GROWCalifornia conference showcases Pleasanton, Tri-Valley to venture capitalists, business leaders

Participants say they 'had no idea how much is going on here'

More than 200 early stage company executives, business investors and entrepreneurs joined in the two-day GROWCalifornia conference in Pleasanton this week, a first-time event here that showcased the advantages of relocating or starting up a business in the Tri-Valley.

"The mix of attendees was as important as the number and the mix was truly impressive," said Scott Raty, president of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, which was a GROWCalifornia conference sponsor. "We saw early-stage company CEOs, venture capitalists and 'angel' investors from all over."

One measure of success for the event, held at the Casa Real conference center in Pleasanton, was what Raty called "the Wow response from investors and others who said they had no idea how much is going on here in Pleasanton and the Ti-Valley.

"Some of those folks are as close as the Peninsula from us," Raty said. "One Reno-based CEO told me that he's been looking to relocate his firm back to California and this visit sold him on the Tri-Valley."

Called "Game Changers & Risk Takers," the conference brought together high growth start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs. It was aimed at bringing a wide range of companies, professionals and service providers together for discussions on opportunities. Included were investors, venture capitalists, alternative debt capital and grant sources, policymakers and other government officials, industry experts, leading technology authors, university and federal lab executives and researchers.

The event also featured keynote speakers, expert panels, start-up capital pitches, product demonstrations, executive training sessions and funder roundtables.

GROWCalifornia President and chief executive officer Jon Gregory said the "vision" for the Game Changers conferences is to create a high-impact environment where deals get done that grow California companies

Besides the Pleasanton Chamber, other sponsors and partners in hosting the event in Pleasanton included the i-Gate iHub, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the Livermore Chamber of Commerce, Alameda County, the city of Oakland, California State University East Bay, UC Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia Labs, and the city of Dublin.

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