Friday, November 13, 2015

SAC VIII Finalists present on stage

The eighth Seattle Angel Conference will be held on November 18th at Hub Seattle. This is the culmination of 12 weeks of review, pitches, due diligence and coffee meetings. Over 60 companies applied to the program. We are happy to share with you the seven finalists who have been progressing through the program: 

Slope@GoSlope - Collaborative tool to improve the creation of visual content 
2Morrow@2MorrowInc - Quit Smoking mobile app for behavior change
GrowPlastics@GrowPlastics - Better bioplastics
6Crickets @6crickets - Summer camp scheduling made easier 
IXD@ixdco - Secure information delivery 
Camp Native@campnative - Organizing the worlds Campsites
Tenacity@tenacityhealth - Imrpoving staff retention at call centers

The Seattle Angel Conference works to grow stronger startups in the Northwest and to increase the number of active Angel Investors. The final event provides a view into the process of how Angel Investing works. This is a great opportunity for new startups considering taking outside money to learn about the Angel Investing process. It is also a great opportunity for people considering Angel Investing to learn about how others are engaging in the local startup ecosystem. 

Come join us on November 18th for the eighth Seattle Angel Conference -

John Sechrest      .  Need to schedule a meeting :
                                                                       .                              @sechrest 
                                                                                     .                                                              .

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tues 8/25 - Join our final workshop of the summer: "Angel Investing in the Northwest"

There's only one more workshop left in Seattle Angel's summer series, before the September start of this fall's Seattle Angel Conference VIII program.

On Tuesday August 25th at 6 PM in Bellevue, join Josh Maher for an exclusive interview with Northwest angel investors. Josh digs into how they find the best companies, how hard they really work, and what advantages investors have in the Northwest.
Panelists include three Seattle based angel investors who've been actively investing, mentoring, and growing the Seattle startup community - Janis MachalaHaresh Ved, and Heather Redman.
Josh Maher is author of Startup Wealth, an upcoming book that profiles some of the best angel investors over the last several decades. Join the mailing list to get notified of the release date.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Seattle Angel Education Events for Entrepreneurs and Investors

Ahead of the upcoming Seattle Angel Conference VIII which kicks off September 1st, Seattle Angel will be running a series of educational meetups that are for both entrepreneurs and investors. The schedule is as follows:

July 23rd Angel Portfolio 201
July 28th Stories for Angels: How To Connect With Investors Through Storytelling
Aug. 4th A Mini-IPO as a Professional Investor Liquidity Event (Regulation A+)
Aug. 18th Setting Up a Group Angel Investment
Aug. 25th Angel Investing in the Northwest

All events are at the Impact Hub Bellevue at 6:00 PM

More information and to register:

We will be adding more events in the days to come so check back often.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Education of an Angel Investor

Two great workshops...

...choose one or both!

Join Seattle Angel for two amazing workshops in July. Both focused on angel investors and designed to help both new or interested angel investors as well as experienced angel investors. Attend both for loads of education or pick the one that fits your needs or schedule.

Intro to Angel Investing

Interested in exploring how startups get funded? Ever wonder what it really takes to build a successful company? Perhaps you have some expertise to offer to help get a new business off the ground but aren’t ready to give up the day job.

Come join John Sechrest an entrepreneur, angel investor, and the founder of the Seattle Angel Conference and the Willamette Angel Conference. John will provide an introduction to angel investing on July 7th at 6:00PM in 36/1108 – Elliott.

What: Intro to Angel Investing w/John Sechrest
Where: Microsoft Building 36/1108 – Elliott
When: July 7th, 2015 at 6:00PM
RSVP: Reserve your spot for free!

Angel Portfolio 201

Expanding on the Angel Portfolio 101 but still appropriate for angels and potential angels of all types, this workshop will dive into some of the more tricky tax issues that are inevitably part of all investing. A few of the questions we'll answer are:

Invest from your IRA or your Savings?
What should you do with capital gains?
Are taxes different when investing in a fund?
Join us for an afternoon of education with Bader Martin's top tax professionals as they answer these and much much more.

What: Angel Portfolio 201 w/Bader Martin
Where: Bader Martin's office in Seattle
When: July 23rd 2015 at 4:00PM
RSVP: Only $15 to attend!!

 In case you missed the last angel investing newsletter, check out the archive with more news, announcements, and workshops from across the community.

Want to accelerate your education and get involved in the local startup ecosystem?

We're looking for motivated volunteers to help get involved more deeply. We have lots of ways we can use volunteers from a few small tasks online, to mentoring entrepreneurs, to teaching workshops, and loads of other activities that will strengthen and grow the volunteer's network as well as the strength of our community. If you want to set your learning on a faster trajectory this is the best way to do it!!

Let's grow the startup economy together!
President, Seattle Angel

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Seattle Angel Conference VII - Observations and Insights from a First Timer

by Jim Howes

Keynote Notes

Jonathan Sposato, chairman of GeekWire, kicked off the Seattle Angel Conference with an enjoyable keynote entitled "Everything I learned in business I learned running a bar." How did a serial tech entrepreneur end up running a bar, you ask? Well, apparently he was looking to diversify his investments during the late 90's tech bubble and bought some distressed real estate in Seattle. When finding tenants proved difficult, he decided to become his own tenant.

The experience taught him seven "bar rules" that encapsulate timeless business wisdom. Most of them are common refrains in the start-up space: design affects behavior, your team is critically important, and no job is too small. The one that stood out to me the most? "If you create a place for men, only men will show up. If you create a place for women, men and women will show up." Fantastic insight, especially from someone coming from tech.

On that note, during the Q&A session Jonathan made the bold statement that he's not willing to invest in companies that do not have a female member of the founding team, eliciting whoops and cheers from the crowd. Two of the six finalists today specifically target women, and three were founded by women, so he’s certainly speaking to a partial audience.

