Sunday, July 15, 2012

Professors Visit Investor Day at

One of 12 start-ups
Professors Attila Freska and yours truly recently spent a fascinating morning at Investor Day 2012, sponsored by Fortify.vcThe event featured twelve tech start-ups that were the inaugural class from The Accelerator in downtown DC.  

Each of the twelve teams had a booth describing their concept and product and we were able to talk to all of the founders and their teams.  Then each start-up made a 15 minute presentation in the auditorium where they went into detail about the idea, development, progress and next steps.  All of the teams have achieved their initial funding goals and are seeking round two funding to continue their development work to, hopefully, a commercial stage.  What fascinated me most about the experience was talking to the young entrepreneurs and learning of their backgrounds, experience, education and how they came to the world of start-ups and venture capital.  

We met PhD's in Physics from Cornell, Lawyers from Georgetown, former government employees, and experienced entrepreneurs.  All of the start-ups that are invited to occupy The Fort have a tech product they are developing and have demonstrated the commercial viability of their idea.  This is one of the things that sets Fortify apart in my mind.  They only deal with founders that are developing technical products that are potential game changers.  Fortify strategically selects founders and investors to leverage experience and strengths.

This is a fascinating world I have not personally been involved with in the past and I recognize, along with the rest of our faculty in the MSBA program, that we need to expose our students to this universe.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I have taken the plunge and become a series one investor with  We had the opportunity to take our last MSBA class to The Fort last spring where we met Founder and General Partner Jonathon Perrelli and Senior Associate Carla Valdes.  They explained the concept of The Fort as a hands on Incubator and Accelerator for chosen start-ups.  If you want to understand more about this world, I encourage you to sign up for Jonathon Perrelli's blog.

I'm excited about the next event sponsored by Fortify which is an event called Distilled Intelligence 2.0 which will attract start-ups from around the world competing for cash prizes and an opportunity to join The Fort.  This will take place in Washington DC on October 11.  Look for a report on that.

Stewart McHie
Director, MSBA Program 

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