25th MN Venture, Finance Conference to Attract 350+

Seventeen companies have been selected to give seven-minute presentations to attendees of the annual Minnesota Venture & Finance Conference.

On October 12 and 13, The Collaborative and the Minnesota Venture Capital Association will co-host the 25th annual Minnesota Venture & Finance Conference-an event at which 17 up-and-coming companies will present to 350 investors, entrepreneurs, and executives expected to attend.

Seventeen companies-including AUM Cardiovascular, which last week won the 2011 Minnesota Cup competition-were chosen from a pool of more than 100 to give seven-minute presentations to attendees.

Those companies-along with the people from them who will be speaking-are:


Ativa Medical (CEO David Deetz)
AUM Cardiovascular (CEO Marie Johnson)
BioAmber (Chief Technology Officer Jim Millis)
Biothera (Founder Dan Conners)
BringMeTheNews (CEO Rick Kupchella)
CNS Therapeutics (CEO John Foster)
Conventus Orthopaedics (CEO Paul Hindrichs)
Healthsense (CEO Brian Bischoff)
Ionix Medical (CEO Kai Kroll)
OptiMine (CEO Jim Moar)
Phraxis (CEO Michael Kallok)
QuickCheck Health (CEO Tom Henke)
Rapid Engines (CEO Tom Grabowski)
Reluceo (CEO Olga Selifonova)
ScyFIX (CEO Tom Harold)
Sophia (CEO Don Smithmier)
Steele Fitness (CEO Steele Smiley)

According to The Collaborative, more than half of the $5.4 billion of venture capital invested in Minnesota companies over the past 15 years has gone to companies that have presented at the annual conference. Additionally, more than three-fourths of venture capital raised by Minnesota companies within the past two years, and 90 percent of that raised within the past two quarters, has gone to past conference presenters.

Panels will focus on the topics of health care innovation, next-generation tech and cleantech, and the state of venture investing. Panelists include some well-known executives and venture capitalists-serial entrepreneur and Dell Compellent President Phil Soran, Tornier CEO Doug Kohrs, Amcom Software President Chris Heim, Despatch Industries CEO Patrick Peyton, Split Rock Partners Managing Director Michael Gorman, and Key Investment CEO and angel investor Vance Opperman.

A Collaborative spokesperson said Wednesday that roughly 200 people have signed up for the conference, and at least 150 more are expected to do so within the next month. Through September 28, the cost to sign up will be $295 for Collaborative members and $495 for nonmembers; after that, both rates will increase by $100.