Monday, May 14, 2018

Meet the finalists


The purpose of SAC is simple: to bring new Angel Investors into the Seattle ecosystem and help them learn and grow faster, together. Starting in February with weeks of workshops, entrepreneurs and angel investors heard from industry experts about when to take funding, the basics of deal terms, and Angel Investing 101. Throughout the process, entrepreneurs had their pitches deconstructed, got feedback on their ideas, and grew their network of peers, potential advisors, and investors. Targeted education and facilitated networking are at the core of what SAC has to offer.

By Stephen Mok

SAC XIII - May 16th, 2018

The 13th edition of Seattle Angel Conference is upon us, with six companies ready to present on stage for approximately $150,000 of investment. As we head in to the final event, let’s recap why SAC was started, what the process entails, and of course, who our six finalist companies are.
THE GOAL
THE PROCESS
40 companies applied earlier this year and have been narrowed down to 6 in the last 11 weeks. There were no screening calls or committees, simply a series of structured investor meetings designed to let the group learn angel investing by doing angel investing, from start to finish. More specifically, this meant reviewing company profiles, trimming the list to 24 presenting companies, and ultimately selecting 6 finalists after several rounds of pitches and Q&A. The last three weeks have been spent on due diligence, the process through which investors determine whether companies are “investable” or not.
On the companies’ side, this has meant weeks of preparing pitches and slide decks; compressing visions and road maps down to a few compelling minutes with investors. From my observation, the challenge is not just getting your presentation to the right time (this is really a pre-requisite, in my opinion) but to concisely convey a happy medium of data, logistics, and opportunity while proactively addressing key road blocks. Being able to do this in 10 minutes, let alone 3, is a tremendous task.
That brings us to…
THE FINALISTS
FIZIKL - At the helm is serial entrepreneur and sailing enthusiast, Tom Malone. Tom and his team have their sights set on alleviating the pain associated with manual inventory management for warehouses. In short, warehouses are big, house a fluctuating number of unique items, and it’s crucial to keep track of everything. Right now, warehouses rely on people to walk around and count stuff (an intentional and crude oversimplification), which is not only monotonous, but error-prone. Ask Tom about his team, racing sail boats, or his appreciation for flight.
MDMetrix - Dan Low is a full-time anesthesiologist, professor, and CEO. Wait, what? As a practicing anesthesiologist, Dan realized that the cycle for surfacing best practices amongst physicians was slow, often taking years for a published study to resurface and begin to crack the ranks of students and practitioners. MDMetrix aims to accelerate this process by allowing physicians to compare current and historical patient data in real-time to determine the optimal way to the optimal patient outcome. Ask Dan about his friendship with CTO Matthew Goos, learning grit from his father, or functioning on zero sleep seemingly all the time.
Meds For All - Shawn Swanson (no relation to Ron) has gone from Masters’ student and Caviar delivery guy to CEO and CTO in a little over a year. Shawn and his Co-Founder Richard Lee, observed that not only are EpiPens (commercially recognized name for an injector of epinephrine, which treats anaphylactic shock) expensive, but auto injectors in general are largely unavailable overseas. Said another way, people who need EpiPens could die if not treated quickly and Meds For All believes they can make them more affordable and accessible. Epinephrine is just the start, think a Pez dispenser for various “flavors” of medicine, but in the same dosage. Ask Shawn about the lead up to the Health Innovation Challenge, his team of advisors or his takeaways from travels in Southeast Asia.
NanoSurface Biomedical - Elliot Fisher is one of those guys that I’m embarrassed to call my peer, simply because he has a poise, business acumen, and commitment to learning that far exceeds my own. NanoSurface already has products on the market and is currently developing synthetic human heart tissue for drug trials that will vastly reduce the time and cost of new drugs to market. In layman terms, it’ll be faster/cheaper/easier for pharmaceutical drug developers to test for drug-induced heart failure. Ask Elliot about his love of languages, why he values Q&A, or the broader vision for NanoSurface that is beyond this volunteer’s ability to articulate.
RosHub - Speaking of things I can’t articulate, let’s talk about robots. Alan Meekins is a seasoned software/web services consultant who became particularly interested in distributed networks while working with Disney on ticketing watches (fleet of Disney park employees could remotely handle guests’ ticket-related needs). Tapping neighbor, friend, and fellow “I know how to build things and make them talk to each other” guy, Nick Zatkovich (CTO), Alan and Nick started to iterate for RosHub in 2016. The aim of RosHub is to serve as the fleet management platform for robots and make it easy to not only program and update them, but enable them to communicate and collaborate. Ask Alan about “Vega”, lessons from Ivan, and being a SAC fly on the wall.

