Category Archives: ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum

Your Local Market Opening

Mary Holmes and Cathi Hatch

This week Mary Holmes and I joined Jason Brown at the opening of his new Bellevue grocery store, Your Local Market.  Jason showcased his company at our recent ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum in September, so we were eager to see the finished product that he had described.  He has taken over the old Safeway store location on the corner of Bellevue Way and 4th Street.  It is an interesting concept which includes organic food and mainstream brands as well.

Cathi Hatch congratulating Jason Brown

As we arrived, we were warmly welcomed and handed a beautiful long-stemmed rose and a branded burlap shopping bag that included lots of interesting food products available at the store.  The produce displays were beautiful and Mary and I had fun looking at all the wine selections offered too.  There were tasting stations throughout the store that included fresh salsas, white bean hummus-style dips, sliced high-quality deli meats, sushi, cheeses, dessert bites and high-end bottled fruit juices and teas.

Throughout the store, there are thought-provoking sayings painted on the walls.  My favorite is one by Benjamin Franklin, “Beer if proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” 

A big congratulations to Jason and his entire team!  CONGRATULATIONS!!

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A Delightful Master of Wine Tuesday at Ray’s Boathouse

ZINO Society members Sandra Fowler, Brad Vancour
and Randa Mirkovich

Last evening ZINO Society members and guests joined Ken and me along with Wine Gurus, Greg Lill of DeLille Cellars and Stacy Lill of O Wines at Ray’s Boathouse for a beautiful Master of Wine food and wine tasting event.  Ray’s Senior Catering Manager, Amy Stevens worked with Catering Chef David Saunders, to develop an evening that featured Northwest food and wine including fresh chanterelle mushrooms foraged by Chef Markus Donier.

Cathi Hatch, Chef David Saunders, Amy Stevens

It was an intimate evening with room for 20 guests seated at a long table sparkling with dozens of wine glasses centered in front of the blazing fireplace.  One of the members attending was Sandra Fowler, who had definitely travelled the furthest to attend since she flew over from Tri Cities just for the evening.  We also welcomed new Elite Roundtable member, Randa Minkarah, who was attending her first ZINO Society event and Brad Vancour, long-time ZINO Society member who has probably attended the most Master of Wine events over the years.  We also welcomed back returning member, Bruce Sanchez, who has recently relocated back in Seattle from California.  We had a very interesting discussion about his new book which has something to do with the bell curve of a marriage.

Greg Lill
Stacy Lill
Mary Holmes, Lisa Mikesell, Cindy Hales
It was also fun to see and catch up with members Michael ZacharyElisabeth Bodal, who admitted to the group that she is an emigrant (gasp!), Denny Dochnahl, who was there with one of his and Bernie’s “daughter-type persons”, Dehanna Jones, and ZINO Society sponsor members, Darlin Gray, David Riley, Lisa Mikesell and Cindy Hales.  We also welcomed members Eden & Hank Waggoner and recent ZZIF sponsor, Irene Retel.

Greg and Stacy shared some of their background and history about getting into the wine business and Stacy once again gave Ken credit for introducing them to one another.  Ken really is a successful male version of a “yenta“!

The menu food and wine pairings were delightful:

Reception
O Wines Chardonnay 2009
Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
ginger meringue, lemongrass cream
Pleasant Valley Gouda Wafer
Dinner Menu
DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc 2010
Chatham Strait Sabelfish in Sake Kasu
jasmine rice, honey, soy an scallion oil
O Wines Red Blend 2007
Warmed Escarole Salad
chevre, dried cherries, crispy bacon, pecans, shallot vinaigrette
Doyenne AIX 2008
Braised Port & Green Lentil Stew
DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Red 2008
Open-Faced Sirloin and Mushroom Slider
carmelized shallots, espresso demi-glace
Doyenne Syrah 2008
Double Chocolate Emmer Bites
Roquefort Blue Cheese   
A big THANK YOU is in order for Amy, David and Markus of Ray’s Boathouse and their team and Stacy and Greg of DeLille Cellars and O Wines.  Cheers!
Bruce Sanchez, Mary Holmes, David Riley

This ZINO team is Kick A__!

ZINO Team Christine Gilbert, Mary Holmes, Cathi Hatch,
Kristie Lanum, Jamee Nunnelee

This coming Tuesday is our biggest ZINO Society event of the year, ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum.  The ZINO Society team has been working VERY hard to get all the details ready so that everyone attending has a wonderful time!

