Sometimes Those Panel Pile-Ups Can Pay Off


Fred Wilson today blogged about the “panel pile-up,” in which a dozen or so entrepreneurs line up to pitch him after speaking at a conference. Not surprisingly, Fred doesn’t believe such situations are ideal for in-depth interactions (he suggests folks just take 60 seconds to give name, rank, serial number and why you want to meet with him).

Anyway, it got me to wondering if any VCs have done a deal in which the initial point of contact was made as part of a “panel pile-up.” I threw out the question in this morning’s peHUB Wire, and received two positive replies.

The first was from Jeff Bussgang, who wrote the following:

I met Eric Paley after speaking at his class at HBS in late 2002 just as I was leaving Upromise to transition into the venture business. They were teaching the Upromise case and I was a guest. He gave me his 60 second pitch after class, sent a very well-done email follow-up, and after a series of meetings and relationship-building opportunities, we invested in Eric’s company, Brontes.existing Web applications and HTML 5 applications to take advantage of Websockets.

Jeff also passed along a copy of Paley’s email, which you can see here.

Worth noting that this was a very successful deal, with 3M buying Brontes in 2006 for $95 million. VCs — including Bussgang’s firm — had invested a total of just $8 million.

The second example is in reverse: Jason Spievak, CEO of RingRevenue, writes:

Mark Suster and I met right after I presented at the VentureNet panel. GRP led our Series A here at RingRevenue two months later as a result of that meeting, and Mark is now on our board.

Keep ’em coming…

Update: One more, from Seth Levine at Foundry Group:

We first met Medialets when Eric (CEO) approached Brad after a panel presentation. Brad said “not up my alley, but you should reach out to Seth” which he did and eventually we funded the business.

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