Looking for a sizeable infusion of cash to create an exciting recurring event and help carry it through the growing pains? How about mentorship to speed its way to success? In Silicon Valley, the model is familiar: Get a tech-savvy venture capital firm to invest in you.

In the event industry, not so much.

“Unlike Silicon Valley, where there has long been a focus on early-stage startups and betting on smart entrepreneurs, the event industry has behaved very differently,” says Greg Topalian, chairman of Clarion Events North America. “It’s starting things on your own, figuring out the intricacies of events. And you’re likely underfunded.”

Not until—or if—these little fish in the event world turn a profit are the industry’s bigger fish interested in you. So, it’s been swim, swim until you sink or are swallowed up for a big payday.

That’s why Topalian has joined five others with proven track records of building multibillion-dollar event-related successes in a new investment firm, Events Venture Group (EVG). “Our mission is to support the next generation of event entrepreneurs who redefine the event industry landscape,” Topalian, who is co-chair of EVG, says.

Other board members are:

  • Monique Ruff-Bell, chief program and strategy officer for TED
  • Jonathan Weiner, founder, chairman and CEO of HLTH
  • Marco Giberti, founder and CEO of Vesuvio Ventures
  • Joe Popolo, founder and CEO of Charles & Potomac Capital
  • Jay Weintraub, founder and CEO of Connectiv Holdings

Read More: Fresh Investments in Virtual Meeting Platforms

EVG will offer “a unique blend of expert mentorship, a collaborative community and strategic funding,” according to a press release heralding its official launch. It promises to provide “insights and access across every aspect needed for early-stage event success: sales, operations, marketing, administration, content and industry connections.”

“When I started there were lots of things I wish someone told me not to do,” Topalian, who directed the debut of New York ComicCon in 2006, says. “I wish someone made an introduction to a better vendor. I wish I didn’t go to that particular venue. And if I had the experience others had, I’d have known that was a mistake. On top of funding, this is really what we think we can provide that has measurable value.”

How to Win EVG Investment

So, how can someone get on the EVG bus?

Topalian continues: “It’ll be a bit like ‘Shark Tank.’ A project comes in front of the group, and we may have five members—out of, say, 10 members in all at that time—eager to get involved. We don’t make decisions as a collective. I’ve had a lot of experience with consumer shows. I happen to really like them. I’m probably a lot more likely to want to invest in, and get involved in, a ‘con’ than some of my colleagues who say, ‘I’ve never done that, that’s not my thing.’”

Read More: No More Ms. Nice Planner! It’s Time to Demand Support for International Programs

EVG is still recruiting investors. “We haven’t raised a specific amount of money. We have an initial board, but we’re currently interviewing other great trade-show luminaries who want to join the group. We ultimately see the group getting up to somewhere in the 20-25 range of members. They all have to meet minimum investment criteria. And it’s the aggregate investing power of those members that will give us significant power,” Topalian says.

EVG may invest in specific events and companies, startups or those with compelling visions in the early stages of growth. Topalian notes this includes event tech. “We’ve seen some absolutely big, bold concepts, and we’ve had conversations with folks who may have already run three or four shows. The idea is that they’re looking for how to accelerate their growth.”

Sharing the Rewards

As in the Silicon Valley model, EVG’s investing members will become shareholders of the companies they partner with, although Topalian says they’re not looking for controlling interest. If, with success, the businesses are sold, EVG investors would share in those rewards.

“Even that part of the process is something that our board has enormous experience in, having bought or sold many, many businesses,” Topalian says.

Even if the ultimate aim is to make money for both the startups and EVG’s investors, Topalian says he speaks for the entire board when he adds: “I love the idea of being able to engage with someone who’s got a brilliant concept but may just lack the 25-plus years of experience that I have. I want to be helpful to them. Sure, I’d like to see a great outcome. I’d like to see us invest in numerous businesses this year. But I’m equally interested in seeing us really make a difference for entrepreneurs in the event industry.”