Keynote by Raydiance founder Schuler; cars, cab and startup pitches

[caption id="attachment_26651" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Fancy cars and high-end cabernet will be part of the North Bay Investment Summit."][/caption]

ROHNERT PARK – High-end cabernet and cars will be sideshows at the second North Bay Investor Summit, an event its sponsors hope will attract capital to aspiring startups in the area.

About 200 accredited investors – confirmed by the Securities Exchange Commission as having a net worth of at least $1 million not including homes – will be converging on Rohnert Park this Wednesday as invited guests of the fanciest Investor Forum ever planned for the region.

“We’re gathering together a demographic that you don’t often find in one place at a time,” said Michael Newell, executive director of the Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster, an incubator at the Sonoma Mountain Village.

The Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster and the North Bay Angels and Keiretsu Forum investment groups are producing the event with sponsorship from Silicon Valley Bank and Moss Adams.

Barry Schuler, CEO of Raydiance in Petaluma and former CEO of AOL, will be the keynote speaker, and 10 aspiring startups, most from the North Bay, will vie for attention with an eye-popping array of high-end automobiles.

Tesla with a test-drive model, Lamborghini, Mercedes Gullwing, Fantasy Junction brokers and ClubSportiva are among the automotive sponsors. ZAP Electric Motors will have its X-Prize entrant there.

“And what goes as well with beautiful cars but great cabernets from five of the best North Bay wine makers? Our intent is to showcase the area as an innovation center as well as a wonderful place to live and work,” said Dr. Newell.

The business cluster was recently named an Innovation Hub by the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, one of six in the state.

“Now it’s up to us to bring in venture capital, which is the best way to launch a successful small business and bring jobs to the area. We want this summit to change people’s perception of the North Bay, especially people from other business areas like Silicon Valley,” said Dr. Newell.