On November 5, 2013, Foley & Lardner LLP hosted over 240 attendees in Boston at its 9th annual FOLEYTech Summit, titled Envision the Future: Today’s Approach to Tomorrow’s Solutions. The Summit focused on how entrepreneurs, investors, their legal counsel, and other advisors can successfully grow technology companies.  The conference was focused on specific industry tracks, specifically Health Care IT, Big Data and Next-Generation Manufacturing.

On one of these tracks, Gabor Garai, chairman of the firm’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Practice Group, moderated a panel discussion focused on financing Next-Generation Manufacturing.  The panelists for the discussion included Gregory J. Bondick, a Managing Partner at Windjammer Capital Investors; Robert Brown, a Managing Director and Co-President North America at the investment bank Lincoln International; Evan Gobdel, a Managing Director at Woodlawn Partners; and John Simon, a Managing Director at Sigma Prime Ventures.

During the panel discussion, panelists exchanged thoughts on recent trends, including hot industry sectors and issues that are particularly relevant to financing companies engaged in or involved with the converging and transforming world of 21st century manufacturing.  “Next-Generation Manufacturing” is evolving as companies move from 20th century assembly lines to enterprise-wide systems with process and technological improvements and smarter applications of financial and human capital.

The wide ranging discussion touched on how each of the panelists approach next-generation manufacturing as part of their investment processes; how companies can position themselves for financial success in the changing world of manufacturing; and the management challenges and opportunities of running businesses engaged in next-generation manufacturing.  Specifically, all of the panelists were optimistic that next-generation manufacturing would help grow domestic U.S. manufacturing both organically and by returning manufacturing, which is heavily outsourced to Asia and Latin America, to the U.S. in the years to come.