Friday, March 30, 2012

Saluting Participants of the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge

Mary Holmes, Ricky Holm of GIST, Cathi Hatch
Yesterday, I served as a Judge at the annual UW Environmental Innovation Challenge.  This is around the third year I have attended and this was the best one yet!  It was held in the Exhibition Hall at the Seattle Center and included 23 student teams pitching their real and potential companies that are attempting to make a difference in our environment.

Andrei Afanasiev of Genius Lighting
I had the opportunity to hear the 23 different teams share their passion as they pitched for no more than two minutes each.  A gong rang at the end of each two minutes and the student presenters were right on track.  I was so impressed with the quality of the pitches and the poise and confidence of the young entrepreneurs that my judging scores were very high.  In addition to quality of the pitch, each company was also judged on the clarity and details of their one-page executive summary, the demonstration of their prototype and the potential impact to our environment.

Wallace Kempkey, Snow Yang,
Karla Krauthamer, Kim Huynh of Pterofin
ZINO Society team members also attending the Challenge with me were Mary Holmes and Kate DesRosier.  We were so proud of our current ZINO Society intern Ricky Holm, who not only did the best job of pitching but also, along with his team, Hin Kei Wong, Jessica Tanumihardja and Lloyd Pasion won the $10,000 Grand Prize for the entire competition.  The name of their company is GIST which is an acronym for Green Innovative Safety Techologies and intends to eliminate the vast number of waste automotive tires plugging up our landfills by creating an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete lane separation devices.  Congratulations Ricky and team!

Chris Sheppard of UrbanHarvest
It was great to see Andrei Afanasiev, who has participated in the past as a volunteer intern with ZINO Society, also do a great job with his pitch and company called Genius Lighting Systems which offers office owners a cellphone controlled, energy efficient and economical LED panel as a direct replacement for the fluorescent tube.  His student partner is Yury Dvorkin.

Pterofin, one of my favorites from last year that also pitched at ZINO Green Investment Forum 2011, was back with a bigger and better patent-pending design that will allow wind energy to be collected in residential and commercial areas where wind is scarce with their low-impact, oscillating windmill-like winged structure with team members Mariah Gentry, Kayla Krauthamer, Kim Huynh, John Milton, Snow Yang and Wallace Kempkey.

Another impressive company was UrbanHarvest with team members Chris Sheppard and Chris Bajuk which uses hydroponic methods inside greenhouses located on leased rooftops with close proximity to customers to reduce and/or eliminate carbon emissions associated with transporting produce to market.

Big congratulations are in order for UW Foster Business School Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation leaders, Pamela Tufts and Connie Bourassa-Shaw for a very successful 2012 Environmental Innovation Challenge!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gauguin Exhibit is Vibrant, Compelling and Thought-Provoking

Ken Hatch and Mike Kunath
With brilliant, horizontal bands of color, and mysterious Polynesian influences, I was enthralled  seeing Gauguin's art last night. Ken and I went to see the "Gauguin & Polynesia" exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum this evening as guests of Mike Kunath.  He had arranged for Seattle Art Museum volunteer docent, Elizabeth Bangasser Hall to curate a private tour for his guests and it was fascinating to hear some of her stories about Gauguin's history.

Kate Harrison and Matt Walters
My favorite story was the one she told us at the end of the tour about Gauguin's testy relationship with the local Catholic priest living in Atuona, the same small French Polynesia Marquesas Islands village as Gauguin.  The Church was unhappy with Gauguin because they viewed his art of half-naked Polynesian women as immodest, scandalous and inappropriate in a community that had already been "civilized" by missionaires.  The native women had been converted to wear the modest, high-necked and long-sleeved Mother Hubbard-style dresses of Europe.

Dennis & Jennifer Sponer and children
The priest was not a fan of Gauguin and Gauguin was not a fan of the priest or the Church.  Gauguin carved a naked Polynesian-style wood tiki (male) in the likeness of this local priest complete with devil's horns to put on one side of Gauguin's entrance gate (this actual tiki is part of the exhibit) and another wood hini (female) in the likeness of the priest's housekeeper and mistress, Teresa, to put on the other side of his entrance gate. They were visible to all passersby including the school children who walked by his gate each day.  He carved Teresa's name into the front of the hini so it was quite clear to all that he was commenting on the immoral and ill-kept secret relationship of the priest and his housekeeper.

SAM View of the Grand Lobby
The art displayed was vibrant, compelling, and thought-provoking.  What was Gauguin trying to communicate?  The exhibit is here through the end of April and I can't wait to go back and see it again!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Breakfast at Sally's

For the past few years, my husband, Ken and I have been the Co-Chairs of the Hopelink Part of the Solution donor group that supports the important work and mission to serve homeless and low income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities and to promote self-sufficiency for all members of the community to help people make lasting change.  They have been doing this work since 1971.

