Saturday, December 15, 2012

Exo Labs Winner of 2nd Seattle Angel Conference December 2012 Investment Competition

Exo Labs Receives $100,000 Investment

SEATTLE, WA. – Dec 13, 2012 — The Seattle Angel Conference announced today that Exo Labs was selected as the winner of its second investment competition, held in Seattle, WA  at the HUB, a co-working and event space. The Bellevue-based Company makes iPad and iPhone microscopes for science education and beyond, making life easier for teachers and researchers. The Exo Labs Digital Microscope is targeted at K-12 education, providing a quick integration into existing curriculum, and allowing remote sharing of live microscopic images.  

Exo Labs will receive the $100,000 angel award investment prize.  Talk to the Manager, a startup focused on providing a customer service tool that allows managers to receive and respond to immediate, anonymous customer feedback via text messages won the "People's Choice Award", as the winner of audience balloting for the best business presentation.

"We are excited to bring a spotlight on the breadth and depth of Washington startups, and to expose these entrepreneurs to new and experienced angel investors from around the Pacific Northwest," said John Sechrest, founder of the Seattle Angel Conference.   "The quality of the business plans, and the strong support from the investor community show how vibrant the entrepreneurial economy is here.  We are excited to be providing a venue for Angels to develop their skills, and at the same time, help promising startups find their own angel investors .

This year's finalist companies were selected from over 30 companies based throughout Washington that applied to compete at the second Seattle Angel Conference. A rigorous selection process was undertaken by the 20+ member panel of active angel investors to select the winning company. Each investor staked $5,000 to create the $100,000 investment award for this year's event. This was the second Seattle Angel Conference, and the event has shown strong growth in participation, investment, and innovation.   The next Seattle Angel Conference will be held in April. 

About the Seattle Angel Conference

The Seattle Angel Conference is an investors conference, connecting early stage and seed businesses with angel and venture investors in the Seattle Area. Their mission is to encourage, accelerate and showcase startup companies in the Seattle areas and across Washington, and equally importantly, to introduce qualified investors to the potential, process and rewards of Angel Investing

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Announcing the Seattle Angel Conference Finalists

We are happy to announce the finalists for the next round of investment. 

The Six Finalists are:
  • Corengi 
  • Redpoint International
  • Exo Labs
  • Suncrest Farms
  • Talk to the Manager
We had 36 companies  apply to the Seattle Angel Conference.  After eight weeks of pitches, coaching sessions, reviews, selections and due diligence, these six companies remain as the finalists. 

Here are more details about the companies:

Corengi  - -  @corengi

Re-inventing how people learn about and connect with clinical trials - an industry that spends $14 billion annually on recruitment.

Corengi has a matching engine to help patients find clinical trials that is available both on a dedicated website and via a widget. This simple service provides referrals to trial sponsors and new revenue for health-related websites. Initial focus is on lead-generation – referrals for clinical trial sponsors, CRO's and investigative sites. In the future, our technology and data will be leveraged to help trial sponsors plan trials.

Redpoint International - 

REDpoint's patent pending and FDA cleared medical devices provide the most effective solution to a $1B globally recognized problem.
Over 300M domestic IVs are placed annually. If secured by tape, 92% of IV catheters fail to survive the expected 96 hrs. dwell time. IV adhesives cause skin reactions on 34% of patients. 70% of IV failures requiring restarts result from catheter movement. REDpoint's Stedline is adhesive free and prevents IV failures as it absorbs over 10 times the amount of pull on the IV lines as compared to all other leading commercial means of stabilization. - - @writerlytweets is a marketplace of independent publishing services that connects writers with the vendors they need to get their books to market.
The marketplace connects writers directly with the vendors they need throughout the self-publishing process. Writers post biddable service requests on to find copy editors, designers, ebook specialists, marketers, etc. Most self-published books fall short of the author's sales goals. solves this problem by enabling writers to create customized publishing support teams throughout the publishing and marketing process.

