Monthly Archives: November 2010

ZINO Marketplace – Founders’ Funding, Foibles and Feats

Fund Finalists Dave Lefkow, Bob Mighell, Bill Kallman, Paul Hagen

Back-of-the-Napkin Pitch

Mike Almquist, Dan Gerrity, David Guiliani,
Jan Hendrickson, Tom T. O’Keefe

The entire ZINO Society team is very proud of our ZINO Marketplace Investment Forum held earlier this week at the beautiful Pan Pacific Hotel.  There were 17 entrepreneurs presenting; 12 ZINOpreneur members with 5-minute pitches and 5 2-minute Back-of-the-Napkin pitches.

Of the ZINOpreneur members’ 5-minute presenters, four finalists were selected for consideration for the $50,000 ZINO Marketplace Investment Forum fund which included Dave Lefkow of J&D’s Foods, Inc., Bob Mighell of Tilting Motor Works, Bill Kallman of Scayl, Inc., and Paul Hagen of VacuPractor.  ZINO Zenith (Peoples’ Choice) Awards were awarded to Bob Mighell for Best Presenter and Bill Kallman of Scayl, Inc. for Best Investment Opportunity.  Joe Aboubakr of Cargozz LLC received the ZINO Zenith Award for Best Investment Opportunity among the Back-of-the-Napkin presenters.  Here is the press release with more details.    

In addition, there was a stellar panel of successful entrepreneur “founders” including Michael Almquist, Dan Gerrity, David Guiliani, Jan Hendrickson, and Tom T. O’Keefe who shared some of their “a-ha” lessons learned over the years with the entrepreneurs and investors present.  The expert panel also reviewed the “Back-of-the-Napkin-Pitches” and shared which company they would invest in with the very limited knowledge that they had about each company.  One of my favorite lines during the forum which drew a roar of laughter was Tom O’Keefe’s comment as he was selecting a company and was able to give a call-out to each of the 2-minute presenters, “I can get a card for my wife on our anniversary from Thoughtful People, we can go celebrate at Cold Cold Heart where we can drink Mistica Wine and be protected by GunUp and then get home safely with Cargozz.”

And the Winners are . . . Banshee Bungee and NanoIce!

Cathi Hatch & Kevin Veon of Banshee Bungee
Last week, the Fund Investors for the 2010 ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum Fund got together to make the final selection of which two companies that presented at ZZIF in September would receive the $100,000 co-investment fund.  The winners are ZINOpreneurs Kevin Veon of Banshee Bungee and Craig Rominger of NanoICE!  Both companies are now ready to close their investment rounds with all the attention they both received as a result of ZZIF.  We are thrilled for both of them and look forward to watching their growth and success.

Here is the press release with more interesting details.

“Ladies Who Lead”

Cathi Hatch, Sunny Kobe Cook, Katie Kelley, Cindy Tortorici

The title of the panel discussion in which I was involved earlier this week was “Ladies Who Lead”, a segment of the two-day boutique Global Conference for Women Entrepreneurs event being produced simultaneously in New York and Seattle, entitled “Dream It!  Launch It!  Live It!”  by the organization, Ladies Who Launch.  It was billed as a chance to connect and network with the largest worldwide community of women who are reinventing what it means to be the entrepreneur of your life.

My fellow panelists were Cindy Tortorici of The Link for Women and Sunny Kobe Cook of Kobe Foundation.  Our moderator was Katie Kelley, representing Ladies Who Launch from Portland.  The three areas we were asked to speak to were clarifying one’s vision, developing an influential voice and creating one’s own community of peers and mentors.

One of Sunny’s comments related to the size of my Rolodex.  (In actuality, I use Microsoft Outlook, not a Rolodex.)  The comment was something to the effect that my Rolodex is so large that I have a direct line to God in it.  It made me smile and also made me realize once again how important all of my friends and acquaintances have been in helping make ZINO Society successful!

Candlelight Dinner to benefit Tateuchi Center

Marilyn Herzberg, Cathi Hatch, Kathy Surace-Smith, Karen Lytle

Last night, Ken was happy to stay home with his knee elevated while I joined Chuck & Karen Lytle, who are Tateuchi Center Capital Campaign Co-Chairs at their table at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency for the 2010 Candlelight Dinner presented by the ACT One Guild to benefit the Tateuchi Center.  The ACT One Guild was proud to add to their already raised $1 million funding during the past few years to support the Endowment Fund.

We were welcomed by Melanie Bruch, President of the ACT One Guild.  The tables were a-blaze with votive candles in oversized candle towers and floating candles and orchids in tall vases. The Lytle’s other table guests included Marilyn Herzberg, Patti Payne, Kathy & Brad Smith, Ann & Tom Gores, and Lynn & Craig Schrontz.  Being a guest at the Lytle table is always a treat because Chuck brought some special wine from his cellar.  My favorite was the 1996 Napa Valley Pahlmeyer Merlot which had received a 98 point Robert Parker rating.  At our table, we referred to it as “Ten Buck Chuck”!

