Stanford has long been synonymous with industry-leading director education conferences. Coming up in March, another sought-after event is on the calendar: Venture Capital Directors’ College, “VCDC,” the Director’s College for Venture-Backed Company Directors.
Not to be missed, this one-day event presents an agenda focused on timely issues for venture-backed businesses, with a special focus on what I’d loosely term “Silicon Valley” issues.
I’ll have the pleasure of speaking this year at VCDC on the topic of building better boards. No high-profile, pre-IPO company wants to be tagged as “pale and stale.” Such a description can be a distraction, and shareholders may be underserved as well. My fellow panelists and I will be discussing strategies to build more diverse boards of directors – including empaneling more women and minorities – in addition to empaneling board members who possess the evolving skill sets required to take a company from startup to the IPO or sale.
Other interesting topics at VCDC include:
- The Changing Ecology in the Valley: Hedge Funds, Private Equity and Strategics
- Secondary Liquidity for Founders and Employees
- Crisis Planning and Management for VC Firms
- IPOs, Governance Structures and the Rising Power of the Founders
- Fiduciary Duties and Conflicts of Interests in Silicon Valley
One of the big themes of VCDC last year was the landmark case in the area of fiduciary duty and conflict of interest, Trados. In Trados, the sale of a venture-backed company that didn’t go public led to an eight-year dispute in court. The issue was the allegation by the common stock holders, who received nothing, that VC-board members had conflicts of interest. It’s a tough case and a cautionary tale. In addition to recapping what we’ve learned post-Trados, VCDC is sure to discuss a more recent and analogous case in the context of a recapitalization, Nine Systems.
It’s not uncommon for conflicts of interest to arise in the Silicon Valley business ecosystem, where companies and their Ds and Os are so closely tied with one another.
So the discussion at VCDC on this matter – as well as some of the other fascinating topics on the agenda – should prove to be worthwhile.
For more information or to join us at VCDC on March 6, go to the event website.
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