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Open Invitation: Investors, Meet Our Investable Innovators

As part of the Lean Startup Circle Boston’s meetup group, I (Bobbie Carlton) was one of the people who received Abby Fichtner’s note warning entrepreneurs away from paying for access to investors.  The note specifically called out the Young Startup Ventures upcoming event.
I have a huge amount of sympathy for people trying to make a living by throwing events.  It’s hard work (and is NOT what I do for my day job, I do it nights and weekends.  Call me crazy but I chose to run Mass Innovation Nights' grassroots events in my spare time, trying to help innovators get the word out, connect with their community and each other.) It's also a great new business driver for Carlton PR & Marketing.  (It's not entirely selfless.)
There are a plethora of expenses associated with corporate events that attendees don’t see and can't really appreciate.  (Yes, there is a $5000 charge for AV.  Yes, the coffee service inside a convention hall costs $23/per person. Yes, you have to pay for security, wireless, rugs, license fees and bartenders, and so much more.)  It’s a tough business.
But entrepreneurs paying for access to investors rubs people the wrong way.  It’s like charging a hungry person for a chance at a meal. While simultaneously feeding others for free.
Boston’s investors are not hard to find.  They aren’t the shy retiring types.  They hold office hours. They attend events.  Their websites offer ways to submit information if you are a “toss it over the transom type” (not recommended but hey, you never know.)
But time is the most precious resource an entrepreneur has, and scooting around to various events, chasing down individual meetings and dialing for introductions takes time.  Time away from growing the business. Like anything, if the target market is all in one place at one time, you do have a better chance of getting that all important “chance.” Is paying for access to investors worth it? Maybe.  Only you can make that decision. 
My suggestion? Consider attending the UnConference tomorrow.  Or Venture Café next week.  Or the 128 Innovation Capital events. Or, The Capital Network. Or any of the other events around town where investors are, for free or for a nominal fee.  
Investors (VCs and Angels), if you want to meet investable entrepreneurs, there are lots of options.  Here’s just one that some of you have already discovered but it bears repeating. I am happy to report that over the past four+ years, Mass Innovation Nights companies have collected a combined $650 million in funding ($150M more than when we last reported in May). 
Every single month we showcase 10 new products.  Yeah, that’s a total of almost 600. These are the companies you may be looking for -- we have all different industries.  These are companies that have produced a product already.  They are working on achieving traction.  And, a large percentage of them are looking for funding when they walk through our doors. 
If you want an official role, I’m happy to set aside a place for you in our Experts Corner.  Sign up now.  Or, just come and walk around - RSVP here.  Meet the entrepreneurs. See a demo.  Watch the excitement.  Our next event will be at GameOn at Fenway on Tuesday, November 12 and I’ll buy you a beer.  Or you can buy me one (preferred drink Diet Coke or just an ice water, thanks), because we don’t charge the entrepreneurs. And, to be fair, we also don't guarantee your presence. Only you can do that.