If Mona DeFrawi stepped outside her Menlo Park, Calif.-based office today, she would have enjoyed a cloudless sky and 72-degree weather. That is quite a change from her environs a year ago when she was in Baltimore.
But DeFrawi has been a little busy lately.
As CEO of InsideVenture, DeFrawi is putting together the group’s first investors’ conference for 50 late stage private companies in late March in Santa Barbara. The companies will present to a mix of institutional buyers that include PE firms, late stage venture investors and mutual funds. The idea is to get the buyers to invest in the companies, which otherwise might go IPO. But no one’s going public these days, which means InsideVenture is perhaps at the right place at the right time.
“I expect the companies and the investors will have a very positive experience from this conference,” says DeFrawi. The former investor relations executive started the group last year to resolve what she sees as a market disruption caused by too few long-term investors securing large allocations for IPO companies.
“We’re here to help and to promote,” she says. “We’re going to get the deals going again; get the economy going again.”
As of this week, InsideVenture has more than 140 companies nominated for the conference. DeFrawi and her board–which consist of health care and technology VCs, as well as seven buy-side representatives, including both strategic and institutional investors—will whittle the group down to two groups of 25.
DeFrawi wouldn’t disclose the names of any the companies that are nominated for the conference. That list is available only to members of her group. But she describes some of the companies as extremely profitable.
“They’re the best of the breed,” she says.
She adds that she has seen a good number of cleantech companies and that her group is discussing the possibility of later holding a conference just for cleantech companies. She’s also considering a secondaries conference, as well.
More information about applying for membership at InsideVenture or nominating a late stage company is on her firm’s website.
Also, last month, Joanna Glasner, senior editor of PE Week, did a Q&A with DeFrawi which can be found here.