Pitch Perfect

First Three: Yottio, Glamhive, TomboyX- Couldn't be more different:

The first three companies to pitch were Yottio, Glamhive, and TomboyX. My biggest takeaway was that these are three very different start-ups. Yottio is a platform that will enable television and other live media to pull in real-time live streaming content from viewers. They already have $300,000 in revenue, and are aggressively projecting $200 million in two years. Glamhive, on the other hand, is a social media platform for women to connect the style photos they share with actual products, to enable others to purchase those styles. After hearing the keynote from Jonathan Sposato earlier, I was not surprised to learn that he is one of their principal advisors. And TomboyX is building a women's clothing brand that seeks to combine style with a level of fit and quality that is often only available on men's clothing. Their most impressive metric was a return rate of only 1%, where 20-35% is typical for women's clothing.

I solicited a very small sample of opinions from my fellow attendees, and it seems that TomboyX did an excellent job of hooking the audience emotionally. One person said that she was brought to tears by their brand statement, and another mentioned that they are tapping into a massive unfilled need that has existed for a long, long time.

The most common positive feedback I heard about the pitches was that they did a great job of crafting the story behind the product. There was very little criticism to be found, but one investor mentioned that he would have liked to see a more thorough exploration of traction and go-to-market strategy from all three teams.

Second Three: SaaS plays by Attachedapps, Payboard and Sqoop

After the intermission we were introduced to another set of three start-ups, all of which are SaaS plays. First up was Attachedapps, which is attempting to serve small businesses' CRM needs by filling in the gap between "good enough" solutions like Excel, and enterprise products like Salesforce. I really liked how they opened up the presentation by talking about the intersecting trends of IT consumerization and the unbundling of software through apps. Next was Payboard, which combines AB testing, path optimization, and automation to turn website visitors into revenue. I thought this was the most polished pitch of the group, and I really liked the product, so they would probably get my vote if I was deliberating with the other angels. And, last but not least, was Sqoop. Sqoop has created a free web service for journalists to unearth company information and data from difficult to access sources, which they plan to monetize by connecting the PR industry to the captive audience of reporters on the service. This is probably the most non-intuitive business model of the group, so they had a very challenging pitch to make.

Entrepreneurs Take:  Tailoring for the audience is critical

After dust settled, I asked the entrepreneurs about the challenges they faced in putting together their pitches. The most common answer? Simplifying the message for the audience is really hard. This is especially true for high-tech start-ups that need to convey the essence of the product without getting too far into the technical weeds.

The nature of audience itself also presents challenges, and one founder mentioned that he has over 70 versions of his pitch deck that he has tailored for different audiences. Another stated that reworking pitch decks for different audiences and formats could eat up 100% of his time if he allowed it to.

All of the companies spent a tremendous amount of time refining their pitches, but how do you handle feedback on your pitch? One founder said that he had some fears about making changes to a presentation too close to the pitch. But as long as the feedback is from people who you trust and who understand your business, it will probably improve your pitch. Last-minute changes can be very effective. One case in point: another founder said that the icing on the cake for his pitch was including a story about how he explained the product to his five year-old daughter, which happened only a couple days before the conference.

Finally, now that the pitching is done, is there anything that the entrepreneurs wish they could do over? Everyone mentioned at least one key line that they missed during the presentation, but one good way to recover is to try and work it into the Q&A session afterwards. Another point that everyone agreed on was the need to polish their storytelling, to really draw the audience into their domain at the beginning of the presentation.

Jim Howes
is an MBA student at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. He can be reached at

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jonathan Sposato to Keynote Seattle Angel Conference VII

Geekwire Chairman and CEO of PicMonkey Jonathan Sposato will be the keynote speaker for Seattle Angel Conference VII on May 20th at HUB Seattle. He will give a talk entitled 'Everything I Learned as a Tech Entrepreneur I Learned Running a Bar'.

A serial entrepreneur and investor in many startups, Jonathan is currently the Chairman of, the region's top technology news site, and CEO of PicMonkey the world's most popular web photo-editor. He also has the distinct honor of being the first person to sell 2 companies to Google. As the CEO of Picnik, Jonathan created a category-defining (1st search result for “photo editor”) online photo editor to profitability and reached over 60M visits a month.

Prior to Picnik, Jonathan founded Phatbits which went on to become Google Gadgets.

Prior to Phatbits, Jonathan was a Senior Manager in Microsoft’s consumer division, personally delivering the next level of thought on key Microsoft properties to chairman Bill Gates and the company’s leadership, as well as driving the development of award-winning software applications, Xbox video games, and social communications applications.  

Jonathan is a graduate of Whitman College.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

6 Finalists to Compete for Top Prize at Seattle Angel Conference VII

Congratulations to the 6 Finalists who will compete for more than $200,000 dollars in funding on May 20th during the final event for Seattle Angel Conference VII.  In less than three years, the conference has invested more than one million dollars in 7 local startups across a wide range of industries.
These Finalist companies represent the future of mobile, fashion, culture and business. 
Seattle Angel Conference VII had the highest number of company applications in its history at 51.  Here are the 6 Finalists:
YOTTIO @4yottio
Helping to craft the next generation of inclusive news and entertainment

Glamhive @glamhive
Social media platform for everyday fashionistas to share, shop, and monetize their style.

Tomboy X  @tomboyexchange
Lifestyle brand that creates, curates and cultivates clothing and accessories

Powerfully simple tools to retain, manage and grow your customers

payboard  @payboard
Processes over ten million events every month for customers to figure out which steps are most likely to lead to conversion

Sqoop  @sqoopinc
Helping journalists gather news