Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Workshop: 10 Tips: How to Deliver an Investor-Ready Pitch

Caroline Cummings- Palo Alto Software

This informative workshop will center on:

10 Actionable Tips Entrepreneurs can Employ to Create and Deliver a Powerful Investor Pitch and Increase their Chances of Getting Funded.  

Caroline Cummings of Palo Alto Software

Thursday, March 7, 2013 from 11:55 AM to 1:30 PM (PST)

Surf Incubator
Exchange Building, 821 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

Register HERE 

  • Attendees will also be given 3 months of free access to LivePlan ( the world leading business planning, pitch creation, and financial management software to use in developing their own business plan and associated pitch. 
  • LivePlan's "Pitch" feature allows users to quickly and easily build a single page info-graphic to professionally represent a business to lenders, investors, business partners, and advisers.
  •  Caroline will demo the tool briefly as part of her workshop.

Caroline is VP of Marketing at at Palo Alto Software, the world leader in business plan, pitch, and financial management software (flagship products include LivePlan and Business Plan Pro). Caroline's equal passions for both entrepreneurship and philanthropy have guided her throughout her career as a business leader, marketer, and dedicated mentor and child advocate. As the former co-founder and CEO of two technology companies, she’s experienced both start-up failures and successes, and has raised close to $1 million in investment capital. Her first venture, (healthy social shopping), dissolved in 2009. Her second venture,(mobile marketing for real estate) >sold in early 2012. She has co-founded several successful entrepreneurial programs for the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, including  Smart-ups Pub TalksSouthern Willamette Angel NetworkCaroline is regularly invited to participate as a judge for several business plan competitions, as well as speak on topics including entrepreneurship, angel investing, social media, and authentic self promotion.  Caroline currently mentors several young women and is also the immediate past president of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lane County’s board of directors.    She is a graduate of Drexel University’s LeBow School of Business.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Seattle Angel Conference Is an Indicator of Seattle Startup Diversity

Guest Post by Geoffrey Harris - Angel Investor in Seattle Angel Conference

"Educational and Exciting"

My participation in the second Seattle Angel conference was my first participation in a formal investment group. I had certain assumptions as I went in– some of which were validated and others not.

One of the assumptions was about the nature of the startups that would make it through our process. I knew the makeup of the investors: overwhelmingly a group of current and former technology professionals. This led me to assume that we would bias towards our areas of knowledge and the finalists would end up looking like a who’s who of local tech startups.

But then a funny thing happened – we ended up with a highly diverse set of finalists. We had our traditional tech startups to be sure (ExoLabs, the eventual winner as well as Talk to the Manager). We had a couple for whom technology was an important part but which also had a strong attachment to very non-tech marketplaces ( (authors) and Corengi (clinical trials)). We also had a hydroponic lettuce grower (Suncrest Farms) and a medical device manufacturer (Redpoint). These last two in particular seemed outside of my expectations for companies we would consider for investment.

The diverse nature of the finalists made for some very steep learning curves in performing due diligence. Once we completed due diligence we then had a significant challenge in comparing these companies against each other. Not only were they at different stages of their development but they were also in completely different industries. The debates over how to weigh the merits of hydroponic techniques as compared to the opportunity presented in the clinical trial marketplace were certainly some of the most educational and exciting aspects of the conference.

The nature of our finalists also had me questioning one of my core assumptions about the Seattle startup scene. Given that I spend most days steeped in the technology sector coupled with the fact that several of Seattle’s most successful recent startups have been in tech tended to make me think of Seattle as another high tech center - Silicon Valley North, if you will. What became clear to me however is that there is a rich collection of startups run by entrepreneurs as passionate in their space as any in the technology sector.

What is less clear is that the same financial backing is available to these companies.

In the end that (diversity and passion) is what the Seattle Angel Conference is all about.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Startup Corengi Gets Great Value From Seattle Angel Conference Participation!

Guest Post by Ryan Luce- CoFounder of Corengi

This past year, my co-founder Jesse Clark and I have pitched Corengi to a number of investor audiences.  One of the most rewarding, however, was our participation in the Seattle Angel Conference – where we were selected as one of the six finalists. (It should also be pointed out that SAC made the obviously foolish decision to select Exo Labs – and not Corengi - as the recipient of their $100K investment.)    

What we found so rewarding is:

1)   First off, there is a large amount of quality interactions with angel investors.  After our initial application, we were selected as one of the 21 semi-finalists.  During the pitches at this stage, we met and exchanged contact information with about ten of the investors participating.  After we were selected as finalists, there was a social event that involved all of the 20+ investors and all the finalist companies.  There was a focus on driving meaningful interactions between the startups and the potential investors.

