture Memorial Impact Award

The Sal Buccieri Memorial Venture Impact Award is awarded to an individual in the venture capital and entrepreneurial community who exemplifies the passion towards seeing early stage entrepreneurial opportunities succeed and flourish. This individual is one who has clearly impacted early stage technology and fast growth venture opportunities by providing the essential capital, extensive counseling and necessary vision to allow such companies to win in today’s competitive environment. The recipient of this Award is one who strives to create a better environment for all so that entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and attain success. This award is bestowed upon an individual who goes beyond what is considered the norm in creating and supporting a community conducive for such early stage companies. He or she is one that is clearly identified with the early stage entrepreneurial community and is regarded in the highest professional, ethical and human regard.

The Sal Buccieri Memorial Venture Impact Award is named in memory for Salvatore Buccieri. Sal passed away in December 2000 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was 39. Sal was a partner at Arthur Andersen in the Growth Company Practice that he joined in 1984 after graduating from Drexel University. He worked extensively throughout his career assisting early stage companies with financial and business issues. Sal was closely involved with Early Stage East and is missed by all.

2003 Recipient – Howard Ross

Howard Ross is a founder and currently a partner in LLR Equity Partners, L.P., a $260 million private equity fund. From 1984 to October 1999, he was a partner at Arthur Andersen LLP, in-charge of that firm’s Growth Company Practice in the Greater Philadelphia marketplace. Mr. Ross holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated summa cum laude. Howard currently serves on the Boards of CyberShift, Inc., excelleRx, Inc., InnaPhase Corporation and Taratec Development Corporation.

2002 Recipient – Stephen M. Goodman

Stephen M. Goodman is a partner in the Business and Finance Practice of the Philadelphia office of Morgan, Lewis LLP and is co-chairman of the firm's worldwide Technology Practice Initiatives. His legal practice focuses on representing emerging growth companies. He coordinates all aspects of the representation of such companies and concentrates his practice on legal aspects of corporate finance and acquisitions.

Mr. Goodman has served as a member of the Advisory Board to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Goodman served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. and Chief Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after receiving his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

2001 Recipient – Frederick J. Beste III

Fred Beste has never had a real job. His career began in 1968 with Greater Washington Investors, Inc., a publicly-held venture capital firm, where he was Vice President and Treasurer. He then joined Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, a private venture, capital development firm, where he was Vice-President and, ultimately, President and Chief Executive Officer. He joined Mid-Atlantic Venture Fund in 1984 as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of its first general partner. During the course of his career, Mr. Beste has served on the boards of directors of dozens of companies, and has advised and worked with thousands of entrepreneurs. He has been widely published on the subjects of venture capital and entrepreneurship, and has done extensive public speaking on both subjects as well. He was the Inaugural Honorary Chairman of Early Stage East, Chairman of the 1994 Mid-Atlantic Venture Fair, and the recipient of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group's 1995 Blair L. Thompson Memorial Award for career achievement. Mr. Beste received his B.A. in Economics from Stetson University.

The Early Stage East Founders’ Award

The Early Stage East Founders’ Award is awarded to an individual who has shown outstanding commitment, leadership and support of the venture capital community as a whole. This individual is committed to the growth of the overall venture capital community and has shown a belief in and commitment to this region in the development of venture capital and entrepreneurial activity.

2003 Recipient – Senator Thomas Carper

Tom Carper became Delaware’s junior Senator in January, 2001, this after serving two terms as the state’s Governor, five terms as it Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives and six years as State Treasurer. As Senator, he has become a member of the Senate Democratic Leadership. As a member of the four person “Executive Committee” Senator Carper has emerged as a leading moderate voice in his party, advising the Leader and helping to devise, coordinate and implement strategy for the Democratic caucus. As Governor, Senator Carper balanced the state budget eight years in a row, created record levels of jobs, and dramatically reduced the growth of state debt, earning Delaware its first-ever “AAA” credit rating. Before being elected Governor, Tom Carper was elected to and served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a Congressman, he chaired the House Subcommittee on Economic Stabilization and was a member of the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee and the Merchant marine and Fisheries Committee. As Treasurer, Senator Carper began his solid record of financial responsibility. He developed Delaware’s first cash management system and played a key role in improving the state’s credit rating from worst in the nation to a respectable “AA” rating. Senator Carper served in the Navy for five years as a Naval flight officer during the Vietnam War. He retired from the Naval Reserve after 18 years as a Captain. Senator Carper has been a part of Early Stage East, in both his roles as Governor and Senator since it inception.

