Category Archives: angel funding

What a (ZINO) Life!

Panelists Dr. Marnix Bosch, Brad Harlow, Karen Hedine, May McCarthy
Panelists Dr. Marnix Bosch, Brad Harlow, Karen Hedine, May McCarthy

What a great event ZINO Society hosted yesterday at Bellevue City Hall!  It was the 6th annual  ZINO Life & Wellness Investment Forum.  Emma Landis, ZINO Dealflow Manager, did a superlative job of sourcing 15 great companies that are in just the right place for angel investing and the Coach/Mentor members successfully helped them each be the best they could be.  Every single ZINOpreneur Select presenting member was spot on with his or her presentation.  And Claire Dillow, Events & Marketing Manager and our crackerjack intern, Jillian Tyack, handled the myriad details that are required to produce such an event from registration to name tags, to programs, to ballots to food to featured libations to . . . and we even ended on time as promised.

Panelists & Judges Karen Hedine, Stewart Parker, Roger Sahm
Panelists & Judges Karen Hedine, Stewart Parker, Roger Sahm

The list of Panelists and Judges was impressive.  Karl Klassen of Perkins Coie facilitated the panel and put into perspective some of the challenges currently facing life sciences companies.  My husband, Ken, said that he loved the panel and it was the best panel we have ever had.  (However, to put this in context, he tells me this after every big investment forum, so I like to believe that every panel just gets slightly better than the last since every time they are the “best ever”!).  The list of Panelists and Judges included Monty Montoya of SightLifeMarnix Bosch of NW Biotherpeutics, Brad Harlow of Cardiac Insight, Karen Hedine of Micronics, May McCarthy of Bizzultz,  Stewart Parker of IDRI, Angel Investor Ky Calder, Caitlin Cameron of OtoMetrix Medical Technologies, Tom Clement of Aqueduct Neurosciences, Brian Glaister of Cadence Biomedical, Michael Heijer of GranCorp, Karl Klassen of Perkins Coie, Hans Lundin of Point B Capital, Rhonda Rhyne of Prevencio, Chuck Roxin of ZBDS and Life Sciences business consultant, Roger Sahm.

Judges Caitlin Cameron, Tom Clement, Brian Glaister
Judges Caitlin Cameron, Tom Clement, Brian Glaister

One of my favorite parts of the program which brought tears to his eyes along with others in the audience was when Monty Montoya, CEO of SightLife, talked about how emotionally challenging it was for him when he visited China for the first time and was holding an 18 month old boy in his arms who needed corneal transplants and realized that he would not be one of the recipients of the 8 corneas they had available for transplant for the over 150 people who were waiting in line in the hopes of receiving the gift of sight.  That was really one of the turning points for him in putting SightLife on an entrepreneurial path to increase the availability of corneas available for transplant.

Judges Ky Calder, Hans Lundin, Caitlin Cameron, Tom Clement, Brian Glaister, Michael Heijer, Rhonda Rhynes
Judges Ky Calder, Hans Lundin, Caitlin Cameron, Tom Clement, Brian Glaister, Michael Heijer, Rhonda Rhynes

In addition to the impressive pitches by every one of the ZINOpreneurs, I loved it when I asked several of our Judges to stand up with white boards at the end of the program and simultaneously reveal which company that had presented that they would choose to invest in if they could invest in ONLY one company.  Two of the Judges selected KitoTech Medical but the rest all chose different companies including MELT, Precision Image Analysis, DesignMedix, Impel Neuropharma and Liquidity Nanotech.

The winner of the ZINO Zenith Award was emLandmarks with runners-up 3D Product Imaging and Nutristyle and the winner of the Judges’ Award was Impel Neuropharma with runners-up MELT and Precision Image Analysis.  Selected as potential fund finalists for an allocation from the 2014 ZINO Annual Angel Investment Fund were KitoTech Medical, Impel Neuropharma, DesignMedix and StratoScientific.  You can really tell the quality of the companies that presented by the broad recognition that so many companies received as award winners and honorable mention.

Judges Brian Glaister, Michael Heijer, Rhonda Rhyne
Judges Brian Glaister, Michael Heijer, Rhonda Rhyne

What a (ZINO) Life!

Mostly Women and a Few Good Men

Though ZINO Society has included many women entrepreneurs over the past almost 9 years that we have been featuring pitches by entrepreneurs seeking funding, I am excited about the brand-new  investment forum we are hosting on May 20th, ZINO Woman Intentional Investment Forum,  which is strictly devoted to featuring only women entrepreneurs pitching.  Though the audience will include men and women, this forum is our attempt to help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs seeking angel funding.

