WPI Venture Forum: Finding the Funds for Fledging Firms

Contact: WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - "Show me the money" became a popular catch phrase of the '90s. Start-up companies echo those sentiments. They require seed money for marketing, manufacturing, assembling a team, physical plant and other growth-related issues. If funding is not available, a new company has little chance of success.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Venture Forum will bring together fund-raising experts to help fledgling companies Tuesday, April 18, at 6 p.m. The program, "Finding the Funds," will take place in WPI's Kinnicutt Hall in Salisbury Laboratories on the Worcester, Mass., campus. Admission is $5 for members and $10 for non-members.

Michael O'Malley, general partner and co-founder of Inflection Point Ventures, will share his 15 years of experience in the venture capital business. Before founding Inflection Point Ventures, O'Malley oversaw the venture capital investment program of MDT Advisers Inc., which manages the pension and profit-sharing plans of Arthur D. Little Inc. He has also been a member of the senior investment team at Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) in Boston.

Inflection Point Ventures provides venture capital and business support for early stage telecommunications, information technology and electronic commerce companies with the potential to generate rapid growth in revenue, profitability and shareholder value. The business focuses on companies seeking their first round of equity financing in the range of $3 to $7 million.

Patrick White, CEO of Sprockets.com, will also speak at Venture Forum. An entrepreneur himself, he recently raised $5 million from venture capitalists.

Sprockets.com is an Internet-based Deadline Management Service. It helps visual media professionals harness the potential of a network to coordinate internal and external resources in producing a project. Based in Boston, Sprockets.com was named a "Hot Pick" by Seybold Boston, one of only 17 companies to receive this distinction in a field of 200 competitors. To win this award a company must create new products, technology or services relevant to publishing and indicative of the industry's future.

Sprockets is the first company of its kind to launch a virtual workspace that supports a project from start to finish. This service features on-the-fly project and team building, shared file workspace, project discussion boards, calendars and whiteboards. This innovative system allows businesses to connect, no matter how close or distant their physical location. A round table discussion with questions and answers will follow the speakers' presentations.

WPI Venture Forum was created in 1990 to promote entrepreneurial spirit and to serve those who engage in technology-based enterprises by providing advice, support and education. It is part of the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in WPI's Department of Management. For more information, call 508-831-5075 or log on to www.wpiventureforum.org.