7 Startups From Silicon Valley’s Favorite Demo Day`

Seven New Startups From Silicon Valley’s Favorite New Demo Day

For the second time in its two-year history, in a small space that’s easy to miss on a leafy Palo Alto street, the boutique venture firm Pejman Mar brought together seven startups yesterday to present their fledgling ideas to some of the best early-stage investors in the startup industry. Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital was there, as were local investors Jeff Clavier, Manu Kumar, and Kent Goldman. There was also a contingent of bearded VCs, who’d driven over from their respective Sand Hill Road firms. “It looks like we dressed each other today,” joked one to another who was wearing a similar shirt. The investors had come partly because the presenting teams all have ties to Stanford. Some of them haven’t graduated. Others have advanced engineering degrees. Almost all camp out regularly at Pejman Mar’s simple but cheery offices, batting around ideas and, sometimes, receiving a $15,000 to $25,000 convertible note from Pejman Mar in the process. The investors had also come because the founders of Pejman Mar – Mar Hershenson, a serial entrepreneur from Spain, and Pejman Nozad, a former rug dealer known for his networking and smart bets like Dropbox — “invest in real relationships and not just deals,” said one VC yesterday. Specifically, he said, Pejman Mar will often show his firm deals that it thinks will interest his colleagues, including prior to its demo days. (The firm reciprocates by sending interesting startups that are too early for its mandate to Pejman Mar). “There isn’t this shroud of secrecy around the teams they’re working with,” chimed in another investor. Yet another attraction for the VCs: an afternoon that’s refreshingly intimate by current standards. Yesterday, there were no more than 60 people gathered, and at least a third of them were involved in the startups that were […]