Just take a look at these statistics from the recent May 7, 2014 Newsweek article entitled “Women Entrepreneurs Fight for their Piece of the Pie”:

  • Startups with at least one woman on their founding team are roughly 18 percent less likely to attract equity investors than their all-male counterparts, according to 2013 data from an ongoing survey by Emory University. Yet they are almost 20 percent more likely to have generated revenue—and that’s no small distinction in a world where the vast majority of venture-backed startups fail.
  • Data collected by PitchBook found only 13 percent of all venture capital deals in the United States went to women in 2013, a significant increase from the firm’s 2004 data that put the figure at 4 percent. But that still means 87 percent of deals are being given to all-male teams.

The day will include a Women’s Business Showcase and Before-the-Pitches Networking Reception with exhibits, elevator pitches and featured libation professionals pouring their liquid assets where people can rub shoulders with business leaders, angel investors, entrepreneurs and expert panelists and judges, and hear business pitches from women entrepreneurs who are currently looking for resources.  Included on the expert panel are Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolates, Renee Behnke of Sur La Table, Christina Lomasney of Modumental, Colette Courtion of JeNu, Caitlin Cameron of Otometrix and Bill McAleer of Voyager Capital.  To attend, please go to the ZINO Society website: .

I can’t wait!  I think it is going to be fascinating!

The Buzz from the ZINO Life Sciences Forum

Sarah Nowakowski

(The following blog post was reposted from an Xconomy Seattle blog post yesterday morning written by Sarah Nowakowski, who is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington and works for ZINO Society part-time as an intern.)

There was a great buzz yesterday at ZINO Life: Life Sciences Investment Forum where 14 biotech and life sciences companies pitched to a room full of eager investors. Many exciting technologies were on display, including Empowering Engineering Technologies‘ ExoWalk—the 2010 ZINO Life fund recipient—as well as Cerevast Therapeutics’ ClotBust-ER. All presenters delivered energetic and compelling presentations that demonstrated the persistent enthusiasm and innovation that continues to propel the vibrant life sciences sector of Seattle.

Chris Rivera of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association reminded the attendees that the No. 1 challenge facing entrepreneurs today is access to capital. The event was a great example of how angel investment groups, such as ZINO Society, are diligently working to bring entrepreneurs and investors together. Following dealflow presentations this afternoon, Cathi Hatch, the CEO of the ZINO Society, announced four finalists were selected by investors:

1. David Hatton of Aseptica—Aseptica’s technology prevents catheter related infections.

2. Michael Hite of Impel NeuroPharma—Impel is developing a novel drug delivery device to enable central nervous system drugs to bypass the blood-brain barrier,

3. Steve Baird of S-Ray Incorporated—S-Ray owns a unique way of using ultrasound to detect cracks and cavities in teeth, without radiation.

4. Paul Hagen of VacuPractor—VacuPractor is a revolutionary device for lower back pain.

Following due diligence, one of these companies will be awarded a $25,000 investment from the combined ZINO 2011 Annual Angel Fund.

Paul Hagen (VacuPractor) was selected by the audience for Best Presentation and he and Steve Baird (S-Ray) tied for Best Investment Opportunity.

Optimism filled the conference room at the Pan Pacific Hotel as Rivera reflected on the trends in the Seattle life sciences industry, one of the top five job sectors that have demonstrated continued growth, even in the face of the recent economic climate. Alan Smith of Fenwick & West delved further into the current financial climate for biotech in Seattle by probing the panel of prominent faces in Seattle’s life sciences sector. The group included Rivera; John Bowers, senior vice president of SonoSite; Tom Clement, the chairman & founder of Pathway Medical Technologies; and David Schubert, president and chief business officer, Accelerator Corporation.

The dynamic discussion reflected on the difficulty to get funded and the need to ‘de-risk’ investment opportunities by demonstrating more than proof of concept to investors, in addition to the importance of maintaining realistic expectations for the timeline for return on investment following investment in life sciences companies. This pragmatic advice was, however, secondary to the panels’ confidence in the community. They reiterated that Seattle is a hotbed for innovation, cool technologies, and fantastic ideas. In reference to comparing Seattle’s innovative life sciences sector to the nation and worldwide communities, Schubert emphatically stated that, “Seattle is at the top of ANY pyramid you want to put it on.”

Sarah Nowakowski is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.

And the ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum Winners are . . .

After a full day of watching and interacting with presenting entrepreneurs and demo table entrepreneurs at ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum on Wednesday, we adjourned downstairs to the Bell Harbor Conference Center International Promenade for the “Spiels and Suds” segment of the ZZIF agenda featuring entrepreneur demo tables and beer from Pike Brewing Company and K & L Distributors followed by the Awards and Wine Reception featuring eight wineries.  Featured wineries included Woodward Canyon Winery, DeLille Cellars, Lachini Vineyards, Sparkman Cellars, San Juan Vineyards, 428 Wines, Cave B Winery and Pepper Bridge Winery.

