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: