Monday, November 17, 2014

Portland startup takes prize at Seattle Angel Conference

Portland startup takes prize at Seattle Angel Conference


_Portland Business Journal

Nov 14, 2014, 7:23am PST Updated: Nov 14, 2014, 7:39am PST
Portland startup Energy Storage Systems was the winner at this week's Seattle Angel Conference. The three-year-old firm has developed a cost-effective, energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly battery system using iron can power light industrial, agricultural and commercial facilities.

Portland-based Energy Storage Systems has secured a $135,000 investment ....more

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Seattle Angel Conference VI Invests in Portland-Based Energy Storage Systems

More than 100 new angel investors have awarded nearly one million dollars since 2012

SEATTLE, WA. – November 13, 2014
The Seattle Angel Conference announced today that Portland-based Energy Storage Systems was selected as the winner of its sixth investment competition.  The three year old startup that builds efficient battery technology will receive a $135,000 investment award from the Seattle Angel Conference VI LLC.  Five other companies also presented at the conference held on Wednesday.

Energy Storage Systems has developed an extremely cost-effective energy management system that combines a safe, abundant and non-toxic iron electrolyte with their patented flow cell design. “Taking first place is significant for not only our company but other hardware centric startups facing a tougher investment environment based on the success of Pacific Northwest software companies,” said Craig Evans, CEO, Energy Storage Systems.  “Receiving recognition from Seattle angel investors is an important step in helping to complete our funding.”

In less than three years, the Seattle Angel Conference has invested more than one million dollars in 7 Washington State firms across a wide range of industries.  Amazingly the money has come from about 100 investors out of the approximately 75,000 King County residents who are federally qualified to be Angel investors.

“I congratulate Energy Storage Systems on their first place investment prize, and want to acknowledge all six finalists for making it to our final round,” said Keith Laepple, Seattle Angel Conference VI LLC’s volunteer fund manager. “I’m also proud of the insightful work by this fall’s investor group, over half of whom have now grown the ranks of Seattle’s angel community through their first-time participation in Seattle Angel Conference VI. This demonstrates how angel investor skills and confidence develop quickly through fun, facilitated due diligence collaboration, drawing upon the group’s varied expertise and backgrounds.'”

Here were the other finalists selected by the investment team to deliver ten-minute business plan pitches:

Connect2Classes- Connect2Classes™ is the one place class providers can list their classes knowing people will find them; the place where potential students are looking for local and online classes.

NorthAmerica TALK- NorthAmerica Talk builds community social networks.

PotaVida- PotaVida lowers the cost of access to safe water in disasters and urban slums, and enables program evaluation by automating the collection and reporting of usage data.

The Hub Edu- The HubEdu is an online learning community where faculty and students in higher education can collect, connect and collaborate.

THIRD & Loom- Third & Loom is a vertically integrated designer label that democratizes haute couture by letting clients become fashion designers.

“The Seattle Angel Conference is focused on growing the ecosystem for startups by helping to provide early capital for the large number of startups and incubators in our region,” said John Sechrest, founder of the Seattle Angel Conference. “We’re fortunate to have a large pool of residents that are able to invest in local companies and I look forward to working with many more new investors in the future.”

Events sponsors include Barker Hostetler, Ater Wynne, Thinkspace, Impact Hub Seattle, 9 Mile Labs, S@, Surf Incubator, Startup Poker 2.0, SeedInvest, Startup Seattle, WTIA and AWS.

This year’s finalist companies were selected from over 40 companies based throughout Washington that applied to compete at the Seattle Angel Conference 2014. A rigorous selection process was undertaken by a group of angel investors to select the finalist companies. An angel investor is a qualified individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. In the Seattle Angel Conference case, the investment vehicle is convertible debt. The Seattle Angel Conference introduces new Angels to the process of Angel investing through education and participation.

The next Seattle Angel Conference is expected to be held May 21, 2015.  All Washington startups and interested investors should inquire in December about participating in the next round of educational events, trainings, and competition.  Deadline for applications will be February 24, 2015.