Marilyn Mason-Plunkett, Richard LeMieux, Cathi Hatch
Last night was the annual recognition and thank you event for the members of the Part of the Solution group held at the Bear Creek Country Club in Woodinville.  There were around 90 people attending.  Hopelink CEO Marilyn Mason-Plunkett shared many statistics with the audience including the number of people requesting services annually, the number of people served, and the amount of food distributed through the Hopelink food banks (I think she said 3 million tons!),

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing from guest speaker, Richard LeMieuxRichard shared his story of achieving the American dream by owning his own business, owning a house on the water, owning cars and boats and artwork and travelling extensively for pleasure until one day when his business became obsolete with the advance of technology

Richard LeMieux with Hopelink Board Chair, Pat Vache
He was forced to sell all of his possessions one by one in order to continue to meet payroll and and ultimately he lost his business, his home, his wife left him, and he was living in his car.  He shared his inspirational journey to reclaim his life after he was prevented at the last moment of taking his own life by his little dog, Willow.  He calls Willow, a little nine pound bichon frisee, his lifesaver.

Eventually while still homeless, Richard wrote a book which I am looking forward to reading.  It is titled Breakfast at Sally's and the title refers to when he finally went to the Salvation Army in Bremerton looking for food and shelter and began to make the turnaround.

The Book:  Breakfast at Sally's
Just as in Richard's story, one of the primary outcomes that Hopelink strives so hard to achieve is the success of helping people become self-sufficient.  A worthy goal indeed!  Congratulations and thank you to all the donors who are Part of the Solution that enable this good work to be accomplished!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Size of Angel Funding Rounds Up

From INC. Wire today, a new report breaks down angel funding in 2011 - and it looks like good news for startups. The size of median angel funding rounds grew 40% in 2011 to $700,000, according to a report from Silicon Valley Bank. The report covers a sample of 573 angel funding deals, totaling $873.3 million. The hottest sectors for the angel investments studied in 2011 were Internet and healthcare, which together accounted for 58% of investments.

Monday, March 12, 2012

UW Entre 370 Pitch Excellent

UW Entre 370 Team members Shannon Parson, Jordan Benson,
Auston Lende, Jean Blatchford and Charlie Hughes with Cathi Hatch
This morning, I went to the University of Washington to see the Entrepreneur 370 student team from UW Foster School of Business Assistant Professor Emily Cox' class that I have been mentoring this quarter give their entrepreneur pitch.  The team included Charlie Hughes, Shannon Parson, Auston Lende, Jean Blatchford and Jordan Benson.

The name of their company is UWheelz and is planned to be a non-profit which provides bicycle rentals by the hour to students and guests on the University of Washington campus at a reasonable price.  It was rewarding to watch how far the team came from our first meeting in January to their class pitch today.  Their Powerpoint slides were crisp and easy to read and understand with the use of lots of photos. Each team member did a great job of his or her part of the presentation, speaking with clarity and confidence.  Charlie also did a fine job of acting that he had arrived late to class since he didn't have transportation from the bus stop, which of course UWheelz, when up and operating, would have solved his problem.

I am so pleased that I could help mentor this team and I was so impressed with their final pitch.  Now, I better send this blog posting to Professor Cox and try to help them lobby for an "A"!  Actually, I probably don't need to lobby, since they did such a great job anyway!

I also stayed for one more pitch in order to also see Stephanie Halamek's team (whom I know since we worked together on the Social Venture Partners  SIFP 2011 project) pitch their project, which was entitled Breakfast in Bed.  Her team's pitch came with warm cinnamon rolls straight from the oven!  Yum!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Screeners and Coaches Prepare Entrepreneurs for ZINO Entertainment

ZINO Society Screeners and Coaches at work.
During the past week, ZINO Society Dealflow and Operations Manager, Kate DesRosier, has planned two separate Screening and Coaching meetings to review potential entrepreneurs who may be asked to participate in one of the upcoming ZINO Society investment forums or meetings.  Most of the entrepreneurs we reviewed last week are hoping to participate in the ZINO Entertainment Investment Forum which is coming up on the afternoon of March 20th at the Columbia Tower Club. 

The ZINO Entertainment Investment Forum will focus on companies in the mobile, gaming and film business sectors.  There are some great panelists who will be participating and sharing their expertise in the film industry including Tom Skerritt, Matt Hooper, Larry Estes, Bonnie Benjamin-Pharris, and James Keblas.  The mobile and gaming expert panel includes Ed Fries, Kristina Hudson, Bob Chamberlain, Kraig Marini Baker and James Portnow.

We had a great group of Screeners and Coaches participating last week including both experienced and brand-new members of the team.  We are so appreciative of the skills and experience that the Screening and Coaching members bring to the table.  It is through their input and efforts with the individual entrepreneurs that we are able to assist the newly selected ZINOpreneurs in making such concise and compelling pitches.

A big thank you to each ZINO Society Screener and Coach that participated last week including Chuck Roxin, Matt Hooper, Jim Johnston, Darlin Gray, Vin Ricci, Joel Ard, Dave Van Patten, Andrew Boyd, Jeanne Tweten, Bob Day, Peter Thermos, Carol Kotonias-Ray, Mary Baker Anderson, Robert O'Hara, Andrew Cross, John Strathy, Brad Wilke, Candace Carr and Jessica Hoershelmann.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let the Dancing Begin!