Sentinel Healthcare - Nirav Shah is an experienced Neurohospitalist and is the current Stroke Medical Director at Swedish. As he became increasingly interested in wearables and specifically the servicing of the data produced by them, Nirav identified an opportunity to fill this gap. Sentinel’s platform is starting with hypertension and will serve as the guardrails and safety net for patients adjusting to their diagnosis and new prescription. Not only will it keep patients on track, but Sentinel will provide actionable data that doctors can use to proactively reach out to at-risk patients, adjust medication to individual patient responses, and more accurately diagnose based on data. Ask Nirav about replacing Netflix with YouTube, the advantages of a distributed team, or where else Sentinel will go.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Seattle Angel Conference XIII Invites Early Stage Companies to Apply for Funding


Entrepreneurs seeking investment capital have an opportunity to present their early stage businesses to Seattle Angel Conference Investors in an American Idol style program, designed to improve startups and grow more Angel Investors. The 13th Seattle Angel Conference application period runs until February 22nd, 2018. Entrepreneurs interested in applying can find the details at http://seattleangelconference.com/p/entrepreneur_14.html


The program aims to gather 40+ companies and 40 investors who engage over a twelve week period in pitches, reviews, sorting and due diligence. The investors will meet each week until May 15th.

The participating startups will first have their GUST profile reviewed and then the top 24 will be selected for the quarter finals. The QuarterFinalists will be asked to give 3 minute pitches and do a 3 minute Q+A on March 13 or March 20th. The SemiFinalists will be asked to give 10 minute pitches and 10 minute Q+A on April 3rd or April 10th. The 6 Finalists will be selected on April 17th. Due diligence teams will meet with each of the finalists until the final event.

The final event will be on May 16th and is open to the public. Tickets are available at http://sac-xiii.eventbrite.com (all prices for tickets go up on Feb 22nd when the companies apply)


The Angel Conference does not have a sector bias, so any type of growth company is welcome to apply. The companies that have made it to the finals include lettuce companies, Snowboard clothing companies, Fashion companies, Mobile Apps, Battery manufacturers, SAAS companies, Book publishers and many more. Companies that would find a $200K investment as a significant opportunity to reach a critical milestone should consider this opportunity.

The startups should expect to have significant growth, be at or near first revenue and have evidence of progress in their startup. Repeat engagement with the conference is usually helpful for the companies.

A small story of persistence: One engineer left BigCo and had a not-so-great idea. Applied to the conference, made no progress. Came back again, with a better idea. Still no team, still no traction. Made no progress.. Came back a third time, good idea, had a team, still no traction. Made progress, but did not get funded. Came back a fourth time, same good idea, working team, progress with customers , won the event. Now this company is well on the way to being in the top of the portfolio.

The 13th cycle of the conference is being hosted by UW CoMotion Labs. There are two conferences a year, with workshops, office hours, investor meetings, due diligence and a big event in each cycle. Every other cycle is on the Eastside. The founder of the Seattle Angel Conference is John Sechrest, an active investor who supports the ecosystem through the Open Coffee meetings, Lean Startup Seattle and the NW Fund Manager Peer Learning Group. The LLC manager for this round is Allen Niemann. Yoko Okano will be the fund manager for the next round of Seattle Angel Conference.

Seattle Angel Conference is now in its seventh year. The Conference mission is to engage new investors in Angel Investing, teaching Angel Investing by doing Angel Investing. Along the way, each of the startups gets feedback and gets a change to engage with angel investors who are actively writing checks into the ecosystem.

Seattle Angel Conference aims to invest between $100K and $200K into each winner. Over the last 12 cycles, between winners and side investments, there have been 26 investments. These represent efforts of 300 new Angel Investments who invested close to $2.5M into these companies.

Timeline of Angel Conference meetings.

Feb 27 - First meeting/review (Investors Only )
Mar 6 - Select Quarter Finalists(Investors Only ) - select 24 quarter finalists
Mar 13 - 3 minute pitch (investors and Quarterfinalists)  12
Mar 20 - 3 minute pitch (investors and Quarterfinalists)  12
Mar 27 - Select Semi Finalists(Investors Only ) select 12 semi Finalists
Apr 3 - 10 minute pitch (Investors and Semifinalists)
Apr 10 - 10 Minute pitch (Investors and Semifinalists)
Apr 17 - Select Finalists(Investors Only ) Select 6 finalists
Apr 24 - Due Diligence(Investors Only )
May 1 - Due Diligence(Investors Only )
May 8 - Due Diligence(Investors Only )
May 15 - Mixer(Investors and finalists)
May 16 - Final Event (public)  12:30 to 6:30

Startups: Consider applying by February 22nd at http://seattleangelconference.com/p/entrepreneur_14.html

Contact: John Sechrest - Sechrest@seattleangel.com
              @sechrest , @nwangelconf
              http://seattleangelconference.com

Friday, January 19, 2018

Event Schedule for SAC XIII

Each cycle for the Angel Conference, we start with a series of workshops to get the conversations started. You can see the current workshops at http://meetup.com/Seattle-Angel

The deadline for applying for this next round is February 22nd. Our goal is to gather more than 40 companies and 40 Angel Investors.  After we meet the requirements for starting off the program, we meet weekly to step forward with understanding the companies that have applied.