About the Seattle Angel Conference
Each Seattle Angel Conference culminates a 5 month program to educate and train accredited investors as exemplary angel investors through workshops, hands-on practice and mentoring.  The Seattle Angel Conference is an investor driven conference, connecting new angel investors with early stage and seed businesses in the Greater Seattle Area.  The Seattle Angel Conference introduces qualified investors to the potential, process and rewards of angel investing, and equally importantly, works to encourage, accelerate and coach startup companies in the Seattle areas and across the Northwest. For more information see 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Susan Preston to Keynote Seattle Angel Conference VI

Leading Angel Investing Educator and Consultant to speak on Angel Investing

Susan just received the Small Business Person of the Year for 2014 from the Small Business Council of America.  She was honored along with five Congressional representatives in the nation’s capital.  

 Susan Preston is manager of the newly founded Seattle Angel Fund, and is the General Partner for the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund. The Angel Fund is focused on seed/start-up stage investments in clean energy technology.  Susan is a world-recognized expert in angel financing and angel organizations. Susan has spent most of her career in senior management positions in public and private companies, from general counsel to CEO.  She has also been a partner in two national law-firms and is a patent attorney.  Susan is also the Buerk Endowed Fellow for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.
Susan is the author of numerous articles, white papers and books on angel financing. Her most recent book, Angel Financing for Entrepreneurs, Early-stage Funding for Long-Term Success was released by Wiley Publishing in March 2007, and her first book, Angel Investment Groups, Networks and Funds: A Guidebook to Developing the Right Angel Organization for Your Community, a comprehensive guidebook on the establishment and operation of angel investment groups, for which she has received numerous accolades, was published by the Kauffman Foundation in 2004.
She has been and continues to be a national and international consultant and speaker on economic development, angel and venture financing for numerous countries and NGOs including the EU, OECD, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Industry Canada and EBAN. She was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for 6 years and continues to serve as a consultant, specifically focusing on initiatives related to angel investing and angel organizations.
Susan has held several board positions with public and privately held corporations, and has served on numerous non-profit boards. Ms. Preston has been profiled in Red Herring, Inc. magazine, Smart Money, Worth and other local and national publications; and has contributed to numerous nationally published articles on angel investing. Ms. Preston is the founder of Seraph Capital Forum, the first all-women's angel investment organization.
She is the architect of the Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Act, a bi-partisan federal income tax credit bill for private equity investing, which was introduced in the House and Senate in 2006 and 2007, and has been re-introduced in the current Congressional session.

Ms. Preston received her JD, cum laude, from Seattle University School of Law and her BS, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in Microbiology and Public Health from Washington State University.

Bob Crimmins to MC Seattle Angel Conference VI

Reprising his Role for the 4th Time

 Bob Crimmins returns to the Seattle Angel Conference as MC, bringing his insight and wit to the proceedings that will share the core business plans, and reveal the due diligence and investor questions about the 6 finalist businesses.

About Bob Crimmins:

Bob Crimmins is a lifelong technologist and serial entrepreneur. Bob has founded five investor-backed companies.  Bob is devoted to fostering a women/girl-friendly tech and startup environment and is a founding board member of Seattle Women in Tech. Closer to home, Bob is sharing the lessons of entrepreneurship with his 12-year-old daughters as they work together on, a pet product they invented.  Bob is also the chief instigator of the popular founder networking events, Founder to Founder and Startup Poker 2.0. While Bob talks a lot about business models, customer acquisition and team building these days, he is a geek at heart. He wrote his first computer program in BASIC on punch cards in 1978 when it was neither cool nor lucrative to be a teenage programmer. Bob teaches, coaches and mentors dozens of entrepreneurs and startups through his work with TechStars, Startup Weekend, TiE Young Entrepreneur Program, Women in Tech and as a formal advisor to a number of Northwest companies.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rahul Sood to Capstone Seattle Angel Conference VI

Rahul Sood, Creator of Microsoft Ventures, CEO of Unikrn will capstone the Sixth Seattle Angel Conference with a Fireside Chat about his approach to entrepreneurship.

