With the always increasing number of new businesses and technologies revolutionising every industry, the exchange of knowledge, resources and investment is vital for progress.
We would like to share a chat with Steve Torso, co-founder and Managing Director at Wholesale Investor and the Emergence Conference, an event which aims to bring businesses and investors together to help with the investment phase of new and growing businesses.
“Over the last 5 years, we have watched the interest in innovation expand rapidly. At the same time, it also become more and more fragmented. We wanted to place a spotlight on what we noted as some of the key drivers and people of the space.”
Tell us a little about yourself?
I co-founded Wholesale Investor in 2008 with Reuben Buchanan to provide a way for high net worth investors to get access to early stage companies. It is a week I will never forget because as we were launching, the Dow Jones was dropping nearly 20%. At that time, it was obvious that the market was quite fragmented with no central place for investors to discover deals and news related to those companies.
I am passionate about creating opportunities whether that’s a single introduction or introducing a company to an investor who will change their trajectory and growth for the better – everything we do is aimed at playing our part in creating a better ecosystem.
For me no one was focussed in making the capital raising journey as easy as possible and from this vision Wholesale Investor was born.
What is Wholesale Investor? How are you different from other VCs?
Wholesale Investor does not invest as a VC would. What we do is, connect Emerging Growth companies from a range of sectors and stages, with a growing, global and active network of 21,500+ professional and High Net Worth Investors. We do this via 2 main platforms. Online, where we see 70% to 80% of our engagement and then Offline at our live investors events.
Our network is represented by private HNW’s, Venture Capital, Funds, Private Equity firms, Family Offices, Institutions, Angel Investors, Investment Banks, Blockchain and Crypto funds, Investment professionals and Institutional Investors.
An important part of what we do is distribution of significant news and announcements related to the growth of the company. This is vital, as you never know, what will be an important trigger for investors.
Why did you set up the Emergence Conference? What are the goals for the conference?
Emergence is the embodiment of Wholesale Investors mission. Over the last 5 years, we have watched the interest in innovation expand rapidly. At the same time, it also become more and more fragmented. We wanted to place a spotlight on what we noted as some of the key drivers and people of the space. It was can bring the entire ecosystem under one roof, be attendees founders, directors, CEO’s, corporate and industry or government enablers, then we will be able to assist in creating and enabling more opportunities.
Emergence will feature:
- Up to 120 deals
- 50+ showcasing companies
- 35+ guest speakers
- Access 1500+ investors, founders, directors and CEOs attending
- Learn from 10+ education sessions
- 4 jam packed days of deal making, networking, private functions and investment across two cities
- Explore 2 of the most innovative Australian cities Brisbane and Sydney
Emergence sets out to open avenues of opportunity where there otherwise would be none, set out to connect all corners of the Australasian ecosystem.
Emergence aims to assist more founders in accessing capital and investment groups, bringing key investment groups and thought leaders on capital raising from Asia and the UK to Australia for the week long conference.
With strategic sponsorships and partnerships Emergence aims to create more networking, the sharing of best practice and up-skilling on investment and capital raising for the ecosystem. See partners here.
Why the focus on emerging technology and innovation ecosystems?
Promoting opportunities for early stage companies, small to medium sized enterprises, emerging technology and start-ups, and public ASX listed companies too, it’s our vision to encourage easier capital raising, networking and opportunity seizing in order to promote a big picture vision and create longevity for our ecosystem in the future.
Many of these companies have the potential to change the way we live, work and play in society for the better. We are passionate about smarter cities technologies, smarter banking technologies and technologies which contribute to better living and working environments as our society evolves.
How have you sourced your speakers? Can you share some of the highlights?
Many of our speakers share the vision and mission of Emergence. Many of them have been through the arduous process of raising capital for their businesses that have all gone on to create a big difference in our ecosystem.
The nice thing about what we do, is that some of the wealthiest people we deal with, are also some of the most generous when it comes to opportunities to building the ecosystem. We are fortunate that we have a voice and they can leverage off our platform to assist in sharing their knowledge and insights.
Some of our speakers are representing our sponsors and partners who again align with this vision and mission expressed above.
Where do you see the tech industry moving in the next 12 months?
It is scary to say, but the pace of innovation will simply keep increasing. On the crypto side, 2019 holds a lot of promise for more the rise of Security Tokens and the corresponding issuance and trading platforms. Other key areas of focus will be Stable coins and of course custody for Institutional Crypto investors.
From a sector standpoint, right now the we are also seeing strong interest in investment opportunities in e-gaming, Advanced Technology, platform plays and also Life Science companies.
What’s next for Wholesale Investor?
In 2018 we hosted 42 events in 6 different countries and 12 different cities. Our ecosystem has now grown to 21,500.
2019 is an important year for us. We will be launching our new platform. The focus of the platform is simple, make capital raising more efficient from the company and investor perspective.
Secondly, we will be announcing shortly our plans for the Secondary Market, STO’s and Digital Assets and Currencies. We have done a lot of work on this over the last 9 months, so excited to be finally executing.
Whether you’re a founder, an investor or someone looking to get involved in this space, there’s something in Emergence for everyone, I would love to see you there and connect, access complimentary tickets here: Sydney and Brisbane.
Thank you, Steve!