Capital & Connections: The FUND Conference makes its Texas debut

FUND Conference, RJ Padura

So many conferences. So little time. With so many cool events scheduled to take place in Texas this year, how do you know which should be on your radar?

Have no fear. Your friends at Launch DFW are here with the must-attend shows you don’t want to miss this year. Consider us your cool conference tour guide as we’ll be reporting live at some of the hottest events this year.

Up next? The FUND Conference, which makes its Texas debut next week in Austin.

THE FUND AT A GLANCE

What: The nation’s connector of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, and industry experts with a focus on curated deal flow, captivating content and same day connections.

When: April 25 – April 26, 2018

April 25: Women Investing In Women, 8:30am – 2:00pm, Deloitte Austin

In 2017, female entrepreneurs received only 2% of all Venture Capital Investment. In 2018, this disparity will shift, and the catalyst will come from women supporting each other. This seminar will provide resources for and support female entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders as they seek to grow and scale their businesses. Registration includes access to the FUND Conference held Thursday, April 26, 2018 in Austin, TX.

April 26th: The Main Event, 8:00am – 5:00pm, Fairmount Austin

Check out the incredible lineup of speakers here.

Attend: Grab a pass for the main event ($225) here. (Women Investing In Women is now sold out!)

Still curious about this newbie to the Texas conference scene? We got a chance to chat with the FUND’s fearless leader, RJ Pahura, who shared why he created the event and what makes the FUND so special. Read on…

FUND Chicago

The FUND Conference originated in Chicago? How did it get started? What was the impetus in bringing it to Texas?

The FUND Conference originally started in Chicago four years ago. We started it because there wasn’t a platform of connection that we saw between entrepreneurs and investors. There are millions of events, conferences and meetups every day, week, month and year. FUND Conference is the million and one. We differentiate ourselves by being the single source platform connecting entrepreneurs, investors and they people they do business with. Additionally, we provide the most relevant content pertinent to the early stage space. After three successful years in Chicago, we did extensive research on additional expansion cities. It was between three cities and Austin took the crown. There is a tremendous amount of talent, capital and opportunity here in Texas. Our main goal with FUND is to continue to own the central U.S. and let the coastal money come to us. And this is exactly what we’ve seen happen as a result.

As a Chicago-based company, our team initially wondered how the conference would be received here in Texas. What has surprised me the most in this entire experience has been the overwhelming support from everyone in this state. Everyone we’ve encountered has offered help, to make introductions, etc. Texas has been great to us.

We believe in getting back to the handshake. RJ Pahura

What’s your background? Why are you passionate about bringing the FUND conference to the community? 

I’m originally from Kansas City, Missouri. I moved to Chicago 12 years ago for work and just stayed. Before the FUND, I worked in early stage investing banking, private placements, and advisory services. I helped companies prepare for their first round of funding. Over time, I began to amass a huge network of entrepreneurs and investors and thought I needed to do something to bring them together. I hosted the first FUND four years ago. Over 900 people showed up and my team and I quickly realized that we’ve got something here. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be in the conference business! But it’s been an awesome, cool thing to be a part of; to meet people from different areas. There is nothing better than hearing success stories weeks, months and years later from people who have been in attendance. So many companies have received investments, been acquired, and now have business relationships they wouldn’t have had previously. That’s incredibly powerful and rewarding to me, and although we are a for-profit company, there is definitely a social impact there that we are filling.

For someone new to FUND, what can they can expect when they attend? Also, are there any other plans to expand outside of Austin and Chicago?

I always explain to people there are several, different aspects about the FUND. However, the main thing is that the conference is a place to find your next investor, your next partner, your next LP, your next customer, etc. The FUND drives commerce between all the different parties involved. We believe in getting back to the handshake, and at the end of the day, it’s THE place to attend if you’re an entrepreneur or investor – particularly in the early stage space.

As for expanding to other cities, we’d love to see the FUND take place in three major cities in the central U.S.; exciting, destination cities that you want to get on a plane and visit. We don’t have an exact date yet, but we do know that we’ll definitely be returning to Austin next spring.

Is there anything else you’d like Launch DFW readers to know about the conference?

#JoinTheFUND and don’t miss out this year. The FOMO is REAL! 🙂

 

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