Americas Venture Capital Conference awards prizes, spurs Latin American business investment.

Four outstanding ventures in biotechnology, education, mobile finance and consumer products walked away with the top prizes at the Americas Venture Capital Conference, recently held at Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Business Administration.

The two-day conference, presented by FIU’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, provided a unique opportunity for Latin American and U.S. entrepreneurs to network with financiers, service providers and others invested in the growth of Latin American business.

“This important event is a new and exciting forum for those seeking capital for growth in South Florida and the Americas,” Gustavo A. Cisneros, chairman of The Cisneros Group of Companies, told more than 350 attendees in his keynote address.

Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Gustavo A. Cisneros, FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and Joyce J. Elam
  • Oncobiomed, a Chilean biotechnology company focused on the prevention and treatment of cancer, received the Tres Mares Innovation Prize: $10,000 and artistic rendition of innovation by Miler Lagos valued at $5,000.
  • Baby Abuelita, a producer of Hispanic cultural toys and education products, received the FedEx Access to Global Markets Prize: $10,000 in-kind services, for its commitment to global trade.
  • Open English, an online provider offering a customized program of English Language instruction, received the CP Capital Emerging Venture Prize: $10,000 in investment banking services.
  • Yellow Pepper Mobile Financial Solutions, a provider of mobile financial solutions to consumers in Latin America, received the CP Capital Inflection Venture Prize: $10,000 in investment banking services.

Attendees praise ventures, networking opportunities.

“The presenting companies are among the most attractive set of early-stage private companies I’ve seen on a stage in the last 18 months,” said Jon Karlen, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners of Boston, Massachusetts, an early-stage venture capital fund with an investment in Open English. “Miami is the logical location for the event.”

Conference Co-Chair Irma Becerra-Fernandez (PhD ’94), director of the Pino Center said, “We are gratified by the feedback from conference attendees, who appreciated the opportunities to network and learn.”

The conference drew more than 350 attendees.

“We are grateful to our outstanding speakers and panelists, who made this conference a truly important event in the economic life of the region,” said Joyce J. Elam, executive dean of the business school.

Plans are underway for the second annual Americas Venture Capital Conference, to be held November 16-17, 2011, in Miami. For more information about the 2010 conference, visit


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