Band of Angels’ Mentoring Event Series Proves Popular Among Entrepreneurs; Group Sees Enormous Demand for Mentor Expertise Among Startups

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The Band of Angels will be hosting its 8th Mentor Day for Startups next month. The popular event series provides a unique opportunity for seed-stage companies to improve business and fundraising strategies.

The comments and feedback we received in 40 minutes were as substantive as all the comments we had received in three weeks of fundraising activity prior to this event.

The Band of Angels, Silicon Valley's legendary angel group, will be hosting a Mentor Day for Bay Area Startups on October 26, 2012 at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus. The event provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to meet with and get feedback from accomplished professional angel investors. These Band member mentors are former or current operating officers of many of the companies that made Silicon Valley famous, and are motivated to help entrepreneurs benefit from their experience.

"The Band prides itself on offering Expert Capital and Venture Counsel," said Ian Sobieski, Managing Director of the Band. "Our mentoring events, which we hold several times a year, are emblematic of our commitment to entrepreneurs in our community. We are pleased to have Microsoft as our sponsor and partner for this event series. And I'm especially pleased that surveyed attendees overwhelmingly reported that the session had improved their business and fundraising strategies." As one participant reported in an anonymous survey completed after the last event on August 20th: "The comments and feedback we received in 40 minutes were as substantive as all the comments we had received in three weeks of fundraising activity prior to this event. The feedback coupled with the networking here made this event very worthwhile for us."

The event in October will be the Band’s eighth mentoring event in an ongoing series the group has hosted since its Software Special Interest Group launched the program in late 2010 under the leadership of Band Member and Software SIG Chairman Ronald Weissman, active in the venture community and a former high technology executive and university professor. Mentors meet individually with company founders or CEOs to provide expert advice on business and fundraising strategy. The event is free of charge.

The same attendee survey indicated the value of—and the need for—expert mentoring, even in a community long recognized for its rich tradition of startup advising. One attendee commented that while there is plenty of "lip service and big words about mentorship, the Band showed genuine interest in providing one-on-one training, learning and personal attention." Another entrepreneur said, "this was an awesome event." 85% of the attendees said they would recommend the event to a colleague. Demand for this mentorship exceeds supply, of the more than 120 companies that applied to participate in the previous Band Mentor Day (held on August 20th), sixty-three were selected to attend the event.

Last month, the attending companies were a mix of those familiar (40%) with and those new (60%) to angel capital. Participating companies reflected the diversity of Silicon Valley innovation and the broad interests of the Band. Biotech or healthcare companies made up 11% of attendees, 21% were enterprise software software entrepreneurs and twice as many (43%) had consumer-facing software or internet applications. The balance were from Cleantech and physical products companies.

About the Band of Angels
Founded in 1994, The Band of Angels is Silicon Valley’s oldest seed capital investment group and serves as a model for Angel investing worldwide. The Band’s 145 members are current or former high tech, life science and clean tech executives with strong track records in building market-leading firms.

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Nicola Corzine
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