Saturday, June 22, 2019

Starting the Sweet 16 Seattle Angel Conference with Workshops

We are starting on the 16th Seattle Angel Conference. The beginning of the cycle starts with an panel presentation about Seattle Angel Experiences.  Yoko Okano will moderate a panel with Isaac Nicholes, Minda Brusse and Allen Nieman.

This panel will be on June 25th, 2019. For registration details, look at the meetup group :

All of the upcoming workshops are available on the meetup site:

The workshops include: 

June 25 - Seattle Angel Investing Experiences
July 9    - Angel 101 - Starting the Angel Investing Journey
July 16 - Due Diligence Basics
July 23 - Reading Startup Financials for Investors
July 25 - Angel Investing for the Tech Community 
July 30 - Deal Terms 
August 1 - Pitch Deconstruction Workshop (Seattle)
August 6 - Addressing Climate Change by Angel Investing
August 13 - Pitch Deconstruction Workshop (Redmond) 

This is preparation for companies that are thinking of participating in the next round of the Angel Conference.  The company application date is August 29th

Thursday, May 23, 2019

BioInteractive Technologies with TENZR and Lucent Biosciences with SOILEOS were granted $110,000 each by angel investors in SAC XV to keep growing their businesses in Healthtech and Agritech.

The Seattle Angel Conference has just concluded it’s 15th event, granting $220,000 to two startups. The event was well organized by @John Sechrest, founder of the Seattle Angel Conference whose mission is to accelerate the startup ecosystem in the Seattle Area. 

In attendance were investors, entrepreneurs and supporters of all backgrounds and expertise considering the presenting companies were diverse in their products, markets, and industries. The mix created a wonderful networking environment for building great new connections where one would not normally develop them.
The conference began with a kickoff by John Sechrest. Elaine Werffeli provided an overview of the state of startup investing in the Pacific Northwest. It was delightful to know that the angel investing community has grown annually in the region and that the Northwest leads the way for funding Women only and Women & Men startups. This was followed by a panel discussion with Sharad Agrawal, Fran Dannaway, and Geoff Harris moderated by Yoko Okano. 

The Seattle Angel Conference XV Finalists pitching their companies were:
  • Lisi Global: Environmentally safe, patented electronic technology that eradicates soil pests and pathogens that cause $350 billion in global crop losses annually. 
  • Lucent BioSciences: Soileos, is a new class of “bio released” micronutrient fertilizers that don’t pollute, grows crops with higher yield & nutrient levels at a lower price. 
  • Vooks is the world’s first subscription-based streaming platform exclusively dedicated to animated books.
  • BioInteractive Technologies: Tenzr, its revolutionizing hand therapy, empowers individuals with hand, wrist and forearm injuries, by removing the uncertainty in their recovery process.
  • Via Airlift: The most convenient, personalized solution to get locally sourced fresh food, snacks & beverages at work.
  • Energsoft: Enables enterprise and clean-tech R&D with data unification, visualization and AI for energy storage with $2B beachhead market for OEM and electronics.

After the presentations, the angels gathered to vote on their collective grand prize winner while the presenters networked with attendees. This was an exciting time as the attendees asked follow-up questions to the presenters and the attendees discussed the strengths of the presentations and speculated as to the winner.

Poker chips were given to the public to vote for their favorite pitch. The public winner was Vooks! Then, the angels returned from their discussion, and they announced that the presentations and startups were so strong that the angels decided to pool additional funds and invest into two companies instead of one: Lucent BioSciences and BioInteractive Technologies! 
The social media team interviewed three finalists’ startups about the biggest takeaways of SAC XV, and some of their comments were: "This was a great experience, Angel investors ask great questions that helped us evolve and improve" "Seeing other team's pitches and learning from them was awesome.” There is so much to learn just going through the process of putting a pitch together, networking with other startups and being challenged by good questions, that all startups in the pacific northwest and nearby, should participate in The Seattle Angel Conference!

The next conference will be in November 2019 with August 29th as the deadline for the next set of companies to apply.

Written and edited by,

Joaquin Gallardo and Natalia Arango.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Keynote Panel for SAC XV explores the impact of SAC Alumni

Over the last 8 years, the Seattle Angel Conference has engaged close to 350 new Angel Investors. Some of those new Angel Investors have leaned-in, and now are impacting our startup ecosystem in new ways. The creation of Flying Fish Ventures, Grubstakes and the expansion of Angels groups in the area have their genesis in the Seattle Angel Conference. Additionally, the Angel Conference has provided lift for dozens of new startups.  We will explore this at the Seattle Angel Conference XV on Wednesday, May 15th. 

Yoko Okano
Yoko has a non-traditional path to tech and startups, studying music history at Stanford and playing Taiko (Japanese drums) professionally before joining Google. In her 8 years at Google, she worked in operations and strategic partnerships for Google AdWords, Google Books, Google News and Google Play, launching Google eBooks in 13 countries and managing partnerships with comic book publishers and the distribution businesses for the largest US publishers. She has been as a product leader for 2 startups, and invests both independently as well as through groups including Seattle Angel Conference and Grubstakes. Yoko served as the fund manager for SAC XIV and assistant fund manager for SAC XIII. She is passionate about mentoring and sharing what she’s learned to help others with non-traditional or underestimated backgrounds have a smoother path into the startup ecosystem.

