Invest Southwest 2012 Conference

Invest Southwest Capital Conference will celebrate its 20th year this fall by again bringing in companies from Arizona and around the Southwest to pitch their wares to investors.

The conference, held Nov. 28-30 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, will go it alone this year after 2011’s joint effort with the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association

Karen Katzorke, executive director of the conference, said last year’s partnership was based on the RMVCA’s desire to hold a conference in Arizona. The group regularly moves to different states for its annual conference, and it could partner with Invest Southwest in another five years when it returns.

Invest Southwest plans to return to its roots focusing more on Arizona companies, and officials do not anticipate a drop in the quality of applicants or participants, Katzorke said.

Arizona companies have traditionally had difficulty landing venture capital funding because of a limited number of VC funds in the state from which to draw.

Previous Invest Southwest companies have had some luck getting funding. An example from last year was Post.Bid.Ship, a Tucson shipping company that drew investment from the Arizona Technology Investor Forum, an angel group in Phoenix, and the Desert Angels from Tucson.

“For the past 20 years, Invest Southwest has showcased the top emerging companies in our local and regional markets and provided them with a forum to promote their companies to active investors,” said Jonathan Coury, this year’s chairman of Invest Southwest and partner at Hool Law Group in Phoenix. “We are dedicated to our mission of encouraging economic growth through capital investments in growing enterprises.”

The conference focuses on companies looking for between $500,000 and $10 million in financing.

Applications for the event are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 30, with an early-bird application deadline of Aug. 1.

Applicants are screened by a selection panel, and roughly 12 to 15 companies are selected to present to what ends up being more than 300 representatives from the local and national venture capital industry. Last year the conference had 130 applications, said Dax Williamson, the selection panel co-chairman and deal team leader with Silicon Valley Bank in Phoenix.

“With the undercurrent of growth that the regional technology market is experiencing, we expect the trend to continue this year and are excited to see what the 2012 class has to offer,” he said. “More importantly, we are interested in shining the national spotlight on these high-potential companies and helping them attract investor capital through their exposure at the conference.”

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