Florida Venture Capital Conference Celebrates In-Person Return With Record-Setting Orlando Event
Partner organization Florida Venture Education Foundation recognizes three for outstanding contributions to Florida’s innovation ecosystem: Venture Leader of the year, Venture investor of the year, and Venture backed company of the year 
Orlando, Tampa and Miami, February 11, 2022- The Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, today announced the successful completion of its annual 2022 Florida Venture Capital Conference. The record-setting event, held February 8-9 in Orlando, was the 31st time the Forum had convened the conference – and set a recent-record for overall attendance.

We are so grateful for the record number of attendees who joined us for this year’s event, including our sponsors, presenters, staff and members, who worked so hard to create a safe, high-energy event,” said Carolyn Mathis, co-founder and partner of Harbor View Advisors and the Forum’s Board Chair. “We were particularly happy to see so many new faces – both recent Florida arrivals and industry colleagues from outside our state - at the event, a strong sign that Florida is very much on the map in the venture capital industry.” 

A new feature at the 2022 Conference was presentation of three awards to industry leaders by the Forum’s partner organization, The Florida Venture Education Foundation.  

The awards and winners were:
VENTURE LEADER OF THE YEAR
Jonathan Cole, co-founder of the Forum, co-founder of New World Angels, and a longtime business and corporate attorney, who has been an investor and advisor to thousands of Florida startups.
VENTURE INVESTOR OF THE YEAR
Jennifer Dunham, longtime Florida venture investor and partner with Arsenal Growth, and current vice-chair of the Forum, who led investment in three of 2021’s most successful transactions and exits. 
VENTURE BACKED COMPANY OF THE YEAR:
KnowBe4, a $4 Billion market cap cyber security company founded by Stu Sjouwerman, who continues to serve as the company’s CEO. Sjouwerman also served as keynote at the conference to share the KnowBe4 story.
2021 was a very strong year for venture in Florida so the VEF’s board had its work cut out for it in selecting these three award winners,” said Tim Cartwright, VEF board chair, Florida Venture Forum board member, chairman at Tamiami Angel Funds, and partner at Fifth Avenue Family Office. ” When we did the analysis and looked objectively at which people and companies moved the needle the most, our recipients became clear. We congratulate them all!”

This week’s conference attracted nearly 500 attendees from all over the US and the world, 20 presenters chosen by a committee of active venture investors from over 100 applicants, panel discussions on venture-related topics, and multiple networking events including the Forum’s annual “Women in Capital” event. 

The energy during and following this year’s event was palpable and noted by almost everyone in attendance,” said Kevin Burgoyne, president and CEO of the Forum. “It’s clear there is a huge pent-up desire to gather together – in person – and I want to congratulate our members and staff, including our vice president, Pat Schneider, who worked so hard to hold a flawless, safe, and record-setting event.” 

The Forum will announce the date and location of its 2022 annual Early Stage Capital Conference and next year’s 2023 Florida Venture Capital Conference in the coming weeks.
About the Florida Venture Education Foundation: The Florida Venture Education Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit entity that operates as a direct support organization in partnership with the Forum to drive participation from under-represented communities in the venture ecosystem, create awareness of the depth and breadth of the venture ecosystem in Florida, and support education, data analysis and research projects on venture activity and impact in the state of Florida. For more information please visit: FLVEF.org.

About the Florida Venture Capital Conference: For over 30 years the Florida Venture Forum has hosted the annual Florida Venture Capital Conference, the largest venture capital event in Florida and one of the largest in the United States. Each year the event draws a “who’s who” of venture capital industry players, including more than 200 investors from over 100 funds, venture debt providers, investment bankers, corporates, and professionals from law, accounting and other fields active in the innovation ecosystem. The 2022 conference, is on track to be the most well attended in the Forum’s history. For more information, visit: flventure.org

About the Florida Venture Forum: The Florida Venture Forum is Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, helping companies with headquarters, operations or supply chains in Florida connect with sources of capital from across the country. Since 1984 over 1,600 companies have presented at Forum events and have gone on to raise over $11B in equity capital and contribute well over $15B in economic value to Florida and beyond. The Forum’s 200+ members represent a “who’s who” of venture capital and private equity dealmakers, including and equity and debt investors at all stages, as well as major law, accounting, and investment banking firms, and large corporates active in the innovation ecosystem. The Forum provides programs statewide throughout the year in addition to hosting major annual conferences like the Florida Venture Capital Conference, the Statewide Collegiate Start Up Competition, the Early Stage Capital Conference, and industry-focused events including aerospace and healthcare. For more information, visit: www.flventure.org.