Event History

Early Stage East History

Early Stage East has grown from a single day venture conference to a year round series of events. Read our history to see how we have grown into a successful company that produces sell out events and provides entrepreneurs and investors a meeting place to increase networking opportunities and learning experiences.
Each year since the first Early Stage East Conference we provide a Coaching Session for presenting companies. The Coaching Session is held one month before each Venture Conference to ensure presenting companies of the Conference are well versed and prepared. Participating companies learn strategies from our coaches who are experts in the fields of venture capital and entrepreneurship.

Our best event ever, but don’t take our word for it;” Wow! An empowering educational event “never” lost sight of the entrepreneur thank you.”, said  Patty Cannon, from DEDO. Daymond John, founder and C.E.O. of Fubu and co-star of the hit reality show Shark Tank, delivered a thought provoking keynote message. As a bonus, with special thanks to our partner, Junior Achievement, Mr. John shared his insights with a fascinating group of high school students from Howard, Newark, Glasgow and Cape Henlopen.  Josh Kopelman, Managing partner of First Round Capital was awarded the Sal Buccieri venture memorial impact award and graciously shared his experience with 300 attendees.

Early Stage East Conference was again held in our new home in Hotel DuPont. Over 300 people were in attendance at this event. This year’s chairman was Bruce Luehrs, managing director for Emerald Stage Two Ventures. The Sal Buccieri venture memorial impact reward was presented to Brenda Gaven, co-founder of Quaker Bio Ventures. Anirban Basu provided a breakfast address entitled “looking forward: economic overview for the coming year.” At lunch John Pauling, founder of the risk communication institute, provided the keynote address entitled “Surviving the Entrepreneur Jungle”. Early stage was proud to announce that over 50 percent of our participants from Early Stage East 2008 were funded. As an unscheduled surprise, Her Excellency Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States, joined us as a guest and addressed the crowd about the state of investment in Bahrain. Ambassador Nonoo is the first Jewish Ambassador of an Arab Nation.

Early Stage East moved to the historic Hotel DuPont. The Chairman of this year events were Andre Jones, general partner Boulder Ventures, and Robert Keith Jr., managing director TL Ventures. The Sal Buccieri memorial impact award was presented to Walter “Buck” Buckley and Doug Alexander of Internet Capital Group. The Early Stage East founders’ award was presented to RosAnne Rosenthal of Ben Franklin Technology Partners SEPA. It was announced that the Early Stage East founders’ award would be named the Robert A. Spar Memorial founders Award in honor of our friend and colleague Robert A. Spar. This award will be given out at the Bio-Life-Tech Conference.

This year Early Stage East is proud to be Celebrating 10 years of innovation. To mark this special anniversary David Freschman will not speak. Kelly Perdew, “The Apprentice” will provide the keynote address. Companies that have participated in Early Stage East have raised over $1 Billion in institutional funds.

Early Stage East returned home in 2006 to the DuPont Country Club and Brantwyn Estate. Sam Calagione, Founder & President of Dogfish Head Graft Brewed Alea, provided the opening remarks. Sam Beiler, President & CEO Auntie Anne’s Inc. , provided the keynote address. In addition to their keynote address they brought pretzels and beer. This year marked over 500 companies participating in Early Stage East events and $750 million raised in institutional funding. The winner of the Sal Buccieri venture memorial impact award was presented to Rob McCord, Managing Director for  PA Early Stage Partners. The founders’ award was presented to J. Douglas Hazelton, Executive Vice President for  Bank of America.

For the first time in 2005, Early Stage East was held at Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing.  Daymond John, President and Co-founder for Fubu, provided a sellout crowd with one of the most commanding keynote addresses of all times. By this event companies that had participated in Early Stage East events had raised over $500 million in institutional funding. The Sal Buccieri venture memorial impact award was presented to John Martinso, General Partner, Edison Venture Fund. For the first time in 2005, a woman was awarded the Founders’ award. This year’s winner was Suzanne M. Carney, former Executive Director for MAC Alliance.

2004 Bio-Life-Tech
The 2004 Conference returned to the Hyatt Regency, Baltimore Inner Harbor in October. Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, Director, National Institutes of Health and C. Boyd Clarke, Neose Technologies, Inc, provided the keynote speeches. The opening VIP Reception was held at the Maryland Science Center in the Riverfront.

