Getting just one venture capital investor to listen to a business pitch these days can be considered success for many tech start-ups. Next month, 10 local companies will have the chance to present their case to hundreds of potential investors at the Washington DC Tech Council's Early Stage Capital Forum.

More than 40 companies applied to participate in the forum, an increase from previous years. There is no guarantee that the 10 presenting firms will land a dime Feb. 7, but face time with investors remains a valuable commodity, said Lara L. Vande Walle, the council's president.

"Their opportunity is really being able to present to venture capitalists on this panel, other angels and venture capitalists attending," Vande Walle said. "It's a really nice opportunity to get exposure for their companies."

The start-up executives earlier this month attended a full-day seminar to polish their presentation skills. The companies chosen by the council range from biotech firms to government contractors. More than 200 people are expected to attend the full-day event, headlined by Hugh Panero, president of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

The companies presenting are:

* Biosurface Engineering Technologies Inc. of Damascus, which sells medical technology to ease drug delivery.

* IMC Inc. of Dulles, a systems engineering firm.

* Naviance LLC of the District, which sells college-admission analysis software.

* Defywire of Reston, which sells wireless network management software.

* Foxwire of McLean, which sells fiber-optic equipment.

* iJet Travel Intelligence Inc. of Annapolis, which provides alerts and other services to travelers.

* Solvent Solutions of Gaithersburg, an information security firm.

* Falcon Systems Engineering Corp. of Crofton, which is developing infrared-light devices for the military.

* Transactis Inc. of Reston, an e-mail marketing firm.

* TechTravelers Inc., a Fairfax software firm.

"The main reason behind getting involved in something like this is to get the name out, get recognition," said Christopher Murray, vice president of media and communications at TechTravelers. "It's almost like an ice breaker; it's here to stoke the interest of the VCs."