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Alternative Sources of Funding

  • 07 Oct 2008
  • 7:00 PM - 9:59 PM
  • Meeting at Emerging Enterprise Center at Foley Hoag, 1000 Winter Street, Suite 4000, Waltham, MA. PRE-MEETING DINNER at 5:15 PM (sharp) at Bertucci's, Waltham.


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Are you trying to launch or grow a startup business?
Do you need money but just can’t find it?
Not ready for angels or VC investors? Or already turned down?
You need to build your company and need money to do it – but how to do that?

This panel tries to answer those questions:

  • How to build your company from nothing to something.
  • How to do it without VC or angel money.
  • How to get non-investor first funding and further cash equivalents and
  • How to cut corners to lower burn rate as you build value in your company

This panel will focus on getting initial money from non-traditional sources when VCs and angels will not help and friends and family are tapped out. The panelists will speak from experience to show you how they have used SBIRs and governmental grants, strategic partnering and customer funded development.

Investors want to see something before they invest. Yet it takes money to make your company into something to interest investors. It is a catch-22. This panel offers techniques to show you how to break out of that conundrum - to take your company from nothing to something, and to do so without VC or angel funding.


John Davis, General Manager, SBIR Resource Center

"SBIR is the PRIMARY and MOST IMPORTANT source of tech-venture financing -- all others are "alternative".

John Davis serves as General Manager for the SBIR Resource Center which has aided more tha 3000 entrepreneurial firms in the pursuit of SBIR & STTR financing and has served thousands more by working closely with numerous state and local economic development organizations to establish and operate effective, local SBIR outreach programs.

Mr. Davis brings over thirty years of progressive experience as a technician, research engineer, R&D program manager, professional proposal leader, marketing director and C-level executive (General Manager/COO for three firms, CEO of one) in leading technical organizations ranging from start-ups and small early stage companies, up to Fortune 200 multinational firms. He is currently authoring a book on Project Management in Sub-Optimal Cultures. He has earned advanced degrees in both engineering and business administration.

Mr. Davis has been honored by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) as their "Member of the Year", served as Vice President of the Capitol Chapter and was an industry elected member of their Board of Trustees. He has served as an editor & peer reviewer for the technical publications Unmanned Systems and Proposal Management.

In the field of SBIR/STTR, Mr. Davis is a much-published author and popular lecturer. He frequently speaks on Development Competitive Proposals and R&D Project Planning, Cost Estimating and Control at many national and regional SBIR Conferences and has participated in every National SBIR Conference since 1993. Widely recognized as a leading national authority on SBIR/STTR, he is the Executive Publisher of the newsletter SBIR News You Can Use and the web site http://sbir.us . Mr. Davis has personally dealt with the specifics and details of business development through proposal and grant request writing for each and every one of the SBIR/STTR solicitations, since 1993.

Richard W. DeVaul Ph.D., President & CEO, AWare Technologies

Dr. DeVaul co-founded AWare Technologies in January of 2004 and became president and CEO in August of 2006. Dr. DeVaul graduated from the MIT Media Lab with his Ph.D. in 2004. His thesis topic was "The Memory Glasses", a wearable memory-support system that was featured on Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda. While a Ph.D. student at the Media Lab, Dr. DeVaul was a founding organizer and graduate student leader of the MIThril wearable computing project, which focused on developing a distributed, clothing-integrated wearable computing research platform.

Dr. DeVaul is listed as the principle inventor on several pending and issued patents and is first author on half a dozen peer reviewed publications. Dr. DeVaul is a frequently invited speaker on the topic of wearable technology and its applications at academic conferences.

AWare Technologies began in 2004 as a contract research company focused on military wearable R&D and has successfully executed SBIR Phase II and STTR contracts with the US Army. AWare Technologies has participated in the DARPA ASSIST BAA as part of the IBM/MIT/Georgia Tech team, and has successfully commercialized these technologies developed under the the SBIR program to products for the sports and fitness sectors. AWare was initially funded with a "Friends and Family" round.

Xiaoyu Tian, Ph.D., Co-Founder, BioHermes www.biohermes.com

Dr. Tian co-founded three companies: BioHermes, a Boston based biopharmaceutical consulting firm with business focusing on promoting technology transfer between China and US pharmaceutical development companies; Beilu Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Beijing, China) which develops diagnostic drug development (MRI contrast reagents) for medical imaging; and Essenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Natick, MA), which is a drug discovery company focusing on the development of novel anti-cancer pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Tian has extensive experience in strategic planning, R&D collaborations, marketing, and developing pharmaceuticals from pre-clinical and clinical trials to new drug applications and production under the guidelines of Chinese State Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Tian obtained his BS in Electrical Engineering and MS degree in Medical Physics from the Department of Electronics at Peking University, Beijing, and a Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutical Science from the University of Connecticut USA. Dr. Tian is also a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Northeastern University’s Center for Drug Discovery.


Michael S. Chester, m.chester@ieee.org , Chairman of the IEEE Boston Entrepreneurs' Network, Serial Entrepreneur, President, International Manufacturing Consultants , has founded and built companies, set up manufacturing operations, formed strategic partnerships, set up global joint ventures, raised over $40M, and commercialized technologies. Mike was VP Business Development for a startup which grew to 142 employees and developed web-based collaborative environments which enabled global electronics companies to speed up time to market. He spent 16 years with IBM designing robots and automation, marketing and selling IBM products to manufacturing companies, setting up global operations and supply chains, and founding an IBM consulting organization for manufacturing clients which he grew into a $20M business.

Mike lived in China from 1986-1987 while consulting to companies owned by the Machine Building Industry and taught graduate courses at Hunan University. Mike serves on the board of a startup, which is setting up wireless payment and banking systems in China and is a partner and advisory board member of Massachusetts based BioHermes,www.biohermes.com , which forms partnerships between US based biotech startups and Chinese companies to develop medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Mike earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University and a MBA from Union College.