Peter Balbus Chairs M.I.T. Enterprise Forum Panel on Capital Market Trends and 2006 Forecast

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Futurist and strategic consultant sees indications pointing to start of a new venture capital cycle and predicts higher level of VC investments in late-stage ventures and increased M&A exits for VC-backed companies in 2006.

Peter Balbus, founder and managing director of Pragmaxis LLC, chaired The M.I.T. Enterprise Forum Chicago Chapter Panel Discussion titled “2006 Capital Markets Forecast.” The event, held February 7th at the Chicago offices of Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP, drew an audience of more than 100 business executives, university administrators and government officials.

In his remarks, Balbus stated that increased venture-backed M&A activity, recovering valuations, and renewed fundraising activity by venture capital firms all point toward the beginning of a new venture capital cycle. “We’re already starting to see an increase in VC late-stage deal flow, with IT, nanotechnology and wireless telecommunications companies attracting the most interest,” he noted. He warned, however, that if interest rates move up faster or more sharply than anticipated, this would put pressure on equity markets and have a chilling effect on the M&A market – resulting in a likely decline in VC investment levels.

Balbus is a futurist and management consultant who specializes in technology commercialization, IP licensing programs and channel strategies. Prior to founding his own consulting practice, Balbus held senior practitioner and management positions with Booz Allen & Hamilton, CSC Index and KPMG Strategic Services. He was also the on-air host of The Information Age, a cable TV program focusing on the business impacts of emerging technologies broadcast from New York City on Financial News Network. Balbus holds a B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in chemical engineering and has completed executive programs in corporate strategy and finance at the University of Chicago.

Other members of the panel included:

  • Eric McKissack, President, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer, Channing Capital Management, LLC. He was formerly Vice Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Capital Management, Inc.
  • Terrel Bressler, a managing director for Stout Risius Ross, and an M&A specialist with particular expertise in structuring and arranging private placements of senior debt, mezzanine financing and equity capital for middle-market companies.
  • Timothy Hogan, CEO of Commonwealth Capital Advisors. Prior to founding Commonwealth, he spent 21 years in securities brokerage and investment banking with firms including Merrill Lynch, E.F. Hutton and Shearson Lehman Brothers.

About Pragmaxis LLC

Pragmaxis LLC is a management consulting firm that specializes in technology commercialization, integrated business and technology strategy, channel strategy and both inbound and outbound licensing program development. The firm helps senior executives understand how their industries are likely to change in the next 2-5 years and what steps they should be implementing today to achieve and sustain competitive advantage in the future. The firm provides focused operationalization services to fill the "white space" between strategy and implementation to help ensure achievement of client objectives. Clients range from early-stage start-ups to Fortune 50 corporations. Industries served include nanotechnology, biosciences, manufacturing, logistics and distribution, consumer goods, financial services, high tech, energy, electronics and telecommunications.

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About The MIT Enterprise Forum

The MIT Enterprise Forum is a non-profit volunteer organization that promotes world-class business innovation in Chicago through executive education programs and community connections. The Forum offers provocative new ideas, business cases and professional networking opportunities. The intent of the Forum is to serve as a focal point for senior business leaders to learn, exchange views, enhance their ability to manage innovation and help make Chicago a world-class source of business innovation.

Established in 1987, the Chicago chapter is one of 25 chapters located in major business centers worldwide, which serve the needs of their local business constituencies while showcasing MIT's contributions to innovation and entrepreneurship. Participation and membership is open to all.

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