 Rahul Sood is the CEO of Unikrn, a Seattle based gaming related startup.

Microsoft Ventures Creator 

Previous to Unikrn, Sood joined Microsoft in January of 2011. He created the first incubation fund for startups at Microsoft, and eventually Microsoft consolidated their global startup activities under Sood’s leadership. In June of 2013 he launched Microsoft Ventures.


Serial Entrepreneur

 A serial entrepreneur, Sood spent 18 years in multiple startups prior to joining Microsoft. He founded luxury and gaming computer manufacturer VoodooPC, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in September of 2006. Voodoo brought the ENVY product line to HP, contributing advanced technologies, such as commercial liquid cooling, and an increased focus on design. Sood is a co-founder of BrightSquid Medical, a unique collaboration platform for medical professionals, which was subsequently acquired by NetworksMD. He co-founded BrightSquid Dental, which was spun out of the medical business in 2010. Sood also created BullsOnWallstreet, a trading and education platform for retail investors and traders, and he is an active angel investor in a number of small Canadian-based energy companies. Sood sits on the board of advisors for Razer, a company that is widely known for taking over where Voodoo left off.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Seattle Angel Conference VI Finalists

Seattle Angel Conference Announces Finalists for the Sixth Seattle Angel Conference:

The companies will compete Nov 12th at the HUB Seattle and the winner will receive an estimated $165,000 angel investment. Tickets are on sale at the early bird discounted rate through Nov 1st.

This year’s finalist companies were selected from over 40 companies based throughout Washington that applied to compete at the Seattle Angel Conference 2014. A rigorous selection process was undertaken by a group of angel investors to select the finalist companies. An angel investor is qualified individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. In the Seattle Angel Conference case, the investment vehicle is convertible debt. The Seattle Angel Conference introduces new Angels to the process of Angel investing through education and participation.

Each investor staked $5,500 to create the anticipated $165,000 award for this year’s event.
The following companies were selected by the investment team to deliver ten-minute business
plan pitches


The following companies were selected by the investment team to undergo rigorous due-diligence and be eligible for the investor-led convertible note:

What is the Seattle Angel Conference?

The Seattle Angel Conference is a recurring Seattle Angel-driven event where the investors create an LLC, engage in due diligence of the applying startup companies, and ultimately pool funds to invest in one of the presenting finalists. The Seattle Angel Conference is the primary method Seattle Angel uses to find and fund new startups. The Seattle Angel Conference is open to any member of the community interested in learning more about both starting and investing in a new business and to hear the investment pitches from the finalists.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Missing the point: "Its not fair than SAC only invests in one company"

Some investors have queried me about an entrepreneur commented on the Seattle Angel Conference process saying: "it was not fair that only one of the teams got an investment in the process"

I told him that this entrepreneur did not understand his job at the conference and that he needed to be seeking these other values.

I just send a note to an entrepreneur trying to get their focus on the real value of the angel conference. In that note I said:

However, I want to point out that the real value of the event is not winning the investment.

the Real value come from several things:
1) by having a deadline, you move things forward faster.
2) by having a reason to practice your pitching, your pitching gets better
3) by having a dozen people review your materials, your materials get better
4) by making connecting with several dozen investors, your story gets spread
5) by seeing the pitches of other companies, you learn things you would not know otherwise
6) by engaging with other entrepreneurs, you build a support network
7) by getting into the finals, you get all of your investor documents together and polished.
8) by sitting with your quarter-finalist investor coffee, you get a chance to engage a new investor
9) by being at the conference with 100 angels in the room,you build out your investor network. 
10) by being in the room with engaged investors, your goal should be to come out with an investor who is a champion for you. 

And most importantly, if you find a champion, who cares about what you are doing, the chances of finding a side investment are significant. 

As a CEO of a new Startup, make sure you know what the key conversation in the room is. Sometimes it is not about being the winner on stage, but about building the foundation for your investment regardless of who is on stage.