2)   Secondly, we learned a tremendous amount during the due diligence.  Corengi was paired with Ammen Jordan and Brad Carpenter.  These two individuals really challenged our ideas and our business.  Over a three-week period, we met with these individuals three different times and had a number of other phone calls and email threads.  Blunt feedback let us understand what investors did and did not like about our business.  (Thanks Alex!)  These made us re-consider working assumptions, improve our story, and be smarter about where we wanted to take our business.

3)   Finally, the actual structure of the event was well done.  There were 10 minutes for each pitch, followed by a five-minute Q&A led by one of the investors.  I left the event completely impressed by the quality and the variety of the other companies presenting.

I think its impressive what John Sechrest, Scott Wigton, and the rest of the folks at SAC have done over the past year.  

 They’re doing everything they can to drive more angel investment in the area.  

 If you’re a startup, do yourself a favor and check them out.

-Ryan Luce

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Accelerating from 0 to 7 in 4 years: Who will fund Demo Days?

Four Years ago, Seattle had no accelerator programs. That is, accelerators in the TechStars model of a three month sprint , with a Demo Day at the end.  It looks like there will be 5, perhaps 7 demo days from accelerators in Seattle in 2013. 

The explosion of Tech Accelerators has been tremendous, not just in Seattle, but around the world. They provide a significant opportunity for idea stage startups to gain focus and to gain traction with a market.

In Seattle we have the following accelerators: 

It looks like Microsoft, Fledge and 9Mile Labs are each anticipating cohorts twice a year. 

 If all of these programs have a good run, they will be having between 5 and 7 Demo days in 2013.  If each accelerator has 10 teams , that is between 50 and 70 teams coming out of accelerators in Seattle this year. 

At Demo Day, there is an expectation of attracting Angel Investors into funding the companies. Where will the Angel Investors come from who are going to fund these various companies? 

Angel Investors have an SEC based restriction. If you have over $1M (not counting your house) in net worth OR make more than $200K / year OR make over $300K / year, then you are a qualified investor. 

Salary studies and other data suggests that about 8% of the households in King county meet this critiera. That would make about 60,000 households that are able to participate in Angel Investing.  However, in samples of interviews, many of these people do not self identify as Angel Investors. 

If we are going to successfully fund the great companies out of these new accelerators, should we be looking at growing more Angel Investors?

This is the goal of the Seattle Angel Conference.... To provide an easy entry into process of Angel Investing. Do you know someone who would like to know more about Angel Investing? Perhaps they want to talk about the Seattle Angel Conference. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Workshop: Crowdfunding, AngelList, and Angel Investors: The Venn of it all

Time was, VCs didn't want angel investors mucking up cap tables.

- Conversation with William Carleton

No more.  

Today everyone knows it's angel money, not VC money, that funds most tech startups.William Carleton
Comes now investment crowdfunding: will angels now be the ones taking a turn looking down their noses at "amateur" investors?

Or is there a third way?

To find out: 
Join us onMarch 4, 2013  11:00 AM to 12:30 PMat Surf Incubator 
(register at the eventbrite link for map and directions)
In this session, we will explore how crowdfunding is so very different from angel investing - but, also, where the two paradigms overlap. We'll also look at how innovations in angel investing may set "best practice" standards for crowdfunding portals.
The session will be led by William Carleton, an internet lawyer whose blog, Counselor @ Law, is America's #1 ranked securities law blog and #5 ranked intellectual property law blog. Bill is an angel investor himself, and serves as the Vice Chair of the Angel Capital Association's Public Policy Committee Advisory Council.

Register for the workshop here:

Workshop: Making Your Startup Investor Ready - Tolis Dimopoulos

Is your startup set up to be able to take an investment? Tolis Dimopoulos from Sophos Law

When investors are looking at your startup, they are hopefully going down a checklist exploring the different aspects of your startup to see how it shapes up. 
After they have made the decision to invest, there are several due diligence items that they will want to look at. 
Have you pulled together the materials that you need for this conversation? Have you structured things in a way that makes this an easy conversation?

Or do you have things you have been putting off that will complicate the conversation?

Find out at our Free Workshop!
Join Seattle Angel Conference on
Feb. 18, 2013  

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
at Surf Incubator 
(register at the eventbrite link for map and directions)

Come join Tolis Dimopoulos from Sophos Law explore the question of how to make your startup investor Ready. 
This is an especially important workshop for companies planning to participate in a Demo Day or as part of the Seattle Angel Conference.

Register for the Workshops at