We attended the 2nd annual Gold Coast Venture Capital Association (GCVCA) Expo on February 24, alongside 600+ fellow patrons. The rooms were packed wall to wall with enthusiastic entrepreneurs, investors, and other related parties all anticipating meeting the carefully curated exhibitors and listening to the two illuminating speaker panels.

GCVCA’s mission is to provide a forum to share information that is pertinent to and develop relationships among entrepreneurs, investors and service providers in Florida’s Gold Coast, roughly defined as Palm Beach to Miami. It is safe to say they overwhelmingly accomplished this mission with the Expo.

Bob Fitts, president of GCVCA, granted us access to the VIP Reception, which allowed us time to meet with him and all of the exhibiting entrepreneurs. Bob mentioned that one key to the success of this Expo was the significant consideration they gave to selecting each exhibiting entrepreneur. GCVCA wanted to ensure there were an adequate variety of pre-screened companies available for their investor members to converse with.

Bob Fitts

The GCVCA Expo afforded us the opportunity to meet very interesting companies that don’t frequent the Miami circuit.

One such company was a watchmaker named EnergyBionics that creates watches that have a mini solar panel on the face, stores energy, and then can be used to recharge your smartphone or other electronic device.

EnergyBionics

Another company was Prometheon whose slogan was “This is not for pricks”. Their patent-pending technology is a transdermal platform that allows for the delivery of large molecule drugs across the skin. Simply stated, they can deliver drugs like insulin through a patch thereby replacing tons of needles with a single patch.

Prometheon

There were many other stand-out companies, many from Miami, that were granted the opportunity to pitch to a captive audience of investors – all thanks to the GCVCA. You can see the full list of exhibitors here – http://www.gcvcaexpo.org/start-ups/

The other highlight of the evening was the panels. Great insights, strategies, and actionable suggestions were shared throughout the educational evening.

Speaking with various angel investors present we asked what they were specifically looking for in an investment. The top three were:

  1. An actual revenue model leading to a sustainable business
  2. A team with the capabilities to lead and grow a company
  3. A clear and thought out marketing and sales strategy

The 2015 GCVCA Expo was another resounding success. The buzz throughout the night was both electric and contagious, even more so than last year’s Expo. We are eagerly anticipating next year’s Expo!