May 10, 2000

Alston & Bird to Sponsor "Southeast Investment Conference For Early Stage Private Companies" - Partner Tom Carter to Chair and Speak at Conference

With the April sell-off in technology stocks and continued volatility in that sector, potential investors in Internet, “dot-coms” and other emerging growth companies have become increasingly cautious. No longer are “hot ideas” and the promise of market share enough to gain investor attention. Investors are now demanding that dot-com and other start ups have the potential to generate revenue and become profitable within a reasonable time period, making it all the more difficult for companies seeking early stage financing to obtain funding from venture capitalists and other private and public investors.

In this difficult climate it is increasingly critical for companies seeking early stage investment to understand what potential investors are looking for, so they can develop business strategies and presentations that address these concerns. Responding to this need, “The Second Annual Southeast Investment Conference for Early Stage Private Companies,” to be held May 31 – June 1 at the Swisshotel Buckhead in Atlanta, GA, will provide a timely opportunity for early stage e-commerce and technology entrepreneurs in the Southeast to meet directly with venture capitalists, merchant bankers and investment bankers from all parts of the U.S.

Alston & Bird will chair and is a lead sponsor of the conference, which will be presented by the American Electronics Association, in conjunction with VentureOne Corporation. AEA and VentureOne bring together both sides of the “technology entrepreneur/investor” equation. — With approximately 3,000 member companies, AEA is the largest technology trade association in the U.S. VentureOne is the world’s leading information and research firm dedicated to the venture capital industry. As a lead sponsor, Alston & Bird has been instrumental in developing the program, identifying and qualifying presenting companies, and coordinating key speakers and participants.

Commenting on Alston & Bird’s active involvement in the conference,
W. Thomas (Tom) Carter III, partner in Alston & Bird’s Technology Practice Group, stated “As one of the nation’s leading e-commerce and technology law firms, Alston & Bird is at the forefront of cutting-edge issues in every aspect of e-commerce and technology law. We have made a long-term commitment to the continuing development of our e-commerce, technology, intellectual property and venture capital capabilities, involving partners across a broad range of our practice areas. We strongly believe that technology and intellectual property will be the currency of the future. Consistent with this philosophy, and the success of last year’s inaugural conference, Alston & Bird is again participating as both a sponsor and an organizer of this now ‘annual’ event.”

Mr. Carter, who will chair the conference, added, “Despite the current volatility in the market, the growth of technology and related sectors continues at an unprecedented pace throughout the Southeast. However, given the increasing selectivity of investors, our goal is to ensure the further development of these types of companies by providing an interactive forum specifically designed to bring together early stage entrepreneurs in the Southeast with venture capital and other funding sources experienced in these sectors.”

The two day conference will feature workshops with leading industry executives who will discuss issues of critical importance to e-commerce and technology entrepreneurs who are seeking early stage funding or maximizing later stage opportunities for a merger, acquisition or strategic alliance. The workshops will include:

• Doing Business in the Southeast: A Forecast for the Venture Climate

• Choosing Initial Investors Wisely

• Building the Non-Financial Aspects of Your Company

• Hot Business Models that Attract Investment

In addition to the workshops, pre-qualified participants will have the opportunity to make presentations directly to representatives of the financial community. The combination of the interactive workshops with the entrepreneurs’ presentations offers an ideal forum for the valuable exchange of information.

As early as 1998, in The American Lawyer's AmLawTech magazine's first "Who's Wired, Who's Tired?" survey of the top 100 U.S. law firms' technological prowess, Alston & Bird tied for first place. The Firm, which ranks this year as one of only two law firms to be listed in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies To Work For,” is one of the largest and oldest law firms in the country.
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Nicholas Clarke
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Phone: 212.210.1222
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