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.