2002 Recipient – M. Scott Albert

M. Scott Albert has been involved with Early Stage East as the conference’s North Carolina Ambassador since its inception in 1998. Mr. Albert, with over ten year experience in the venture capital industry, is currently responsible for most of the information technology investments as General Partner of The Aurora Funds Inc. Mr. Albert is the co-founder of The Aurora Funds, a leading venture capital fund located in North Carolina investing in early stage life science and information technology companies, primarily in the Southeastern United States. Previously, he was the Chief Investment Officer of the North Carolina Technological Development Authority, Inc. ("NCTDA"), a state funded corporation that supports technology-based entrepreneurial companies in North Carolina where he led the new venture investment efforts and performed portfolio company monitoring for their extensive statewide portfolio. Prior to serving at the NCTDA, he was at Criterion Venture Partners in Houston, Texas, as a General Partner for a $30 million pool of capital. In addition, he has served as President of a venture-backed start-up company.

2001 Recipient – Warren V. “Pete” Musser

Warren V. “Pete” Musser is Founder and former Chairman of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE). Mr. Musser led Safeguard Scientifics since its inception in 1953 and has helped guide hundreds of companies towards success. He has both financially and with his time and energy supported community activities, education, and the arts. Mr. Musser serves on a variety of civic, educational and charitable boards of directors including Boy Scouts of America, The Eastern Technology Council, and as chairman of the Pennsylvania Partnership on Economic Education.

Honorary Chairmen Emeritus

Early Stage East

2003: Branda R. Gavin, Managing Partner, QuakerBio Ventures
2003: Donald Franceschini, retired Vice Chairman and Director of Sara Lee Corporation

2002: E. Rogers Novak, Jr., Co-Founder, Novak Biddle Venture Partners
2002: Jamie Hamilton, President, Corlante, Inc.

2001: Frank Bonsal, Co-Founder & General Partner, New Enterprise Associates
2001: Josh Kopelman, President & Founder, Half.com

2000: P. Kevin Kilroy, CEO, Bluestone Software (sold to Hewlett Packard)
2000: John Martinson, Managing Partner, Edison Venture Funds

1999: Warren V. "Pete" Musser, Founder, Former Chairman, CEO, Safeguard Scientifics, Inc.
1999: Steve Walker, Founder, Trusted Information Systems / Steve Walker Associates

1998: Frederick J. Beste III, Founder, CEO MidAtlantic Venture Funds
1998: Richard W. Vague, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Juniper Bank


2003: P. Sherrill Neff, Managing Partner, Quaker BioVentures

2002: Frank A. Bonsal , Jr., Founding Partner, New Enterprise Associates
2002: Russel Gantt, VP Head of North American Licensing, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP

Award Recipients

Bio-Life-Tech 2003:

Best Presenter: Advanced Vision Therapies
People's Choice: Hamilton Thorne Biosciences, Inc.

Early Stage East 2003:

Best Presenter: V I Laboratories
Best Exhibitor: Advanced Fibers & Powders
People's Choice: Celcorp Inc.

Bio-Life-Tech 2002:

Best Presenter: PlantGenix, Inc.
Best Exhibitor: Cera Products, Inc.
People's Choice: Morphotek Inc.

Early Stage East 2002:

Best Presenter: Netilla Networks, Inc.
Best Exhibitor: Improv Technologies
People's Choice: Leveller LLC

Early Stage East 2001:

Best Presenter: AperServ Technologies
Best Exhibitor: BidMaster
People's Choice: Royer BioMedical, Inc.

Early Stage East 2000:

Best Presenter: Airput.com, Inc.
Best Exhibitor: Lighthammer Software Development Corporation
Money Hunt Selected Company: UWapIT.com
People's Choice: IPGDirect.com

Early Stage East 1999:

Money Hunt Selected Company: Smart Button Associates
Best Presenter: Justballs!

Early Stage East 1998:

Best Presenter: Blackboard, Inc.

Alumni Award Recipients


Dataflux - 1998 Presenter

Reliacast, Inc. - 1999 Presenter


Blackboard, Inc. - 1998 Presenter

Click here for a complete list of Early Stage East alumni companies

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