Invest Southwest Executive Director, Karen Katzorke, talks with Invest Southwest Board Treasurer, Dave Bittner.
Dave played volleyball at Penn State University, so he brings that energy and teamwork to the floor to rally support for Invest Southwest and to set many plays in motion. When he is not counting beans, Dave coaches and serves on the Board for his two sons’ Little League team. He travels every year with them. Dave is well known for helping companies perfect their elevator pitch, “We sell (blank) to (blank) who want (blank). Unlike (blank), we (blank).” To find out more about pitching, view the Get Ready Seminar video.
Karen: How long have you been involved in Invest Southwest, and how many years on the BOD?
Dave: I’ve been a sponsor of Invest Southwest, participating on the Steering Committee, since 2003. In 2006, I served as Chairman of the organization. After my term, I moved to the Board of Directors on which I’ve been a member for several years.
Karen: How did you/your organization become involved in Invest Southwest?
Dave: In the research I did to prepare to expand my firm, Beanstalk CFO Group , to Arizona, I discovered that the Arizona Venture Capital Conference, the predecessor to Invest Southwest, was the most relevant event and association in the local venture ecosystem. So, I introduced myself to its leaders and offered to invest time and capital.
Karen: What did you learn from your experience serving on the Invest Southwest BOD?
Dave: I came to understand that there is more venture infrastructure here in the Phoenix area than many people think.
Karen: What is your fondest memory of serving on the Invest Southwest BOD?
Dave: Being part of the team that led the organization through a total reconsideration of its vision and formulation of a new path forward.
Karen: What benefits are there to serving on the Invest Southwest BOD?
Dave: Getting to know great people in the local entrepreneurial economy.
Karen: What has been the most significant change of Invest Southwest since you were involved with Invest Southwest?
Dave: The increase in the quality of companies presenting.
Karen: How can others become engaged in serving with Invest Southwest?
Dave: The best way to make an impact with the organization and to reap the benefits thereof is to sponsor, then mentor, and attend events.
Karen: What is your number one piece of advice to someone considering serving on the Invest Southwest BOD?
Dave: The more active one’s participation is, the more rewards that will accrue.
Karen: Any other fun or interesting facts about you that we could share?
Dave: People in the ISW community call me and my team at Beanstalk the most entrepreneurial beancounters they’ve ever met.
Dave Bittner is the Founder and President of Beanstalk CFO Group, a pioneer of the CFO services concept. Since 1995, he’s assisted some of Arizona’s fastest-growing tech companies as well as hundreds of other high-growth businesses. Mr. Bittner was formerly at Price Waterhouse, where he helped clients raise more than $1B in equity capital. He is also a charter member of several angel investment groups where he’s served as a Board member and past Chairman
Since spring of 2011, Karen Katzorke has served as Executive Director of the Invest Southwest. Prior to this role, she was Program Specialist for the ASU Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, and she worked with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce with a focus on the Arizona Venture Capital Conference. She is experienced with early to mid-stage life science and technology entrepreneurs, assisting companies with access to capital and other expansion and growth needs.
Are you ready to help propagate the Arizona startup scene? Invest Southwest is currently accepting applications through June 16, 2016, for BOD nominations. For information and application click here.