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