In advance of Starlight Capital’s online PropTech and Real Estate investment conference on the 8th of December 2022, this Article explains the differences between this and other, similar conferences. Please register now for the upcoming December 8th forum here. Investment Banking:
Bryan Emerson’s investment banking clients are served through a contract with his FINRA licensed broker-dealer, Great Point Capital, which is headquartered in Chicago. The client pays a commission on funds raised and often a small equity stake in the company. These contracts can be exclusive or non-exclusive. If the latter, the client usually pays a monthly retainer of several thousand dollars. Services can include deal structuring, business writing (such as PPMs, press releases, website revisions) as well as investor outreach. Target clients for GPC tend to be real estate oriented, profitable, and raising more than $10 mm. Bryan has had his securities licenses since 2000 and raised funds for a variety of industries, including oil and gas, real estate, and technology (see testimonials at www.starlightcapital.co.
Presenting at Starlight Capital conferences is a cost-effective way for entrepreneurs to generate warm leads through a lower-cost, self-help model. Starlight charges no commissions, just a flat presentation fee that depends on the amount of exposure a client chooses. There is no competition, ranking, or judging. Most presenting companies are already generating revenue or have raised a first round of funding. Few are startups unless they are spin-offs of going concerns.
Companies purchase a 5 or 10 minute presentation slot followed by a 5 or 10 minute Q and A delivered to an on-line audience of investors. The investors ask questions but provide no public assessment, judgment, or vote. After the conference, Starlight sends each presenter a spreadsheet of contact information for not only all attendees, but also those who registered but did not make it. In 2022, this list ranged from 600 to 1000 registrants per conference. We are unaware of any competitors who provide so many warm leads at a cost of less than $3/lead. Starlight provides best practice suggestions for follow up by email and telephone. The entrepreneurs then get to work, reaching out to the people on the spread sheet.
Because this can be time consuming, presenters can engage Starlight staff to email each registrant individually on behalf of the company, to schedule appointments in the presenter’s Calendly account in the month following the conference, while the presentations are fresh in the minds of the attendees. Frankly, we have been astonished to discover that some presenters never follow up at all. Maybe they wait for the phone to ring.
These are usually low-cost events for startups to present their business idea to a small group of advisors. Some have a panel that provides public feedback. Prices range from free to a few hundred dollars.
Companies present to members of a particular angel network, which is usually geographically based and which may favor companies in that geographic region. Some are free to present and others charge a fee under $100. Angel events we have attended in 2022 ranged from 8 to 20 people other than the presenters. The angels may ask questions or give feedback. Some angel networks require a financial commitment each year from members, which they invest in some of the presenting companies. Others do not. Check their websites.
Service Provider Conferences:
These often feature speeches by sponsors and panelists of sponsors, professors, and other business professionals regarding aspects of entrepreneurship. They may include judging, ranking, and competitions of entrepreneurs for prizes or services by the sponsors.
The business models vary. Some require a minimum fund raise in order to access funds escrowed. Others pass through directly, deducting a percentage, often 4%, rather like a credit card fee for businesses. Most require that the listing company do its own outreach and marketing to attract funders. They do little due diligence, so beware of scams. The companies that fare best are those that have some concrete gift for funders, such as a product made by the company. (If you donate something you get this. If you donate more, you get that).
Some sites specialize in non-profits and emotional appeals, such as raising money for a disaster zone or a family’s funeral expenses.
To conclude: Starlight conferences are not for everyone. For some companies, an investment banking contract will provide a much more personalized, targeted investor outreach, but for a higher price because of the time, skills, and contacts required. Bryan Emerson can discuss those services. For startups, he can refer people to angel networks and pitch nights that he respects. Companies well suited to Starlight conferences are those that have a strong and compelling business model in real estate, prop tech, or other technologies, have generated some revenue or previously endeavored to raise investment, and want a self-help model of follow up with the warm leads generated through all of the conference registrations of the event in which they participated. If they want Starlight staff to follow up for them during the month following the conference, that is an option, too.