Lizabeth Morrow-Nold & Cathi Hatch

 I ran into Joan & Bob Wallace when I first arrived and later had the chance to meet their son, Kevin Wallace, who serves as a Bellevue City Council Member. Some of the other attendees included Tateuchi Center Board President, Peter Horvitz, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs, Betty & Kemper Freeman, newest Board member, Patti Edwards, Board member Ed Springman and his wife, Jane Hague, King County Coucil Member. There was also a contngent attending from the Tateuchi Center ACT Two Guild leadership including three from the Corporate Sponsorship Committee; Vice President, Michele Phillips-Baransky, Secretary Lizabeth Morrow-Nold, and 2010 Artist Mozelle Spencer. Joining them at their table were Stacy & Greg Lill, Columba McGlynn, Stacy & Geoff Chambers, Carri & Sean Miller, and Mark Allison.

Suzuki Method Musicians, PNW School of Music

As part of the dinner program in addition to the Deems Tsutakawa Trio, we had the opportunity to hear from the Suzuki Method Musicians from the Pacific Northwest School of Music including the tiniest young violinists I have ever seen that were maybe five or six years old.  During dessert, we also had the opportunity to hear from two accomplished pianists, Timothy Beuca and Natalya Ageyeva, and were serenaded by Marcus Shelton, tenor.  Each artist was really outstanding, but it was Marcus, the tenor, who brought tears to my eyes when he sang Nessun Dorma from “Turandot” and finished with a song from “Les Miserables”.

Following the entertainment, David Silverman did a masterful job as Emcee of picking up the pace and helped raise another $135,000 during the Fund-A-Need to benefit the Tateuchi Center Endowment Fund.

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Entrepreneur of the Week: Dwight Miles of Whirly Golf

Dwight Miles of Whirly Golf

Our ZINO Society featured ZINOpreneur Member this week is Dwight Miles, President/ & General Manager of Whirly Golf Limited.   Dwight presented his company at the ZINO Society Roundtable meetings on October 19th and 20th . We asked him to share the answers to a few questions about his company.

What is your one-sentence elevator pitch? . . .  The fun short-game chipping and putting device focused on bringing kids to the game of golf through game improvement

How did you come up with the idea for your company? . . .  While talking with golf instructors, representatives with The First Tee and golf retailers, we found that kids love hitting golf balls…they love hitting the ball hard, seeing the ball in flight, but they did not like working on their short game – which is, arguably, the most important facet of their game. So we thought, how do we make chipping and putting fun and allow them to practice in their own back yard with family and friends.

The word that best describes your company culture is . . . Family
In one sentence, how are you different from your competition? . . .  By focusing on kids and partnering with kid focused charities, we have an established relationship with our target consumer and thereby established a unique and differentiated position in the marketplace.
What is the biggest challenge you face? . . .  We have successfully produced a prototype that we are testing. Our biggest challenge is raising the final capital to get us to full launch for the PGA show in January 2011.

How much money have you raised to date? . . . We have raised approximately $800K

If someone gave your company $3 million tomorrow, how would you use the money? . . .

  • Make the final payment for product molds
  • Finalize product packaging
  • PGA Show – January
  • Product samples for the show
  • Product seeding for charitable partners
  • Website
  • Advertising and PR
  • Road show to see key customers
  •  Full worldwide launch
  • Displays/Merchandisers for retailers
What is the oddest or most unusual thing about your company? . . . Huge worldwide potential with unique focus on captive kids audience that is expandable beyond golfers.

What is one thing missing from your business? . . .The one thing missing from our company is final funding to have product launch for the January 2011 PGA Golf Show.
Why will your company be successful? . . .We will be successful because we have a unique position in the marketplace by partnering with key charitable groups that touch 5M kids. Our leadership team has extensive experience in start-up businesses and global sales and marketing experience in consumer packaged goods. We have a business model that provides tremendous profit margin while meeting retailer target margin from inception. And lastly, we also have experience in the golf industry and have received sincere interest from the top 10 retailers buying departments.

25th Annual MOHAI History Makers Gala

Prince Charming, Ian, charms Doug and Joyce  Tonight Ken and I attended the Museum of History and Industry History Makers Gala at the Fremont Studios.  (The last time I was in the Fremont Studios was last March when I was one of the featured “Seattle Dance” dancers to raise funds for Plymouth Housing Group.  Here… Continue Reading

Celebrating 10 PLus Years of WWF

Today I attended a lovely reception at Susan Brotman’s exquisite Medina home in honor of the women who have been involved with WWF for 10 years or more.  By the way, WWF does NOT stand for the World Wrestling Federation, but instead for Washington Women’s Foundation. Founded 15 years ago by Colleen Willoughby to encourage… Continue Reading

A Devilish Good Time

 Ken, The Devil  On Halloween, Ken actually got dressed in his stylish devil’s costume to attend a Halloween Dinner Party on Hunt’s Point.  Though still recovering from his knee replacement surgery, I convinced him that he would mostly get to sit down for the evening, so he agreed.  I think he especially liked… Continue Reading