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July 31, 2006

WOODSIDE FUND CHAIRS 18TH ANNUAL EARLY STAGE VENTURE CAPITAL ALLIANCE (ESVCA) CONFERENCE

Shane Robison, Hewlett-Packard’s Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Discusses Company’s Objectives Working with the Venture Community

July 31st, 2006 Redwood Shores, CA: The Early Stage Venture Capital Alliance (ESVCA) convened on June 29th, 2006, to discuss current investment pace, competition, valuations, portfolio management, and limited partner relations at the 18th Annual ESVCA Conference, held at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto. The ESVCA is a community of more than 150 leading early stage venture capitalists across the country that convenes annually to share common challenges and practices and share information on critical aspects of the venture capital business. Participant profiles this year ranged from Dick Kramlich, co-founder and general partner at New Enterprise Associates, which recently raised a $2.5 billion Fund XII, to Clint Chao, a former tech executive and first-time venture capitalist as a founding general partner at Formative Ventures, which raised its first fund of $77.5 million in 2005.

The conference maintains a strictly confidential atmosphere which allows venture capital managing directors to exchange ideas without restraint and share frank observations and insights on topics currently facing the venture capital industry. Vincent M. Occhipinti, co-founder and managing director of Woodside Fund and ESVCA chairman since 1990, commented that “the ESVCA annual conference offers a closed-door environment to share best practices and cover controversial topics that are not typically discussed outside of partnership meetings.”

The conference featured a keynote presentation by Shane Robison, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer of Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Robison’s presentation to the group of 35 early stage venture capitalists highlighted strategic areas of focus for Hewlett-Packard including the next-generation data center, always-connected mobility, and digital imaging and printing solutions. Mr. Robinson also shared insights into Hewlett-Packard’s newly revamped process for interacting with the venture community.

“ESVCA attendees share the same mission as Hewlett-Packard - to invest in groundbreaking technologies and services that drive business value, create social benefit, and ultimately improve the lives of end users,” said Shane Robison. “Given that Hewlett-Packard dedicates $3.5 billion annually to research and development targeting products, solutions and new technologies, it’s imperative that we create a partnership with the venture community to share research, validate trends, and identify promising opportunities.”

The 2006 ESVCA Conference XVIII Findings

The roundtable portion of the conference covered a wide range of topics and allowed fund managers to share best practices and insights on the current investment climate. Most discussion was “off the record;” however, some of the themes were:

Competition and Valuations: One partner suggested “it is the best time in the last 10 years to invest in early stage companies” based on an increase in later stage valuations while early stage valuations have remained relatively flat. Many commented on the disparity between sectors, with over-investment in some areas and good values in others. Others were concerned that some early stage companies are raising too much money too early.

Exits and Liquidity: Mergers and acquisitions continue to be the primary avenue for exits in the current environment. Many believed the high costs of Sarbanes Oxley made mergers and acquisitions a less risky and easier exit avenue for strong private companies.

Current Investment Focus: Internet, wireless, semiconductors and clean energy were cited by most funds as areas they were actively targeting for investments. Many funds shared their strategy of developing deep domain expertise in target sectors, while others preferred to be opportunistic.

Decision-Making Processes: There was a lively discussion on partnerships decision-making processes for investment opportunities. As early stage funds have grown in size, traditional consensus-based decision-making has been replaced by innovative voting systems to ensure ideas outside of the mainstream are considered.

Overall, the sentiment at the conference was positive. Mr. Occhipinti commented, “The mood of early stage investors has improved each year over the past four years.”

 
Shane Robison Biography

Shane Robison is responsible for shaping Hewlett Packard's overall corporate strategy and technology agenda. He steers the company's $3.5 billion research and development investment and fosters the development of the company's global technical community Robison leads the company's strategy and corporate development efforts including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, intellectual property licensing, venture capital community, and partnerships.

Robison was senior vice president and chief technology officer of Strategy and Technology at Compaq Computer Corporation. Prior to joining Compaq, Robison was president of Internet Technology and Development at AT&T Labs. Prior to AT&T, Robison was executive vice president, Research and Development, and then served as president of the Design Productivity Group at Cadence Design Systems, the world's leading supplier of electronic design products and services. Robison also spent seven years at Apple Computer Corporation, where he managed research on a wide range of architectures and multimedia technologies. Robison is a graduate of the University of Utah, from which he received bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science.

About Woodside Fund
Woodside Fund is a leading venture capital firm that excels in developing early-stage technology companies. Founded in 1983, Woodside Fund attributes its long record of success to the high value it places on building productive partnerships with entrepreneurs, other investors and service providers. Typically a lead investor, Woodside Fund invests from $5 million to $10 million in early-stage software, semiconductor and network infrastructure companies located primarily on the West Coast. Woodside Fund has approximately $330 million in committed capital under active management. For more information, go to www.woodsidefund.com.

About the Early Stage Venture Capital Alliance (ESVCA)
Founded in 1988, ESVCA is a community of more than 150 early stage venture capitalists who gather together to share common challenges, practices and information on their ever-evolving business environment. While the venture community had plenty of CEO forums and conferences, none existed for early stage venture capitalists. The original idea of ESVCA was to create an exclusive atmosphere where managing partners of early stage venture capital firms could exchange candid observations and information on the most sensitive topics facing the industry. Today the ESVCA strictly maintains the same atmosphere that fosters effective communication among its members and is committed to promoting shared and secure information between the most critical resources to today's sophisticated early stage ventures.

 

For all press related questions or comments, please contact Carole Sinclair at caroles@woodsidefund.com
or phone 925.818.1038.

www.woodsidefund.com

 

 

                                      
 

 

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