Early Stage East was lead by two of the most accomplished female Venture Capitalist on the Eastern Seaboard, Andrea Kaufman, Partner for Nowak Biddle Venture Partners and Tami Fratis then General Partner, of Murex Investments. Keynote speaker for the event was Walter S. Mossberg, author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in the Wall Street Journal. The Sal Buccieri Memorial Venture Impact Award was presented to Frank Bonsal, Jr., Co-founder for NEA. The director for Red Abbey Venture Partners, R. Christopher Klemm PH.D., was given the founders Award

2003 Bio-Life Tech
In November 2003 the Bio-Life-Tech Conference moved to Baltimore, Maryland. The Opening Reception was held at Camden Club, Onoles Park at Camden Yards. The Conference was held at the Hyatt Regency, Baltimore. C. Boyd Clarke, President/CEO and Chairman for Neose Technologies, wowed attendees with an amazing keynote speech. Mr. Clarke has an impressive history of leading innovative biotechnology companies. Neose Technologies is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the improvement of protein therapeutics through the application of its proprietary technologies.

By now, companies that had participated in Early Stage East events had gone on to raise over $450 million in institutional funding. The conference was also attracting investors representing an average of over $10 billion in institutional venture capital. The Sal Buccieri Venture Memorial Impact Award was presented to Howard Ross, Founder & Partner for LLR Equity Partners. The Founders Award was presented to Senator Tom Carper of Delaware.

2002 Bio-Life Tech
With all the success of Early Stage East, a new Conference was developed. This year 2002 welcomed the popular Bio-Life-Tech Conference. It was held in the fall at the First USA Riverfront Arts Center in Wilmington, Delaware. This event focused on the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health care industries, whereas Early Stage East focused on internet technology, enterprise software and information technology. The Keynote Speaker of 2002 Bio-Life Tech Conference was Leonard P. Shaykin, Chairman and CEO for NaPro BioTherapeutics, Inc. The Opening VIP Reception was held at the Delaware Technology Park.

For Early Stage East’s Fifth Anniversary, a new venue was unveiled. The conference was held for the first time at First USA Riverfront Arts Center. The opening VIP Reception was held at the Juniper Bank Building where we set Sail aboard the Kalmar Nyckel Tall Ship on the Wilmington Riverfront. Stephen M. Goodman, Partner for Morgan Lewis LLP, received the Sal Buccieri Venture Memorial Impact Award and M. Scott Albert, General Partner for The Aurora Funds, received the Founders Award. Early Stage East adds a Second Venture Capital Conference this year, The Bio-Life-Tech Conference.

This year saw the expansion of more programs to benefit the attendees with Entrepreneurial Education: Building a great business made its debut. This program offers entrepreneurs the chance to learn from the most respected and knowledgeable venture capitalists, service providers, and marketing experts. The Conference was held at the DuPont Country Club. Warren V. “Pete” Musser, Founder for The Musser Group, was presented the Founders Award and Frederick J. Beste, III, Partner for Mid-Atlantic Venture Fund, was presented the inaugural Sal Buccieri Memorial Impact Award.

By the time Early Stage East’s 2000 Conference opened it had earned a highly respected reputation. The investment and entrepreneurial communities were buzzing about the opportunities awaiting them at the Conference. Walter W. Buckley, III, President & CEO, Internet Capital Group, provided the Keynote Address. Matthew Pittinsky, CEO, Chairman &Co-Founder of Blackboard, INC. received the Alumni Award.

This Year then Governors Tom Caper of Delaware and Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania came together at Early Stage East to promote the region as an Entrepreneurial Power House. This year’s keynote speaker was Michael A. Daniels, Chairman of Network Solutions, Inc. Early Stage East’s opening reception was at Longwood Gardens. Although it raised inside the glass conservatory, over 1000 guests were in attendance.

The first Early Stage East Venture Capital Conference was held in June at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware. This was the first time Early Stage East was featured in Tech Capital Magazine. This was the year where Blackboard, (NASDAQ: BBBB) an enterprise software company, presented in seeking their early rounds of funding. Blackboard was the first company to receive Venture Capital  funding through their Early Stage East activities. Blackboard is now one of the world’s leading e-education companies. Over 350 people attended this event when only 250 people were expected. This was when we knew we had the right formula for success.