Coaches Dave Watt, Skip Walter, Vin Ricci

At the Awards and Wine Reception, the first awards presented were to the ZZIF Coaches who worked with the entrepreneurs to ensure that their presentations would be concise and compelling.  Executive Vice President, Kristie Lanum, and I presented Coaches’ Awards for “Winningest Coach” to Vin Ricci, “Special Teams Coach” to Dave Watts and Jackson Weaver (tie) and “Rookie of the Year Coach” to Skip Walter.

Craig Rominger, NanoICE for Best Investment
David Makuen for Best Presenter

The next awards presented were the ZINO Zenith Awards which were voted on by all the ZZIF attendees for Best Presentation to David Makuen of BuiltBurger and Best Investment Opportunity to Craig Rominger of NanoICE, Inc. 

ZZIF Fund Finalists Kevin Veon, Adam Stein, Keith McCall,
Ken Childress, Max Lyon, Craign Rominger

And the final ZZIF awards presented were the ZINO Zillionaire Fund Finalists Awards selected by the fund investors to Kevin Veon of Banshee Bungee, Max Lyon of FiatLux Imaging, Adam Stein of IMOS, Keith McCall of Enroute Systems, Ken Childress of Harbor Wing Technologies, and Craig Rominger of NanoIce, Inc.  The fund investors will now complete due diligence within the next month on the finalist companies with the goal of awarding the $100,000 fund split between the two best investment opportunities they select.

Strategies for Courting Angel Investors

On Tuesday this week, ZINO Society presented our second Get Funded! Winning Strategies for Courting Angel Investors event for entrepreneurs who are interested in seeking angel funding for start-up or expansion capital.  A fascinating group of entrepreneurs attended representing their companies from various business sectors.  The companies ranged from Software as a Service, marketing, a three wheel motorcycle company, consumer products and services, a winery, a medical device company as well as a number of others.  See photos of the group above.
We were hosted by ZINO Society long-term sponsor and friend, Davis Wright Tremaine, in its spectacular 22nd floor office.  Attending on behalf of DWT were Haeryung Shin and Kate WhiteHaeryung’s input and advice during the workshop from an attorney’s perspective, was very helpful.  ZINOPartner and Founder of Business Plans Northwest, Bryan Brewer, led the interactive training session which included advice on how to present more effectively in front of angel investors as well as what information is most important to include in a presentation seeking funding.  He listed the seven deadly sins to avoid when making a pitch to angel investors as obfuscation, verbosity, inaccuracy, laziness, arrogance, impatience, and delusion.  More detail about each of these deadly sins is on Bryan’s website.
What is your pet peeve when it comes to listening to an entrepreneur present his or her funding pitch?

Our Inaugural “Get Funded!” Workshop

Yesterday afternoon, ZINO Society hosted our inaugural “Get Funded!:  Winning Strategies for Courting Angel Investors” workshop in the stunning offices of our event and annual sponsor, Davis Wright Tremaine.  The four hour workshop followed by a wine and hors d’oeuvres networking reception was conducted by ZINO Society Coaching Member and principal of Business Plans Northwest,… Continue Reading

ZINO Life Seattle a Success!

Yesterday at the beautiful Pan Pacific Hotel, ZINO Society was the proud presenter of ZINO Life:  Life Sciences Investment Forum along with our partner, WBBA.  We were very pleased to have around 120 members and guests in attendance to hear 15 entrepreneurs present their companies’ needs divided into three dealflow flights:  Seed Stage, Launch Stage… Continue Reading

4 Entrepreneurs Featured at Recent Roundtable Meeting

This past week on Tuesday and Wednesday, ZINO Society hosted our Roundtable investment meetings at the Seattle and Bellevue Harbor Clubs respectively.  The featured dealflow presentations included iParse, Answers for Elders, Bluzinger and Smart Works.  See photo of the entrepreneurs each getting ready to answer the “burning question” that came as a result of member… Continue Reading

Gaming, Mortgage Banking, Online Investing & Shopping . . . Oh My!

The ZINO Society Roundtable Investment Meetings this past week showcased four excellent investment opportunities on Tuesday evening at the conference center at Davis Wright Tremaine and Wednesday at lunch at the Bellevue Harbor Club.  The brief keynote remarks were provided by Dan Greenshields of ShareBuilder.   Dan serves as President of ShareBuilder Securities Corporation and President… Continue Reading