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SLO firms make their pitch

By   /   Friday, November 7th, 2008  /   Comments Off on SLO firms make their pitch

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It wasn’t too long ago that Kevin Rice and Jesse Dundon were students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. But Oct. 29, they found themselves in Pismo Beach, pitching WiHire, their tech start-up, to author and venture capitalist George Gilder.

The chance came with Softec and the Economic Vitality Corp.’s first Tech Venture Capital Roundup. The dinner event gave four San Luis Obispo County-based tech companies – WiHire, TekTegrity, eBridge International and DropIn Development – a chance to pitch their firms to Gilder and a panel of investors that included Jo Anne Miller of San Francisco-based Milk Street Ventures.

Hanging over the evening was the cautious mood that has taken over Silicon Valley’s venture capital community in recent weeks. Investments have been down, and in October, influential venture firm Sequoia Capital leaked a report titled “R.I.P. Good Times.”

The leak predicted rough waters ahead for start-ups and the venture capitalists who fund them. It advised the firm’s portfolio CEOs to raise money fast, build a strong cash reserve and snag lucrative exits where they can.
But none of that slowed the entrepreneurs pitching in Pismo.

Rice and Dundon’s WiHire went first. WiHire is a multimedia social networking platform designed to help companies target and recruit prospective employees from colleges.

WiHire aims to help companies connect with campus groups like engineering honor societies and accounting clubs. Revenue would come from charging companies to reside in the social networks, and Rice and Dundon said they already have five campuses in their crosshairs, starting with Cal Poly.

After raising $50,000 in angel money in January and getting its network up and running, WiHire asked for $300,000 to establish presences on those campuses.

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