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Startup Happy Hour: An Investor’s Perspective on Seed Stage Funding

August 31, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us for Startup Happy Hour powered by StartupSac and the Carlsen Center for a panel discussion on what seed stage investors expect.

For Startup Happy Hour this month StartupSac and the Carlsen Center are convening a conversation on seed stage funding. This event will feature a panel of early stage investors. Startup founders want money from investors, but what do they want from you? Join us for a panel discussion where we explore topics such as:

  • What changes has a virtual world brought on by Covid brought to the game?
  • What has changed as far as how founders connect with and pitch investors?
  • What new opportunities and challenges are there?
  • What do early stage seed investors expect from a startup at that stage?
  • What amount of revenue do investors want to see at seed stage?
  • Why is it important to stay in communication with investors?
  • What defines each funding stage?

Confirmed Moderator and Panelists

  • Mariah Lichtenstern (moderator), Founding Partner | Startup Advisor & Investor, DiverseCity Ventures
  • Monique Brown , Growth Factory Ventures
  • Jim Sperlazza, Board Member, Sacramento Angels
  • Ken Tallo, Partner, Winning Streak Ventures, Board Member, Sacramento Angels

About the Moderator and Panelists

Mariah Lichtenstern

At the intersection of technology, entertainment, and venture capital, Mariah “Roman” Lichtenstern accelerates positive social, economic, and environmental impact through entrepreneurship. An alumna of UC Berkeley, USC, and UCLA, she is the Founding Partner of DiverseCity Ventures and launched the Sacramento, CA chapter of the Founder Institute, which was recognized in Forbes Magazine as the 3rd most gender diverse chapter in the world.

She serves as an advisor for the California Clean Energy Fund’s CalSEED initiative, Berkeley Skydeck, Village Capital Finance Forward, FourthWave female founder accelerator, HaydenAI AI Ethics advisory, and Yale University School of Medicine’s Digital Innovation and Diversity Initiative. She serves on the boards of FourthWave, StartupSac, and the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of UCLA Ventures and an Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellow (Win ’20), where she developed the Tech Funding Equity Project to advocate solutions to the tech industry funding gap.

A multi-faceted “connector,” Mariah works with amazing people she feels incredibly fortunate to know and strives to build bridges between those with privilege and those with valuable, but too often excluded, perspectives. She is driven to empower founders and filmmakers of all backgrounds, inclusive of those underrepresented by virtue of “otherness,” including (but not limited to) gender/identity, culture/ethnicity, geography, and socio-economic status.

Monique Brown

Monique Brown is Co-founder and Managing Director at The Growth Factory, a nonprofit pre-seed accelerator on a mission to find, fund and unleash the potential 100 world class startups from the Greater Sacramento region over the next 4-5 years. She is responsible for overseeing operations, deal flow sourcing and screening, program design and execution, partner and mentor engagement, and ecosystem collaborations.

Over the last 7 years, Monique has worked with hundreds of talented and committed early-stage founders supporting them through the application of lean startup principles, capacity building mentorship, and making connections to the right resources.

She believes passionately in the promise of the next generation of entrepreneurs and has happily served as a mentor for programs like the Plasma and Big Bang Competition at UC Davis and the Sierra College Mentor Network. She has been an integral part of ecosystem initiatives like Sacramento Kings Capitalize pitch competition, 1MC, the iHub network and more.

Jim Sperlazza

Jim is currently the Due Diligence Chair for the Sacramento Angels. He has had executive Sales & Marketing rolls in several startups and two IPOs. His background includes key marketing and sales roles with several medical device companies both domestic and internationally. Jim is currently the CEO of two local businesses, is working with several local startups, and managing a commercial real estate portfolio. Jim is also serving a four year term as a Trustee of the Nevada City School District.

Ken Tallo

Partner at Winning Streak Ventures, Board Member Sacramento Angels, Board Member ParsePay, Board Member NatureTrak, Board Member Sparck, Founder/President Pinnacle Enterprises (non-profit).

Ken Tallo has a long history of entrepreneurship, angel investing, and advisory roles for companies within markets such as Fintech, Healthcare, Marketing, Manufacturing Technology, Consumer Products, and has an extensive background in Intellectual Property Licensing.

Ken is currently a Managing Partner at Winning Streak Ventures, an early-stage venture fund. In prior roles, he served as a Partner with Xinova Corp (business & technology advisory firm), and 17years with Intel Corporation where he held several senior level positions in organizations like the ‘Internet of Things Group’ and ‘Intel Capital’.

Ken currently serves on several Boards where he has taken companies from early concept through successful exit. Ken is an innovative thinker and hands-on adviser.

About Startup Happy Hour

Startup Happy Hour is a monthly informal community-building event for founders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. These events feature a short interview with a successful entrepreneur, then the remainder of the event is open to informal Q&A and discussion.

If any special accommodations are needed please let us know at least two weeks in advance to secure the needed accommodations.

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