Now in fourth year, event brings together veterans and startupsSANTA ROSA – Entrepreneurs will gather on Oct. 20 as the North Bay Growth & Innovation Forum presents its ninth session since its first event in 2006.

Held at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel near Railroad Square, the award-winning half-day event brings together business leaders, venture capital investors and private funders, and the owners of startup or established companies wanting to polish their presentation skills and maybe attract some investment capital. The event is coproduced by the Santa Rosa Chamber, the city of Santa Rosa and the North Bay Angels.

Doug Clark of Santa Rosa’s new software company Metier will give the keynote.

Unusual this time will be featured speaker Andrew Griffiths of startup FindWatt telling about the pitfalls that await inexperienced entrepreneurs.

“I’ve been one since 1985, so I can talk about lessons learned,” said Mr. Griffiths, whose current company has presented at the NBGIF in the past.

FindWatt polishes online retailers’   sites to increase time spent on the site, sales and customer loyalty.

“Even big retailers like Amazon don’t realize the importance of search mechanisms to improve a shopper’s experience.

“In the same way, entrepreneurs, even the brilliant ones, often neglect the practical details that mean the difference between a successful company and a washout,” said Mr. Griffiths.

His own blunders include taking the position of CEO in a company that was paying his salary in lieu of payroll taxes.

“I was too young to pass up the position and too naive to know what was going on,” he said.

In addition to Mr. Griffiths' insights, the NBGIF will feature roundtable presentations on social media, financing, due diligence and negotiating for investments.

There will be poster exhibits by startups and growing companies and four 10-minute pitches from Eco-Top Wine Closures, Loring Smart Roast, Native Cloud Systems and Sunforce Solutions.

Panelists Rob Eyler of Sonoma State University, David Hehman of Spartina, Luc Arsenault of Moss Adams and Max Shapiro of People Connect Staffing will critique the presentations and declare a "best in show" winner.

To register, contact Janet Rogers at 707-545-1414 ext. 13.