Fran Dunaway
Fran Dunaway is a media executive-turned-fashion entrepreneur and co-founder of TomboyX, an innovative online underwear company that is disrupting a $16B industry by focusing on fit, quality and function. The TomboyX brand is about inclusivity, body positivity and empowerment. Fran and her wife, Naomi Gonzalez, co-founded the company and in 2014, TomboyX introduced the first boxer brief designed for women. Last year, TomboyX made it into Inc 500 list at #231. They continue to see 2x growth and closed their Series B last week. 

Geoff Harris
Geoff Harris spent 15 years at Microsoft in Engineering Leadership and Executive Leadership positions. His career at Microsoft began in digital media where he ran the Windows Media Player team. He then moved on the mobile space where he founded the first mobile services team within Microsoft, growing the team from zero to 250 in just over a year, which included a medium sized international acquisition. Geoff was then General Manager for the Speech and Natural Language team where he led advancements in Speech Recognition and Natural Language Processing which are shipped in Xbox, Windows Phone and Cortana.

Geoff was an active angel investor with a portfolio of more than 40 investments. He has become heavily involved in promoting angel investing within Seattle in an effort to grow the funding ecosystem for local startups. Geoff serves on the Seattle Angel Board of Directors, a non-profit with a mission of educating both entrepreneurs and potential angel investors. Geoff is an avid musician.

Sharad Agarwal 
Sharad is a computer science researcher, engineer, and angel investor in the Seattle tech industry. He has been at Microsoft Research for over 14 years, working on advanced research in mobile computing, networking, and cloud services. He has co-authored over 35 academic publications with over 5,600 citations, and co-invented 47 issued patents. He has served on over 50 technical committees for international conferences, workshops, journals and the NSF. He has impacted Microsoft products, including Windows 10 and Windows Phone 8. He recently became an ACM Distinguished Engineer. Sharad has been an active angel investor for several years and has 15 companies in his portfolio. He learned how to invest through Seattle Angel Conference, where he also served as an assistant fund manager, and now he invests actively with Grubstakes. You can connect with him here:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Seattle Angel Conference XV Workshops

The Seattle Angel Conference XV is kicking off with a set of workshops around Startups and Angel Investing.

Each cycle of the Angel Conference, we explore many of the issues related to startups that are looking at taking outside funding and the investors who would invest in them.  This cycle we are Seattle side, doing many of our workshops at UW CoMotion on Roosevelt. Our program matches new Angel Investors with early stage companies to help everyone make a giant step forward on their efforts.

Given that 15% of the people between 45 and 65 are accredited and thereby allowed to invest in startups by Federal Law, we expect that each of you knows someone who is accredited , but is unaware of what that might mean to them. Our goal is to double the number of people making investments into our startup ecosystem. If you know a startup seeking early stage funding (pre-seed of $150K ) , please invite them to come to the workshops. If you know an accredited person, who might consider learning  more about Angel Investing, please invite them to the workshops.

Below, I have highlighted the workshops for this round. You can find all of these at . Let me highlight the workshop on February 12th about the termsheet. It promises to open up the conversation about how more companies can find outside funding using a different model of investment.  Please help us spread the word about these workshops. 

The deadline for companies to apply to the workshop is on February 28th. Applications should go here:


Startup Financials with Kathleen Baxley
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Learn how viewing your business through a "number lens" can improve decision making, and which tools should be considered at different stages of growth. As a business, part of your task is to build a model of the business. Having that financial model provides you with the foundation to raise funds, predict troubles, and otherwise survive as a company.

Pitch deconstruction with Javier Soto , Elaine Werffeli, and Yoko Okano
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

During this Pitch Deconstruction workshop, any of the companies that come will have the chance to give their 1-minute pitch. The audience will then vote for who they would like to hear more from, and those winners (typically 5-6) will then give 3-minute pitches. Note: The 1-minute pitches should not include slides. The 3-minute pitches can include a slide deck.

We'll have active investors at the event to provide general feedback to all of these 1-minute pitches and more direct feedback for the 3-minute pitches.

Startup Legal Agreements with Daniel Neuman
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

How does your startup set a good foundation, so that as you move into fundraising, you have the key pieces in place. We will discuss how to properly set up your startup to be ready to take on VC and angel investments. This would include discussing the various documents regarding incorporation (vs. forming an LLC), board and stockholder consents, founder stock issuances, employees/contractors, IP, customer contracts, terms of services and privacy policy, etc.

We will also look at a due diligence request list for a typical early stage financing. This will help to frame the foundations that need to be built for your startup.

Angel 101 with Elaine Werffeli
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Angel Investing is its own kind of process. It has different characteristics than most investing. To learn more about Angel Investing, we recommend the book by David S Rose called " Angel Investing".

