Sunday, May 15, 2016

Seattle Angel Conference IX Recap by Drew Meyers

Yesterday marked the 9th Seattle Angel Conference. I spent the day at Impact HUB, watching the pitches and mingling in the crowd. This is the second SAC I've volunteered at, and I noticed an increase in attendance from November's event.
The day started off with several alumni updates previous events, a few open remarks by John Sechrest, and then Bob Crimmins laid out the agenda for the rest of the day.
Wade Brooks, executive director of Angel Resource Institute, spoke about tracking angel
returns. He had a data set of 136 complete investments, and shared some findings from the HALO reports (released quarterly). Average deal size was $915,000, while the median was $505,000. 70% of outcomes in the Halo dataset are failures. For experienced angels, it's no surprise 10% of your companies provide all your returns. To summarize, as an angel investor, all your early indicators are going to be bad. You need to be in a lot of deals, with the hope of being in a big winner, if you ever want to see great returns.
There were 6 fantastic pitches (from the 60+ original applicants):
Brian Bosche from Slope. The technology backbone to allow companies to scale their content production. Businesses spent $160 billion per year on content last year, and their target market is $232 million in the United States alone. Jigar Mody was the lead on due diligence.
Vishal Joshi from Joy Life. Joy is an all in one wedding experience. Shared gifts. Brings strangers, friends, family & vendors closer together. They are already seeing use among 800 couples across 75 countries. Sanjay Bhatia led due diligence.
Erik Klavins from Aquarium. An operating system for life sciences allowing precise experimental results, which can be transferred and reproduced between labs. The more I think about this opportunity, the more excited I get about it. The prospect of a standard operating system for every lab in the world seems probable on a long time horizon. Geoff Harris led due diligence.
Ron Epperson from Crystal Clear Technologies. CCT removes and recovers heavy metals including arsenic, lead, mercury, copper, zinc, and others, as well as nonmetal selenium and radio nucleides, including uranium. Focused  on the 1200 US power plants facing compliance with EPA regulations. Mark Neuhausen led due diligence.
Allison Magyar from Hubb. Hubb is a software as a service model that automates the business process for collecting, managing and marketing the abstracts, speakers and sponsors for conferences and meetings. Guru Ranganathan led due diligence.
Evan Hiner from Prolera. Prolera makes it easy for professionals to manage, complete, and maximize the continuing professional education (CPE) they're required to complete to maintain their licenses. They started with accounting (under the name CPE Suite), but have re-branded to allow them to capture mindshare across more verticals. Richard von Hagel led due diligence.
Following the pitches, Jack Smith and Robi Ganguly did a fireside chat. Robi provided some great insights into early stage funding, the differences between Seattle and San Francisco in both entrepreneur and investors, and hiring. I was particularly impressed with his emphasis on people. I agree with him that, as a business, you must love your customers, and they must love you.
After much deliberation, Daniel Kao, SAC's fund manager, presented the winner. Hubb was awarded $155,000 in investment, and Crystal Clear Technologies was awarded $80,000 as the runner up.
All in all, it was a great day for the Seattle angel and startup communities building relationships and get exposed to great startups.
Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon. Global nomad originating in Seattle. Ex-Zillow community builder. Social Entrepreneur. Microfinance advocate. Travel addict. Find him on Twitter @drewmeyers.

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