Suncrest Farms - 


SUNCREST™ is a Seattle-based clean tech company that uses advanced hydroponic "pond" technology to grow premium-quality lettuce in local, commercial-scale greenhouses 365 days/yr within 100 miles of urban centers across the U.S. — Whole Foods calls "Local" the new organic and it is the fastest-growing segment in the $1.2B Romaine/Leaf Lettuce Market. The problem is supply — because 98% of all US lettuce is shipped from CA, AZ, and Mexico.

Exo Labs - - @exolabs 

Exo Labs makes iPad and iPhone microscopes for science education and beyond.

Our iPad and iPhone microscopes make life easier for teachers by immediately integrating into existing curriculum, optimizing use of class time, and allowing users to take the classroom anywhere. Because of the exponential growth of iPads in education, we are initially targeting customers in the education and science/engineering markets; then we will expand our market targets to include hobbyists and technology enthusiasts.

Talk to the manager - - @talktothemanagr  

We provide a customer service tool that allows managers to receive and respond to immediate, anonymous customer feedback via text message.

Customers provide realtime, actionable feedback to management staff by anonymous text message. Management then responds, resolving issues before customers leave. This form of preventative reputation management improves the business' online character and boosts their positive social media reach. Analytics generated lead to operational improvements reducing costs, customer turnover, and provide a seamless marketing solution creating brand loyalty.

Wade Brooks Speaking at Seattle Angel Conference

Wade is the Executive Director of the Willamette University Angel Investment Fund, the first and only graduate school angel fund program of its kind. Wade co-founded this program with Rob Wiltbank, PhD and it provides experiential learning for MBA students in effectuation, due diligence and seed-level investing. It was ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the "Top 10 Best Entrepreneurship Courses of 2011," alongside classes at Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
In addition to the Angel Fund, Wade teaches courses in entrepreneurship, new venture launch and venture investing at the Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management. He also serves on the board of private companies. While he has taught corporate finance and capstone courses, entrepreneurship remains his passion.
When I founded the Willamette Angel Conference, we were lucky to have interest from the Willamette MBA Angel Fund. We had two students representing the Angel Fund work along side each of the investors in the Conference Investor LLC. They had made an actual investment into Conference and participated fully in the process. The investment discussions were definately better off having the MBA students engaging in the process.
Come learn more about the Willamette MBA Angel Fund and the returns of Angel Investors overall. Wade will be the Capstone Speaker at the Seattle Angel Conference on December 13, 2012

Do Angel Investors actually make money?

We have all heard the story of the guy working at XYZ big company, who over time becomes an SEC Qualified Investor. He gets approached by some co-workers who have a great idea. He invests $100K into this great idea with very little due diligence. In the end his friends loose all the money and kill the company. Perhaps they damage relationships along the way. And in the end, our investor decides that Angel Investing is a bad idea. 

On the other hand, we seem to see groups of people who are investing on a regular basis and they seem to be happy to continue even when for years, the only thing they get back is investments that have failed. While entrepreneurship and Angel Investing take a serious amount of optimism, what is it that keeps people engaging in Angel Investing. 

Fortunately, we have Rob Wiltbank conducting on going research about the results of Angel Investing. He recently posted some results in a TechCrunch Article: , showing that under some circumstances, groups of Angel Investors are making 2.5 times their investment returns. Which translates to something around a 27% annualized return rate. 

Take a look at the graph and notice that 60% of the deals end up loosing some or all of the money that was invested. In addition, companies that fail tend to die earlier than companies that succeed. So it would not be unexpected to have multiple years of losses before you start seeing investments that succeed. 

This makes it difficult to distinguish a series of just bad investments from a normal collection of good investments. However, by following some specific guidelines, Angel Investors have a better chance making a reasonable return.  Effective Angel Investing begins with doing a reasonable amount of due diligence on companies, which are in an industry that you understand and that you have relationships and contacts. 

Come hear more of the details of this research when Wade Brooks makes the Capstone speech at the Seattle Angel Conference on December 13th, 2012