There are key things to know about Angel Investing, which when done well can make this an interesting asset class for investment.

Evaluation of Indie VC Terms with Luni Libes + Geoff Harris
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

One of the four critical factors of a venture investment is the structure of the deal. The traditional Preferred Equity agreement or the newer Convertible notes or SAFE Agreements all focus on a specific kind of company. There are a small number of companies that these structures support. The folks at have come up with a set of deal terms that provide an new set of deal terms, which open up a significantly different set of opportunities. These terms have a lot in common with the Equity Redemption deal terms that Luni Libes has been using at, a local impact company accelerator. We will have a discussion by Luni Libes of Fledge and Geoff Harris of Flying Fish Capital about the pros and cons of the terms.

Calculating Dilution with Carter Mackley
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

In the beginning, the founders of a company own all of the stock. As they take outside funds and sell stock, each round dilutes the current stock owners. Overly zealous Angel Investors and misplaced donations of stock to vendors can lead to unexpected results later in the process.

Carter Mackley will walk through the process of understanding stock dilution, cap table calculations and the ways that Startup Founders need to track the process of framing their rounds of outside funding.

See more at :

The Angel Conference has a 12 week program from February 26th to May 15th, where the companies and the investors engage and on May 15th the investors will select a company to invest in.

By using this model over the last 7 years, we have invested in 29 companies with over 350 new investors learning the process.  Please help us spread the word about these workshops and about the Angel Conference process.

For more details about the process, take a look at

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Winner of the Seattle Angel Conference XIV is Conquer Experience!

The winner for the 14th Seattle Angel Conference was Conquer Experience (, a VR and iPad simulation training solution for operating room nurses. Led by CEO Angela Robert, Conquer Experience’s software drastically reduces the amount of operating room training time a nurse needs prior to live surgery, resulting in significantly lower costs to hospitals.

Since kicking off the 10-week conference process in early September, the participating investors have delved into the applicant companies, whittling the list down to 6 finalists by reviewing pitch decks, pitches and engaging in Q&A and coffee meetings with the applicant companies. The last 4 weeks of the process involved even deeper engagement between the finalist companies and investors as they dug into the due diligence process to identify strengths and vulnerabilities for each opportunity.

The November 14th event brought the SAC XIV process to a close, starting with a snapshot of data about gender diversity for angel groups in the Pacific Northwest followed by a panel of investors including Javier Soto, Sarah Imbach, Serena Glover, Martina Welkhoff and Eric Berman. The finalists, Medsforall, Boom Learning, Demand Star, ID Genomics, Plover and Conquer Experience, pitched to a full room of investors, other founders and community partners, before investors in the SAC XIV group voted to select Conquer Experience as the winner.

Medsforall, a company creating the world’s first ampule based autoinjector, received the Audience Favorite award. Read more about all of the finalists here.

A special thanks to Microsoft Research for sponsoring the Seattle Angel Conference XIV process!

We'll be kicking off workshops in preparation for the next round of SAC in January. Workshop schedule will be posted on Meetup (here) soon. Application deadline for the next round is February 28th! Details about the application process at

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Meet the SAC XIV Finalists

SAC XIV - November 14th, 2018
The 14th edition of Seattle Angel Conference is ahead of us, with six competitive companies ready to present
on stage. As we head into the final event, let’s review the process they've gone through, and of course, who
are they. At the end of the event, we will have selected the company(s) which will receive the investment
from the investor fund.
So many companies have tried but only 6 has made it to the finals. For a series of structured investor meetings
designed to let the group learn angel investing by doing angel investing, from beginning until the end. After
reviewing the company profiles, from 53 applying companies we are now down to 6. They've gone through
several rounds of pitches and Q&A to identify whether they are investable or not.
On the companies' side, it's been a big thing for them to prepare and get ready for the pitches and slide decks
that they need to do. In my observation, it was an interesting thing for each companies as they take the challenge
to participate, they don't just look for the presentation to be prepared at the right time, but they get that chance
to provide a complete and concise data, logistics and opportunity while positively addressing all the key ideas.
Boom Learning - Is creating a cloud-based platform for teachers to create interactive lessons including real-time
data and instant sharing and distribution. (Kirkland, WA)
Conquer Experience - It's a digital simulation company and has an award-winning training solution for operating
room nurses called PeriopSim. (Vancouver, BC)
DemandStar - Building a purchasing network for all businesses and governments. (Seattle, WA)
IDGenomics - Developing precision diagnostic tests to guide the best antibiotic choice before the patient leaves
the doctor’s office in less than 45 minutes. (Seattle, WA)
Medsforall - Creating an ampule auto-injector, resulting in affordable manufacturing, a streamlined regulatory
pathway, and the ability to replace expired drug. (Seattle, WA)
Plover - A revolutionizing the carwash industry with a one-minute, chemical-free automated car wash.
(Portland, OR)

Join us and witness the 6 Finalist as they presented on stage and let's explore the process of Angel Investing and
help build a stronger startup ecosystem.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Meet the finalists

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.
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…
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.