The Gainesville Area Innovation Network and TiE Tampa held a business-pitch event on Monday at Santa Fe College.
Kunal Jain, the president of TiE Tampa, worked with GAIN to bring Kanwal Rekhi, an angel investor from Silicon Valley with 53 direct startup investments through TiE to Gainesville so that a handful of Gainesville’s startups could have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to the billionaire in the hope that he would decide to invest in their idea.
The 15 competitors – eTect, Quantitative Medicine, iFishEarth, Comm-N-Sense, Sumar, Sharkfin Smarthelmets, Transure, iMediaResearch, LifeNet, Eatable, peerFit, Kinwa, OwnForce, Subhash Helmet Design and SpectrumDynamix – gave two-minute pitches to Rekhi and several other investors in attendance.
Rekhi also gave a short speech about the importance of entrepreneurship and giving back to the startup community through mentorship and funding. Rekhi himself started his career in the early ‘70s, and after being laid off three times, seeing a man he trained start his own business and realizing that he was never going to be promoted to a managerial position at the job he was at, he said he realized that he should only stay at a job as long as it’s fun and profitable, and not a moment longer.
“Getting laid off three times was best thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “Don’t rely on a job. You’re putting your destiny in someone else’s hands.”
See pictures from the event at our Facebook page: http://goo.gl/sJnpsC