Speed dating for entrepreneurs

    Since the economic recession hit, the competition for business seed money has become fierce. As entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the Union League yesterday, a select group broke off for some speed dating — only the daters weren’t searching for romance.

    Since the economic recession hit, the competition for business seed money has become fierce. As entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the Union League yesterday, a select group broke off for some speed dating — only the daters weren’t searching for romance.

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    With the start of a clock, about a dozen entrepreneurs begin their two-minute attempts to infatuate their audiences.

    Kelleher-Andersson: My name’s Judy Kelleher-Andersson, I’m the founder of Neuronascent…

    Kelleher-Andersson tries to pique the interest of two investors to fund her biomedical company.

    Kelleher-Andersson:
    With the ageing of the population there’s a substantial need for innovative new drugs — GONG — uh…

    With that, her time is up. The investors now get six minutes to grill her. After that, the partners shift and a new round begins.

    David Owens is an investor with the Mid-Atlantic Angel Group. He’s participated in a few other speed networking events.

    Owens: It really is a date, it’s a speed date, and based upon this hopefully we’ll see one or two of these companies come back to us so we can make an investment.

    Owens says the organized rounds are better than networking cocktail hours, because they give everyone a fair chance to pitch their business. And, it doesn’t take all day.

    Valerie Gaydos, director of the Angel Venture Fair, says this is the first year she added speed rounds to the other company presentations.

    Gaydos:
    We had a plethora of applications for only 30 spots that we had here at the Angel Venture Fair so it was our way of trying to compress the time and bring in additional numbers of companies and giving them an opportunity to do face time with angel investors.

    Judy Kelleher-Andersson at Neuronascent wraps up a round and takes a break.

    Kelleher-Andersson: It was not as bad as I thought it would be [laughs]. It’s great that they asked questions. The worst thing is nothing. You know, they’re not interested at all.

    Kelleher-Andersson says even if she doesn’t get a match, it was worth the practice.

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