Due to some scheduling conflicts, we had to move to HUB Seattle's space for the semifinals. The change of venue was refreshing having already spent 10-12 hours vetting companies at the Davis Wright Tremain offices with this group of investors. So far though, the actual interaction with the other investors was great. The group consists of male and female investors. Some in tech, some in real estate, some in the medical profession, some in the food industry, the list goes on. Meeting and beginning to build relationships with the other investors has been an important part of the process and one that I hope you get the chance to partake in for Seattle Angel Conference IV.
The semifinals were great, the pitches were well polished, the attendance from the companies was higher meaning individual investors has the opportunity to connect more deeply with the companies. We did the semifinals over two weeks allowing for six companies to present per week. This allowed for 10 minute pitches by each of the companies plus time for Q&A. This was well needed as many of the companies still had a lot of questions being asked so that the investors could get a better sense of where the team, product, & company were in their process. I attended the first of these two meetings in person and ended up liking one of the companies so much I scheduled more time with them to meet the CTO later in the week. This was a little early, but I got their business and judging from the questions in the room a lot of the investors did not understand their business so I wanted to see if I was missing something or if I could explain it a little better to the other investors.
I attended the second of these two meetings remotely. I was really glad this was an option. These meetings have been every single week in the evening and the family really begins to notice when you aren't around one evening a week. We were on spring break vacation and I just took a couple hours over dinner to join the online meeting where we had audio & video live from the event. I wasn't able to network with the six companies presenting... but I did get to hear the pitches and submit questions remotely which was super helpful.
After the two weeks of pitches, we reconvened on the third week for our second to last cut meeting. We met in the main HUB event space to give all the investors a sense for what was coming. We learned a little more about the format of the event, dug deeper on the convertible note and what that meant for us as a group of investors, and then got into the nitty gritty of cutting half of the semifinalists. We did the usual most favorite three, least favorite three, and everyone's favorite the NFW (No Fucking Way) vote where we dropped two companies because too many people would never vote for them regardless of what came up in the due diligence sessions. We were trying to get to the six finalists that we would perform due diligence on. This meant that the investors would vote and eventually get to the top six favorites and then we would break into teams and perform due diligence.
That company I mentioned earlier... I tried hard to keep them in the final six, at one point after they were completely out of the running and no one would take the lead to perform due diligence on one of the other teams I tried to get them back into the top six considering I would have been happy to lead due diligence on them. Alas they were voted out and my extra couple of hours wouldn't translate into anything more fruitful for them.
The other company did get a due diligence lead and the six finalists look pretty good. I joined one of the due diligence teams in a supporting role vs. a lead role. The team consisted of four people and we would all take on some aspect of due diligence with the company (market, team, financials, product, etc.).
In the next post (next Monday) in the Seattle Angel Conference III series, I’ll post on what took place during due diligence leading up to the actual conference on May 16th.