The Power of an Alumni Network: Dundee Founder’s Day 2013

In the past year, we’ve invested in more than a dozen companies. Each with tenacious founders that have a specific vision for their companies. And, each of whom has learned a tremendous deal since first launching their businesses and becoming our partners.

Recently, we gave them a forum to share those learnings with other Dundee alumni: Founder’s Day.

(Oh, and they got to pitch their business to more than 4 dozen potential funders.)

Founders from seven of our portfolio companies flew and drove to Omaha for a mindshare event exclusive to Dundee Venture Capital alumni.

The goals were simple: create a trusted network of founders who have dealt with or are grappling with many of the same challenges in business development; and get them in front of another set of investors that could help propel their businesses forward.

The founders from Bulu Box, MindMixer, Whimseybox, DivvyHQ, ABPathfinder, Leap2, and DonorPath shared freely about their current business status, what it’s taken to get there and where they’re going. And, what they fear may stand in their way.  Dundee VC Founder Mark Hasebroock led the discussion with some tough, probing questions, true to form.

Nathan Preheim (MindMixer) discussed the benefits of offshoring vs. in-house development; Brian Lauterbach (DonorPath) and Nick Bowden (MindMixer) discussed building their sales teams with their existing structures and incentive programs; Brock & Brody (DivvyHQ) discussed the 14 day trial vs. the 30 day trial; Paul Jarrett (Bulu Box) and Alicia DiRago (Whimseybox) discussed building an e-commerce platform on Magento vs. building from scratch; Kelly Kerns (ABPathfinder) discussed the need for developing the right customer service program; and on and on. 

After the alumni mindshare, founders regrouped and went into pitch mode. We were grateful to have more than 50 investment partners from the Mercury Fund, Arthur Ventures, Nelnet, Silicon Valley Bank, NE Angels, Linseed Capital, OpenAir Equity Partners, the Gopher Angels and Confluence Capital to name a few.  Many of the investor conversations are progressing – a huge win for our founders and we’re sure a huge win for their potential new investors.

The first annual DVC Founder’s Day event was a great start and a successful event, but we look forward to making it bigger and better next year.  Thanks to all of our founders and investors for making the time and the trip!

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