The Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, today announced the successful completion of its annual 2022 Florida Venture Capital Conference. The record-setting event, held February 8-9 in Orlando, was the 31st time the Forum had convened the conference – and set a recent-record for overall attendance.
“We are so grateful for the record number of attendees who joined us for this year’s event, including our sponsors, presenters, staff and members, who worked so hard to create a safe, high-energy event,” said Carolyn Mathis, co-founder and partner of Harbor View Advisors and the Forum’s Board Chair. “We were particularly happy to see so many new faces – both recent Florida arrivals and industry colleagues from outside our state – at the event, a strong sign that Florida is very much on the map in the venture capital industry.”
A new feature at the 2022 Conference was presentation of three awards to industry leaders by the Forum’s partner organization, The Florida Venture Education Foundation.
The awards and winners were:
VENTURE LEADER OF THE YEAR
Jonathan Cole, co-founder of the Forum, co-founder of New World Angels, and a longtime business and corporate attorney, who has been an investor and advisor to thousands of Florida startups.
VENTURE INVESTOR OF THE YEAR
Jennifer Dunham, longtime Florida venture investor and partner with Arsenal Growth, and current vice-chair of the Forum, who led investment in three of 2021’s most successful transactions and exits.
VENTURE BACKED COMPANY OF THE YEAR:
KnowBe4, a $4 Billion market cap cyber security company founded by Stu Sjouwerman, who continues to serve as the company’s CEO. Sjouwerman also served as keynote at the conference to share the KnowBe4 story.
“2021 was a very strong year for venture in Florida so the VEF’s board had its work cut out for it in selecting these three award winners,” said Tim Cartwright, VEF board chair, Florida Venture Forum board member, chairman at Tamiami Angel Funds, and partner at Fifth Avenue Family Office. ” When we did the analysis and looked objectively at which people and companies moved the needle the most, our recipients became clear. We congratulate them all!”
This week’s conference attracted nearly 500 attendees from all over the US and the world, 20 presenters chosen by a committee of active venture investors from over 100 applicants, panel discussions on venture-related topics, and multiple networking events including the Forum’s annual “Women in Capital” event.
“The energy during and following this year’s event was palpable and noted by almost everyone in attendance,” said Kevin Burgoyne, president and CEO of the Forum. “It’s clear there is a huge pent-up desire to gather together – in person – and I want to congratulate our members and staff, including our vice president, Pat Schneider, who worked so hard to hold a flawless, safe, and record-setting event.”
The Forum will announce the date and location of its 2022 annual Early Stage Capital Conference and next year’s 2023 Florida Venture Capital Conference in the coming weeks.