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.

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

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 (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

Contact: John Sechrest -
              @sechrest , @nwangelconf

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

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:


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,

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

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 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

The Winner of the Seattle Angel Conference XII is Latchel

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

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:

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