The general program looks like this:

Dates:

Workshops
Jan 9th  - Chris Devore - Ask Me Anything Jan 16th - Pitch Deconstruction - Elaine Werffeli , Javier Soto , Allen Nieman , Jan 23rd - Deal Terms - Lucas MichelsJan 30th -  Getting ready for taking funding - Bill Bryant, David Grampa, Elaine Werfelli, February 1st - Pitch Deconstruction at Riveter Elaine Werffeli ,Javier Soto,David Grampa,Martina Welkhoff, Carlee Price February 6th - Bryan Brewer - Minimum Fundable Company February 13th - Angel 101 -  Milt Sigelman, February 20th - Angel Panel - Alison Shaw,

Deadline
Feb 22 - Deadline for companies - Goal 40+ companies apply , 40 investors signed

Program
Feb 27 - First meeting/review (Investors Only )Mar 6 - Select Quarter Finalists(Investors Only ) - select 24 quarter finalistsMar 13 - 3 minute pitch (investors and Quarterfinalists)  12Mar 20 - 3 minute pitch (investors and Quarterfinalists)  12Mar 27 - Select Semi Finalists(Investors Only ) select 12 semi FinalistsApr 3 - 10 minute pitch (Investors and Semifinalists)Apr 10 - 10 Minute pitch (Investors and Semifinalists)Apr 17 - Select Finalists(Investors Only ) Select 6 finalistsApr 24 - Due Diligence(Investors Only )May 1 - Due Diligence(Investors Only )May 8 - Due Diligence(Investors Only )May 15 - Mixer(Investors and finalists)

May 16 - Final Event (public)  12:30 to 6:30 

The Entrepreneurs who make it all the way to the finals will have been reviewed several times:

  1. A review of the Gust.com profile by all the investors and then stack ranked to select the quarter finalists
  2. A 3 minute pitch on either March 13 or March 20th  , with a selection of Semi-finalists on March 27th 
  3. A 10 minute pitch on either April 3 or April 10th , with a finalist selection on April 17th
  4. Then there will be 4 weeks of due diligence, arranged between the due diligence team and the startup. 
For Entprepreneurs who have all their financial and due diligence documents all gathered , a pitch deck put together and practiced, there will be somewhere near 15 hours of work over the course of the program engaging with the due diligence teams.  For those companies which have not put everything together, they will have more work to do. 

For Investors, a couple of the workshops can be helpful , like the Angel 101 workshop. And we recommend getting the book "Angel Investing" By David S. Rose. 

For those people who join into the program as participating investors, they will be spending 40-60 hours over the course of 12 weeks to learn more deeply about the companies and to select the final winner of the program. 

It is not required for a participating investor to attend all of the meetings. It certainly is the case that you get out of the process what you put into it. So regular engagement makes all the difference. 

People who want to attend the event or to be a presenting company should buy a ticket at http://sac-xiii.eventbrite.com


The Winner of the Seattle Angel Conference XII is Latchel

The winner for the 12th Seattle Angel Conference was Latchel , property maintentence made easier - Latchel.com

The process of selecting the winner of the conference involves a large amount of engagement between the prospective companies and the participating investors. There is paperwork to gather for the due diligence process, interviews , pitches and Q+A sessions to help everyone come to a deeper understanding of the opportunity.

You can see the final pitch at the conference for the Latchel here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/video/seattle-angel-conference-xii-pitch-4-6/

A deep thank you to Microsoft Research for sponsoring the Seattle Angel Conference XII process. It made for a great program.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Seattle Angel Conference Tipping Point for 2016 Winner Hubb

As we look back at all the amazing things that have happened for Hubb over the past year, it's clear to us that winning Seattle Angel Conference IX was the tipping point.

The $155k in funding was awesome—it helped us to build out a marketing and sales team and gave us great PR—but even more important was the opportunity to work with and get to know the angel investors. As winners of the Seattle Angel Conference, we suddenly had credibility with other investors and potential clients. This is so crucial for a start-up to be able to grow and we’re incredibly thankful.

