Deal making central

Venture capital has become a hot topic in South Florida in recent years, but the Florida Venture Forum dates back to 1984. With a major capital conference coming up in Hollywood early next year, SFBW talked with President Kevin Burgoyne.

Burgoyne has led the forum since 2012 and previously held key positions at Johnson Capital, Navidad Holding and Global Crossing/Level(3). 

What types of companies are usually selected to present at the forum?

Our selection committee members choose the ones they feel have the best chance of being funded. The criteria for this conference is $3 million in annual revenue; dedicated management; and some demonstrated degree of market acceptance of products and/or services. Fundability is a more subjective criteria based on the assessment of the scalability of the company – the ability of funds invested to maintain and improve profit margins while sales volume increases.

What industries are investors most interested in at the moment?

Technology, life sciences and business services. Business service companies are typically those that are a subset of technology – like human resources and healthcare, such as electronic medical records firms. Also, companies involved in reinvigorating an industry are chosen. These involve old industries with new revenue models. 

How much money is available to companies through forum events?

In 2013, companies who presented at our conferences received a total of $25 million. Conference attendance is increasing by an average of 20 percent a year, and conferences usually attract about 100 investors and several hundred more attendees.

Why the increase?

There is an improved economy, along with investor sentiment. Florida is doing a much better job of telling its success stories – like those of CareCloud and Open English. Social media is playing a part, but there seems to be much greater interest in Florida’s regions” working together to attract investment – and more publications covering new companies and investment opportunities.

Florida Venture Forum

President: Kevin Burgoyne

Address: 707 W. Azeele St., Tampa, FL

Phone Number: 813.335.8116


Description: The Florida Venture Forum is a statewide member-based organization that helps entrepreneurs obtain funding through education, strategic partnering, and effective networking. Its annual Venture Capital Conference has helped entrepreneurs achieve over $2.9 billion in funding. The Early Stage Conference has helped presenting companies obtain over $15.5 million in funding. The forum in conjunction with the Early Stage Conference also hosts the Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, whose competitors have raised $2.9 million in funding.  

Next Conference: 2015 Florida Venture Forum Capital Conference, Jan. 29-30, Westin Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood. The conference attracts venture capitalists and private equity investors from the U.S. and internationally with about 20 companies presenting their concepts. Check out the website to apply.

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