Join the Florida Venture Forum and the Florida Venture Education Foundation for the opening workshop, “Optimizing Investor Engagement” led by instructor/speaker, Robert Okabe.

The workshop is an add-on program feature of the 2021 Early Stage Capital Conference. The program will be hosted on October 7, 2021, from 1:15 PM – 4:30 PM at the Westshore Grand in Tampa, FL.

There is an additional registration fee of $65 p/p to attend the workshop and will be open to a limited number of conference attendees. 

The modules are all about understanding investors, before (behavior), during (term sheet trends), and after (investor management) the deal process.

  • Understanding Investor Behavior:
    Learn about the financial dynamics of venture funds and how they affect investment decisions
    Gain new insights into how investor demographics affect the way they evaluate opportunities 
  • Deal Engineering:
    See examples of how deal terms can subtly and not so subtly change a startup’s options and outcomes
    – When you own 51% but don’t have control- how deal terms increase investor influence or limit what management can do
  • Investor Management:
    – Develop an understanding of the benefits of creating a deep relationship with investors
    – Learn why investors have much greater value than just the amount of the checks they write

Robert Okabe, Instructor

Over the past two decades Bob Okabe has been involved in every aspect of new company formation and development.

He founded or co-founded four companies and has served as an interim CEO, CFO, board director, board chair, advisory board member, and as creator of five new spinout companies for corporate clients. Bob also has extensive experience as an angel investor, putting his own money into an additional twelve startups. These companies have gone on to raise over $300 million in venture capital including notable exits by acquisition to companies including Google, Capital One, and Xilinx.

Bob actively shares his experience through work as a teacher and lecturer. He has been on faculty at the University of Illinois College of Business and lectured at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Notre Dame. Bob led teams developing entrepreneurship and investor programs for the Kauffman Foundation, International Economic Development Council, and the US Agency for International Development.

As a speaker, he has been invited to share his expertise in entrepreneurship and capital raising in 23 states across the US and seven countries. As a technology commercialization consultant to large companies and governments Bob has worked with four Fortune 500 firms and organizations in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Russia.

Prior to entering the startup world Bob worked as an investment banker, bond ratings analyst, and corporate finance professional for companies including Bank of America and General Electric. He was awarded a BS in finance and organizational behavior, cum laude, from Boston University’s Questrom School of Management.

Rhys L. Williams, Speaker

Rhys L. Williams is the CEO, Co-Founder, and Director of MedicSmart, a VC-backed startup digitally transforming the workplace safety & emergency medical response space (presently in stealth mode).

From 2016 to 2021, he served as Managing Director of the highly successful FAU Tech Runway technology incubator/accelerator program & TRIN investor network. Mr. Williams has more than two decades of experience in the early-stage life sciences realm, having co-founding three biotech spinouts from three of Florida’s institutions of higher learning. He is also an active member of the Florida angel investor community, having co-founded the New World Angels in 2003, Florida’s most established and successful structured angel investor group (immediate past president; current chairman), with several successful exits across the domains of therapeutics, medical devices, and healthcare IT.

Recognized as one of 50 “Power Leaders in Technology” by the South Florida Business Journal, Mr. Williams has also testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Technology and Global Competitiveness. Mr. Williams received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College magna cum laude and both a law degree (JD) and an MBA (with honors; class president) from the University of Florida. Additional work experience includes CapSoft (president, e-commerce venture), SI Ventures (institutional venture capital firm affiliated with Gartner), Ixion Biotechnology (VP-finance/associate general counsel), Smith Barney, TranZitions (operations director/corporate counsel, HR venture), and American Express.

Mr. Williams is a U.S. Army veteran, having served as commander of a Special Forces Combat Diver Detachment (“green beret”). From 2018 to 2021 he served as an appointed director on Harvard Alumni Association national board (representing Eastern Florida and Puerto Rico) and continues to serve with the Harvard Club of the Palm Beaches (president) and the Harvard College Fund.

Other board service includes the Florida Venture Forum, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium (immediate past chairman), and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention (advisory committee). Former board activities include the Angel Resource Institute (director of research), Aplicor, Inc., and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research (gubernatorial appointee; treasure of venture capital fund). He is also a graduate of Leadership Florida (Cornerstone Class 22) and Florida Blue Key. Mr. Williams is admitted to the bar in both Florida and New York, and he speaks both advanced Spanish and functional Portuguese. A fifth-generation South Floridian, Mr. Williams, his wife of 30 years (Dr. Lorna Williams), and their two children reside in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Sign Up For Early Stage News And Updates

When you sign up for our mailing list, you'll receive News, Event Updates, and special offers!