The actual act of preparing our presentation was also incredibly helpful because it forced us to really know our stuff and make sure we had a bulletproof business plan. Finding and addressing potential issues while preparing for the conference saved us a lot of stress further down the road. In addition, getting our plan and pitch airtight and winning the Seattle Angel Conference generated tremendous momentum for us—by the end of the year, we'd raised $4 million, won the Bend Venture Conference and the Tom Holce Startup Stage Award from the Oregon Entrepreneur Network, and doubled our revenue from the previous year.

Our growth has not slowed in 2017, and the quality of clients we've signed up and who continue to expand their contracts excites us the most; we're honored to count companies like Microsoft, Tableau, Atlassian, Intel, RedHat, TechCrunch, BIO, Citrix, TDAmeritrade, Linux, SaaSter, MongoDB, Mulesoft, and Nuntanix as clients.

It's been an exciting ride and it's only going to get better. The Seattle Angel Conference is where it all began and we’re so grateful for the opportunity they gave us.

Hubb gives event professionals a better way to manage meetings and tame the chaos of event content management. Created by veteran event managers, Hubb’s platform automates the complex workflows and tasks required to collect, manage, and market event content, and results in huge time savings, far less stress, and the ability to get event content to market a significantly faster. Built for the API economy, Hubb allows event professionals to build best-in-breed solutions with seamless integrations, customized for the specific needs of their events. Hubb is based in Vancouver, WA. Learn more at www.hubb.me.

Bonnie Foley-Wong - SAC XII Keynote Speaker: Angel Investing is a Marathon, Smart Angels Don't Sprint


 Our 12th Seattle Angel Conference is on November 15th, 2017. We are excited to have Bonnie Foley-Wong coming as our keynote presenter.

 After years of financing multi-million dollar transactions, working for European investment banks, investor and entrepreneur, Bonnie Foley-Wong returned to Canada, launched an angel fund called Pique Fund, and began investing in startups. She's learned a lot in the past five years including the value of experiential due diligence, how most relationships shouldn't be rushed, and the difference it made for herself and others to just get started and practice angel investing. She'll share some of her stories including how she invested in a jewelry designer-turned-tech CEO, why 2016 was the year of "no new deals", and how to get an investment done in 3 weeks, in her frank talk about angel investing and how she's in it for the long haul.

Bonnie is the founder of Pique Ventures and founding investor in Pique Fund. She is also the CFO of specialty financial services firm, Crown NorthCorp Inc., headquartered in Gig Harbor, WA, and author of Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul. Bonnie helps a diverse community of leaders pursue integrated investing. With over 19 years experience of mobilizing capital for entrepreneurial businesses as a financier, investor, and entrepreneur, Bonnie has financed over $1 billion dollars of alternative investments in Europe and North America. Bonnie is a CPA (Ontario), CA, and CFA charterholder. She has a Bachelor of Mathematics and Master of Accounting from the University of Waterloo. Bonnie presently resides in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and young daughter.

Bonnie is at @BonnieOWong

Friday, September 8, 2017

What does the timeline for a startup look like for @nwangelconf

On Sept 12th, we will review all the applying companies, stack rank them and then select the quarter finalists. We will also select a coffee ambassador for each company, so that there will be a coffee meeting with each quarter finalist. 

On Sept 19th and Sept 26th, we will hear 3 minute pitches (with slides) from the quarter finalists with a 3 minute Q+A for each company. And then we will select the Semi-Finalists

On October 3rd and October 10th, we will hear 10 minute pitches (with slides) from the semi-finalists with a 10 minute Q+A for each company. 

On October 17th, we will select the Finalists, constitute the due diligence teams and they will start researching each of the finalist companies, including site visits, company team reviews, customer reviews and financial reviews.  This will happen as possible between the due diligence teams and the companies. The investors will continue to meet each Tuesday until November 14th.

On November 14th, there will be a Mixer between all of the teams and all of the investors, so that any last minute details can be discussed and explored. 

On November 15th, the final event will take place. It is scheduled for 12:30 to 6:30. As a startup, please plan to be there early. If you are one of the finalists, the finalists will have a table space that they can put materials to talk to the audience about the company. 

All applying companies have already bought a ticket to the final event and will be able to bring members of their team. Please make sure to register all members who are coming, so we can plan on the event. We will send out complementary codes for all of the co-founders. 

You will want to keep your gust.com profile up to date and adjust it as you refine your thinking about your company, regardless of how far you get in this process.

In addition, all of the startups that have applied should get a debriefing meeting with one of the investors after they get out of the running. So every startup that applied should expect to have a sit-down with an investor. All of those should happen before the final event.