It was an incredible honor to represent the investor group for the 5th Seattle Angel Conference as the Fund Manager. We accomplished a lot over the last twelve weeks and learned a lot along the way. We met a lot of new people and helped a lot of entrepreneurs in the process. If you were involved in any way, please send any feedback my way. If you weren't involved in any way... send feedback or requests to get involved to me as well. You can always find ways to contact me here or on twitter @joshmaher.
It was great to hand two HUGE checks out (even if the handwriting was horrible). We seem to have a growing trend of brand management tools growing in Seattle and I'm excited to see where this space goes. Both companies that we invested in Discuss.IO - the grand price winner - and SocialGlimpz - the 2nd prize winner are in brand management in completely different ways. They both can reach out of the brand management space in their own ways. Ultimately though they are designed to connect the people who build products with the people who use them to better understand who they are and how they want to engage with their brands. This is incredibly important and we think it is a space that is ripe for disruption.
We also heard updates from the companies in the SAC portfolio - all are doing amazing and doing a variety of great things. Some are raising their next round, some are signing new customers, some are releasing their next versions - all had great things to share and in the conference's third year none of the companies have failed yet which is great!
I'm really excited for SAC VI in the fall... Applications are due by September 1st at the latest.
Here is the full press release and there are more photos on Michael B Maine's site (thanks for such great photos!!)...
SEATTLE, WA. – May 22, 2014 — The Seattle Angel Conference announced today that Discuss IO was selected as the winner of its fifth investment competition, held in Seattle, WA, at the 220 and Change in Seattle . Discuss.IO is a Seattle based company that has been building their market research platform for years. They had participated in SAC IV in Nov. 2013, and fell short in their goal to win the investment. This round they showed their growth, ability to meet their commitments, and solid sales traction, which impressed the investors. Discuss.IO’s mission is to simplify consumer market research. They use video conferencing and crowdsourcing to connect brands and consumers. Discuss.IO will receive a $155,000 angel award investment from the Seattle Angel Conference V LLC . Given the strength of the candidates, the Angel Investors couldn’t let it stop with one winner. SocialGlimpz, another brand marketing company, focused on visual engagement with consumers won a second investment of $45,000 from the LLC.
This event’s finalist companies were selected from over 40 companies based throughout Washington that applied to compete at the fifth Seattle Angel Conference. A rigorous selection process (known as due diligence) was undertaken by the 33 active angel investors to select the winning company. Thirty to Fifty hours of investigation was performed on each finalist, amounting to over 240 hours of due diligence. In the process 15 new Angel Investors were introduced to the investing process. Each investor staked $5,500 to $10,000 to create the $200,000 investment award for this year’s event. This rounds investment brings the total investment from the Seattle Angel Conference to a remarkable $835,000 invested in the local economy and over 100 investors educated about angel investing in just 2.5 years of the Seattle Angel Conference.
“The Seattle Angel Conference is all about giving new angel investors mentoring, training and experience, growing the available support and capital for Washington’s many startups, removing a key bottleneck for the economy,” said John Sechrest, founder of the Seattle Angel Conference. “At the same time, we are helping promising startups improve their business models with support and feedback from successful investors”.
The five finalists who pitched were:
Grow Plastics – @growplastics Enabling replacement of solid plastic products with half as much bioplastic, providing greener and cheaper solutions.
Meshfire - @meshfire a social media empowerment platform enabling teams to manage the firehose flow of social media for brands.
Discuss.IO - @discuss_IO –simplifying consumer market research, using video conferencing and crowdsourcing to connect businesses to 11 million panelists
SocialGlimpz - @socialglimpz -Visual engagement platform enabling brands to gather consumer insights and create user generated content
Zealyst - @Zealyst using data driving software and creative design to build long lasting human relationships and improve engagement and innovation.
Participating companies received awards of a month at Maker Space. BakerHostetler, Comcast for Business, AterWynne, The Gateway group at Morgan Stanley and SeedInvest also provided sponsorship, making the conference possible. HubSeattle, SurfIncubator, Thinkspace and Bainbridge Graduate institute provided invaluable in-kind support.
The next Seattle Angel Conference will be held in November 2014. All Washington startups and interested investors should inquire in June about participating in the next round of educational events, trainings, and competition. Deadline for applications will be September 1, 2014.
About the Seattle Angel Conference
Each Seattle Angel Conference culminates a 5 month program to educate and train accredited investors as exemplary angel investors through workshops, hands-on practice and mentoring. The Seattle Angel Conference is an investor driven conference, connecting new angel investors with early stage and seed businesses in the Greater Seattle Area. The Seattle Angel Conference introduces qualified investors to the potential, process and rewards of angel investing, and equally importantly, works to encourage, accelerate and coach startup companies in the Seattle areas and across the Northwest. For more information see http://www.seattleangelconference.com.