June 20, 2012 07:00 ET

World Renowned Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists Debate Future of Early-Stage Economy at Venture Forward Conference 2012

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jun 20, 2012) - Today, Gust, the global investor relations platform connecting high-growth entrepreneurs and active early-stage investors, and DiligentDeal, a conference organizer in the early-stage investment space, hosted Venture Forward 2012, the first in an annual series of industry summits. Angel investors, venture capitalists, non-traditional investors, and select members of the media discussed and debated the rapidly changing landscape of entrepreneurial financing; how, where and by whom deals are being funded; and how new regulations and legislative action are shaping the future of private investment. The day-long event was held at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.

"The vigorous debate at today's Venture Forward conference provided investors with a roadmap for navigating the new landscape of early-stage start-up financing," said Conference Chair David S. Rose, CEO of Gust and one of the most active technology 'super-angel' investors. "This exclusive opportunity to hear from the country's leading investors and the brightest minds in business was impressive and highly informative. We look forward to collaborating on future Venture Forward conferences and providing investors in this asset class with a rich perspective and insights into the future of the early-stage economy."

The forum featured analyses and predictions especially prepared for the conference by industry visionaries including Dave Berkus, bestselling author of Berkonomics and a renowned angel investor with an IRR of 97% across 80 investments; Richard Bendis, CEO of Innovation America and Chairman of the Board of Innovation Philadelphia; and Joe Bartlett and Lori Smith of the Legislative Policy Committee of the Angel Capital Association. Among the world-class investors who shared their perspectives with participants were David Hornik of August Capital, author of VentureBlog, the first VC blog, and founder of The Lobby Conference; Eric Hippeau of Lerer Ventures and former CEO of Huffington Post; Howard Morgan of First Round Capital; Habib Kairouz of Rho Capital Partners; David Tisch of Techstars; Esther Dyson of EDventure Holdings; Stephanie Newby of Golden Seeds; Gil Beyda of Genacast Ventures; and Bob Rice of Tangent Capital Partners. Rigorous examination of the issues was conducted by moderators Henry Blodget of Business Insider, Bruce Upbin of Forbes, Jonathan Marino of Thompson Reuters' peHUB, and JJ Ramberg of MSNBC, drawing on thought provoking questions from both panelists and the audience. In addition, Deirdre Bolton of Money Moves with Deirdre Bolton on Bloomberg Television held fireside interviews with Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital and Scott Kurnit of Adkeeper, two of the industry's most perceptive entrepreneur/investors.

In addition to a highly interactive conference agenda and participation in panel discussions, attendees took advantage of the conference's professional networking opportunities to foster high-end engagement and dialogue with featured angel investors, venture capitalists, prominent media figures, and policy makers.

Venture Forward is an annual conference that advances the interests of angel investors and venture capitalists in shaping the future of entrepreneurship and private investment. Interested angels, super-angels, angel groups, micro-VCs and non-traditional technology investors and entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit for upcoming events and to learn more about how to participate in the extraordinary opportunities presented by early-stage investment.

About Gust
Gust provides the global platform for the sourcing and management of early-stage investments, enabling skilled entrepreneurs to collaborate with the smartest investors by virtually supporting all aspects of the investment relationship, from initial pitch to successful exit. Gust is endorsed by the world's leading business angel and venture capital associations, and powers over 750 investment organizations in 65 countries. More than 180,000 start-ups have already used the platform to connect and collaborate with over 40,000 individual accredited investors. Gust is based in New York, NY, with a development center in Vancouver, British Columbia, and European office in Paris, France.

About Diligent Deal
DiligentDeal is a professional event organizer in the early stage investment space specializing in the organization and management of congresses, conferences, seminars and similar events. Run by investors, serial entrepreneurs, a professor of computer science and drawing on the experience of the former head of the conference groups at Forbes and The Economist, DiligentDeal is uniquely positioned to deliver relevant content in stimulating formats.

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