No cash, but venture forum still had payoff

They didn't come back with cash to advance their startup technology-based companies.

But officials of two Wichita companies selected to present in the region's biggest venture capital conference said they did capture the interest of some venture capitalists.

Nitride Solutions and Integrated Media Group were among 44 companies pitching their business plans to investors at the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum in St. Louis last week. They were selected from a field of more than 110 companies applying to present at the conference, which is in its 11th year.

Jeremy Jones, CEO of Nitride Solutions, said he went into the conference expecting to "reinforce" existing relationships with venture capitalists and make new ones.

"I would say that out of that conference we got one direct follow-up with people who are interested in investing" and leads on four angel investing firms that might be interested in investing, Jones said.

Jones' company is commercializing a manufacturing process for aluminum nitride, a material used in next-generation light-emitting diodes.

Jason Opat, president and owner of Integrated Media Group, said his company's participation in the conference was helpful because it "tells us people are interested in the product and it helps validate our going to market."

After the company's 10 minute presentation to investors, Opat set up equipment to demonstrate IMG's autonomous sales kiosks that feature gesture technology.

In 3 1/2 hours, he said he gave demonstrations to between 50 and 60 people attending the conference.

"We felt like we came out of it very strong," Opat said.