Venture and Acquisition Funding: It’s a New Game!

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Have you heard about recent exits in which start-ups have been acquired for several million dollars within a couple of years of founding with little or no outside investment? Or clean energy start-ups that can’t raise the millions needed to grow their business? Or a game company that sold for hundreds of millions of dollars with relatively little VC participation? What’s going on? 

Join us as Rebecca Lovell, Chief Business Officer at GeekWire, moderates our panel of industry insiders including:

  • Frank Artale, Partner, Ignition Partners
  • Tom Duterme, Corporate Development Director, Groupon
  • Andy Sack, Co-founder of Lighter Capital, Judy's Book and several acquired tech companies
  • Dan Shapiro, Kept Entrepreneur at Google

Our panelists will tell us where acquisition and venture money is coming from today, including specific deals. They will explain new venture funding models such as revenue financing and incubators that offer mentors, connections to investors, and significant cash. More importantly, they will provide a framework for understanding how funding in the Northwest has been transformed by increased capital efficiency, technological development, and the global economic malaise, as well as explain the impact on entrepreneurs and funders, such as angels, VCs, and corporations.  

Audience Takeaways

Audience members will learn:

  • Details of recent Northwest exits and financings
  • What has changed in the last two years
  • About the explosion in new ventures and trends in capital efficiency
  • What acquirers and investors are looking for today
  • What is hard to fund and why
  • About new venture funding models such as revenue financing and incubators with advisors, connections to investors and cash


Rebecca LovellRebecca Lovell is the Chief Business Officer for GeekWire, managing sales, operations, community partnerships, and events for the hottest and only Seattle-based independent tech news site. She isn't a VC, but teaches a class on the topic at the UW Foster MBA program.  Her previous dream jobs included running the Northwest Entrepreneur Network and the Alliance of Angels.  Prior to going back to school for her graduate degree, she spent over a decade in the corporate world, in management and biz dev roles, and is happy she came to her senses. She currently serves as a mentor for Tech Stars and Founder Institute, a Community Advisor to Startup Weekend, and board director for NWEN. A phi beta kappa, Rebecca earned her BA in History from Carleton College and her MBA and Husky alumni status from the University of Washington, where she was recognized as a Dean's Scholar and McGowan scholar.  Above all, she believes in doing well by doing good, and is endlessly devoted to startups, tech, and karaoke.


Frank ArtaleAs a partner at Ignition Partners in Seattle, Frank Artale leverages over 26 years of experience in the software industry, including experience at Citrix Systems where he was Group VP responsible for all aspects of Citrix’s business development with software and hardware technology partners.  Frank joined Citrix from XenSource where he was responsible for strategic marketing and business development. Prior to XenSource, Artale was a founder and CEO of Consera Software, a management software company, which was acquired by HP in 2004. Before founding Consera, Frank was Vice President of the Windows Solutions Group for VERITAS Software, where he oversaw overall product strategy of the Windows targeted solutions. He also held the position of General Manager in the Windows 2000 group at Microsoft Corporation, one of the many and varied product management and sales positions he held during his nine-year career with the company.  Frank attended Polytechnic Institute of New York as a Board of Trustees Scholar where he studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Frank is Chairman of the Board at Open Kernel Labs, and serves as a director or advisor at BlueStacks, Bromium, DNN.corp, ScaleXtreme, Skytap, Cloudera, Couchbase, Centrify Software and AppFirst..

Thomas DuterneThomas Duterme leads Groupon's corporate development efforts in the bay area.  Previously, he held both corporate development and business development positions at Google.  Prior to working at Google, Tom spent 7 years in China and helped launch two companies in the consumer internet and advisory spaces in China, playing the role of CTO and head of sales for both ventures. Tom graduated with a degree in physics from Macalester College. He also has an MBA from the MIT Sloan of Management. He speaks Mandarin and French and is working on his Japanese these days.


Andy SackAndy Sack has over 15 years’ experience running and investing in high tech businesses.  Most recently Andy co-founded Lighter Capital to use revenue-based finance to disrupt the small business lending industry. Andy is also the Managing Director of TechStars Seattle and a Managing Partner of Founder’s Co-op. Prior to Lighter Capital, Andy was the co-founder and CEO of Judy’s Book, a local search social network. Prior to founding Judy’s Book in 2004, Andy co-founded three successful Internet technology companies: Kefta, a leading provider of real-time customer interaction solutions (acquired in 2007 by Axciom); Abuzz, an enterprises knowledge management solution that was named number one in the Internet software category by Red Herring Magazine and the top company to work for by Boston Magazine (acquired by New York Times Digital in 1999); and Firefly Network, an Internet company that pioneered internet personalization technologies (acquired by Microsoft). Andy also spent time as an entrepreneur in residence for SOFTBANK Venture Capital (now Mobius VC) where he founded and served on the board of three companies: BodyShop Digital, Quova, and Kefta.  Andy received his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1990, and his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Andy was also a founder and board member of Students for Responsible Business, and is a regular lecturer at the University of Washington Business School.

Dan Shapiro works at Google following the acquisition of his most recent company, Sparkbuy Inc. Dan was the founder and CEO of Sparkbuy, a comparison shopping website that offered unprecedented depth and accuracy of information through a simple and innovative user interface.  Previously, Shapiro was founder and CEO of Ontela, a pioneering mobile imaging company, which was frequently recognized including the Dow Jones Top 10 in Wireless list, receiving the CTIA award for Best Social Networking Application. Ontela merged with Photobucket in December of 2009 where Shapiro now holds a seat on the Board of Directors. Prior to founding Ontela, Shapiro managed development of the RealArcade service at RealNetworks. He arrived at RealNetworks by way of Wildseed, where he managed software development for the Identity Cellular Phone. Shapiro started his career at Microsoft working on Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.  He serves on the board of Bonanzle, the board of the Washington Technology Industry Association and acts as a mentor for both the Founder's Institute and Techstars. Dan has been awarded five US patents, and received his B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.

For sponsorship and partnership opportunities: Please contact Fortunato Vega at

Event schedule

5:00 - 6:15 pm – Networking / cash bar /

6:15 - 8:00 pm – Panel discussion

8:00 - 8:15 pm – Q&A 

Parking information

Although complimentary parking is available outside the venue, it is limited for the number of guests we are expecting for this event. Please consider arriving early, carpooling, or taking the bus (lines # 25, 43, 48, 167 and 545). Below are some additional parking options: 

Please note that our early bird rate expires at 5:00 pm on January 20. Online registration will automatically close at 5:00 pm on January 24. Unless the event is already sold out, walk-ins are welcome on event night ($60 at the door).

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 1:00am