Dancing Star Dr. Richard Baxter with his partner
Michelle Badion and Cathi Hatch
Last night Ken and I attended the third annual Seattle Dances at Fremont Studios, a fundraising event to benefit Plymouth Housing Group.  This is an event that is close to our hearts since I danced in the inaugural Seattle Dances two years ago, was one of the three finalists for the Judges Choice Award and received the mirror ball trophy for the Peoples' Choice Award.

Ken Hatch with Alicia & Michael Hatch
This event was the best produced of the three we have attended.  Our only criticism is that the cocktail party is crammed in a space that is much too small since most of the room is taken up with silent auction items and it is nearly impossible to force your way through the crowd to get to the bar or even have a modicum of personal space in which to stand and talk with friends.  Once we were successful in getting to the bar, we enjoyed sipping the signature cocktail of the evening, The Glass Slipper, which was made with Ian MacNeil's new vodka from his recently licensed, Glass Distillery.

Patti Savoy and Sheila Otter
This year, there were eight dancing "stars", many of whom we know so we were pleased to be there to cheer on and support Dr. Richard Baxter, Nancy Pellegrino, John Rubino, Ian MacNeil and Barb Nystrom.  I was also so pleased to see that Olivier Wevers, Artistic Director of Whim W'Him Dance Company was there to serve as one of the Celebrity Judges, since he actually does know what is good dancing.  Hallie Kuperman and her professional dancers of Century Ballroom once again provided astounding choreography and succeeded in teaching the dancing stars how to look fantastic onstage.

Dancing Star John Rubino with Cathi Hatch
Guest Emcee, Patti Payne, did her normal magic of corralling all 475 of the attendees and making the program proceed smoothly and on schedule.  Auctioneer, Kevin Joyce, brought amazing energy to the stage and the live auction was blissfully over by around 8:30 pm when the raison d'etre for the event, the dancing, could begin.

We were so pleased that two of our favorites, Nancy Pellegrino and Richard Baxter won two of the mirror ball trophies; Nancy, the Peoples' Choice Award and Richard the Cyber Choice Award.  I know they will get much pleasure from looking at them as the prisms sparkle around the room and reminiscing about how much fun it was to participate in the dance competition.  Richard also placed in the top three for the Judges' Choice Award.

Line up of Dancing Stars and their Partners
In addition to the dancers, we also enjoyed seeing so many friends supporting the event including a few that we had the opportunity to talk with; Collette Courtion, Sherry & James Raisbeck, Sheila Otter, Patti Savoy, Paul Lambros, Alicia & Michael Hatch, Winnie Baxter, Margo Spellman, Mark Pellegrino, Michele & Dan Heidt, Toni & Rod Hoffman, Robbi Firestone & David Lamb, JJ McKay, Sharon RichardsonLucien Postelwaite, Carrie & Scott Lee, David Wu, Stacy & Dean Jones, and of course Team Photogenic's Duell Fisher and Connie Blumenthal
Patti Payne, Emcee Extraordinaire 

Michael Hatch, Cathi & Ken Hatch

At the end of the evening, I was so pleased that Ken, who wasn't even being a Curmudgeon, was willing to wait while I had the opportunity to take to the dance floor for a couple of dances and enjoy dancing to the music of friends Shelley & Bob Tomberg's, Shelley and the Curves.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Angels, ZINOpreneurs and ZINOphiles

John Baker of Thos. Baker and Cathi Hatch
On Tuesday evening,  ZINO Society reached to new heights by hosting our high-energy Roundtable Investment Meeting at the highest point in the city in the beautiful Columbia Tower Club.  There were around 100 people in attendance and it was a fascinating agenda which included keynote speaker David Allen of McKinstry talking about "In Search of Innovation" and presenting ZINOpreneur Select Members, Chris Leyerle of Phytelligence, Rick Balakier of Red Cap, Martin Stever of Pacific West Land Real Estate Opportunity Fund and R.J. Selfridge of Cedar River Foods, LLC.
David Allen of McKinstry

Jason Brown of Your Local Market
In addition, Jason Brown of Your Local Market provided a brief traction update and John Baker, Founder and CEO of Thos. Baker, accepted a $50,000 check as the winner of the investment fund allocation for ZINO Marketplace Investment Forum as selected by the fund investors.

Cathi Hatch and John Bell, Willis Hall
Our featured Wine and Brew Professional Members were Ali Harvey of Dumas Station Wines, John Bell of Willis Hall and Charlie Finkel of Pike Brewing Company with a selection of handcrafted local wines and beers.
Rick Balakier of Red Cap

Martin Stever of Pacific West Land
Real Estate Opportunity Fund
We welcomed many new members and guests.  Also attending the meeting were Advisory Board members Bob Cremin and Ken Hatch and several University of Washington entrepreneur students including volunteers from the Science and Engineering Business Association (SEBA), the Lavin Entrepreneurship program, and the Entrepreneurship 370 class team that I am currently mentoring.

Lavin Students Emily Thramer, Chelsea Zhai, Dmitry Muzechuk
with Cathi Hatch
We were proud to present such accomplished entrepreneurs and are also pleased to announce that with recent angel funding decisions made by ZINO Society members, that our total angel funding facilitated to date is now $20.3 million.