Early Stage East


Early Stage East Venture Conference
June 9th & 10th
Hotel DuPont
Wilmington, Delaware
Located only 20 minutes south of the Philadelphia International Airport

Event Chairs, Venture Ambassadors, & Committees

Honorary Event Chair:
Senator Thomas R. Carper

Born in West Virginia and raised in Virginia, Tom Carper attended The Ohio State University on a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship, graduating in 1968 with a B.A. in economics. After serving as a naval flight officer in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and later as a P- 3 aircraft mission commander, Carper returned to Delaware in 1973 where he earned his M.B.A. at the University of Delaware.

His career in public service began in 1976 when he was elected to the first of three terms as Delaware’s state treasurer. In 1982, he was elected to represent Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives.

After serving five terms as a U.S. congressman, Carper became the 78th governor of Delaware in 1993 and served two terms in that role. As governor, he pursued a common-sense agenda that cut taxes, increased employment and the “rainy day” fund, boosted Delaware’s credit rating to an all-time high, overhauled the state’s education system and helped lead welfare reform initiatives in Delaware and the nation.

On Jan. 3, 2001, Tom Carper became Delaware’s junior senator. With his re-election to the U.S. Senate on November 7, 2006, he has been elected to state-wide public office in Delaware 12 times. When Senator Biden stepped down to become vice president in January 2009, Carper became Delaware’s senior senator.

For the 111th Congress, beginning in January of 2009, Senator Carper gained a seat on the prestigious Senate Finance Committee. He also retained his seats on the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and will continue to chair the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security.

In 2004, Senator Carper was named Deputy Whip — the first time since 1881 that a U.S. senator from Delaware has served in a leadership position. He held this position in the 110th Congress, and again in the 111th Congress, continuing his role as one of the leading voices of moderation within his party, advising the Senate leadership and helping to devise, coordinate and implement strategy for the Democratic caucus.

Additionally, he continues to serve as chairman of the Senate Nuclear Caucus and the Senate Recycling Caucus. Senator Carper is also vice-chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a leading centrist organization formed in the 1980s to promote “New Democrat” messages of national security, economic growth and personal responsibility.

Event Co-chair:
Bruce Luehrs
, Partner
Emerald Stage 2 Ventures

Bruce Luehrs was previously a General Partner of the Edison Venture Fund from 1998 through 2006 and has been a banker, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist for the past 25 years. Bruce has extensive experience with both equity and debt financings and is well known in the Philadelphia area, having served as a past Chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group (now the MAC Alliance) and as an active member of the Mid Atlantic Venture Conference Steering Committee and the Association for Corporate Growth.

Bruce brings a strong track record to Emerald Stage2 and has extensive investment experience in the region, having championed numerous Edison investments in the Mid-Atlantic region including Gain Capital (www.gaincapital.com), Virtual Edge (recently sold to ADP), Fiberlink (www.fiberlink.com), Innaphase (successfully sold to Thermo Electron in 2004), Octagon (www.octagonresearch.com) and Cadient (www.cadient.com). Bruce’s investment activities have been concentrated on financial services information technology (IT), pharmaceutical IT and communications services companies. Over the past 8 years, Bruce has championed investments in 14 companies totaling over $60 million.

Previously, Bruce was Vice President of Columbia Capital, an investment merchant bank in Alexandria, Virginia and a principal at PNC Equity Management and Fidelcor Capital. While at PNC Equity Management, he directed their specialization on wireless telephone service investments. Earlier in his career, Bruce was a commercial lender with Continental Illinois National Bank (Chicago) and Fidelity Bank (Philadelphia). While at Fidelity, he developed a lending and investment practice for Fidelity Bank to serve emerging growth companies in the Delaware Valley. In 1998, he secured a SBIC license for Fidelity Bank and served as the first President of the SBIC unit and Fidelcor Capital.

Bruce was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force in 1975. He received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University following graduation from Duke University with a BA in Economics, summa cum laude.

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