Kristie Lanum, our Chief Dealflow Officer, has managed the overall task list for ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum for our entire team and has worked specifically with all of our presenting entrepreneurs, most of which are now new ZINOpreneur Members for the upcoming year.  Kristie has overseen the screening and coaching processes and worked with our incredible list of coaches to ensure that each entrepreneur presenting on Tuesday will be the best that they can be in sharing a concise and compelling pitch.  This is akin to herding cats since there are so many people involved, but Kristie has done it with her usual aplomb and grace.

Mary Holmes, our Chief Marketing Officer, has recruited and communicated with over eighteen (18) panelists who will participate in three separate expert panels providing input and advice to entrepreneurs and investors.  Each panel should be fascinating including a Hospitality, Food, & Travel Panel, a VC & Angel Panel to provide input to our Back-of-the-Napkin presenting companies and a Due Diligence LIVE! Panel to ask questions of the six (6) fund finalists who will be selected by the ZINO Angel fund investors.  Mary has also worked to attract sponsors, develop new branding elements for ZZIF, overseen the press relationships and worked directly with our Co-Presentor, Puget Sound Business Journal, to produce a two-page ad coming out in today’s issue.

Jamee Nunnelee, our VP of Membership, has communicated with ZINO Society members to get them the information they need to attend ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum and invited many of our friends and membership prospects to join us as well.  She is offering a rebate on ZINO Society membership for those new members that join by the end of September.  Jamee has also worked to attract specific ZZIF sponsors and arranged for some of our Wine Professional Members to pour their wines at the Networking Reception at the end of the day.

Christine Gilbert, our Events Director, has worked tirelessly to design and produce our blast emails to notify everyone of the details of ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum, design and produce the agenda and event program, taken reservations, answered endless questions, produced name tags, and panelist tent cards, arranged for prizes for fund finalists and ZINO Zenith Award winners, worked with MOHAI to arrange all the event details and the caterer to provide sustenance so we can all make it through the entire day with appropriate food, beverages and snacks to keep up our energy.

Please come see what we do!  I think you will be impressed with the quality of the entrepreneur pitches, the panelists, the food and wine, and all the details that make this a first-class event!  And then please do tell me what you think.

From Ping Pong to Passwords

Cathi Hatch and Mary Holmes strike a pose

Last night Mary Holmes and I attended the TechFlash Annual Ping Pong Tournament and Summer BBQ event hosted by Puget Sound Business Journal at SoDo ShowboxMary and I enjoyed connecting with new and old friends at the event.  We also had fun trying out event sponsor, Microsoft Bing’s photography booth.  See the photo we took there complete with feather boa props. 

Funny aside . . . We had just met Gordon Prouty, new, dynamic PSBJ publisher earlier in the day when we went to his office for a business meeting with Colleen Allison to discuss our upcoming September 13th ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum plans.  Shortly after I drove away following the meeting, my cell phone rang and I answered (hands free of course!) and Gordy was on the other end of the line saying he had retrieved my pearl earring that had fallen off my ear while in his office and that he would bring it with him to the TechFlash event which he knew we were attending.  I felt a little bit like Cinderella who had left her shoe at the ball!  When I arrived at the event, everyone that greeted us was worried about connecting me with Gordy so I could get my earring back, which of course happened the moment that we finally saw one another.  Thank you Gordy!

Now back to the TechFlash event.  There were serious ping pong contenders including friends Patti Payne and Angie Lepley though mostly there were just men playing.  Angie made it through four rounds before elimination.  I’m not sure how many rounds Patti lasted but I could see that she was a contender, when she had a very determined set of her chin and a flash in her eyes when she picked up a paddle and challenged me to a game. We also ran into past publisher of PSBJ, Emory Thomas and his wife, Laura, and ZINO Society member, Gary Ritner of Puget Sound Venture Club.   I had to leave before the final rounds were played, but could see the level of competition was definitely heating up. 

Terrence Owen, Bartender Extraordinaire

My next stop was Tavern Law on Capital Hill.  I ran into Ken right outside the door and we walked in together to what appeared to be a pretty normal busy bar.  But what was especially fun, is that we then entered the “secret” area of the bar through a large black vault door and climbed up a dark and winding set of stairs once we whispered the correct password in the phone receiver next to the door.

We met Mike Kunath, who had arranged the evening’s agenda and was sitting at the bar with Debbie Peppa. Once we sat down to join them, Terrence Jackson, our “Bartender Extraordinaire”, asked what kind of drinks we usually liked and then he took complete license to make what he wanted to make but what he thought we would like.  I told him that I like Mai Tais so my drink came served in a hollowed out fresh coconut and contained Jamaiican rum, brandy, almond syrup, spicy habenera essence and I am not sure what else.  He had made a happy face with droplets of Angostura Bitters and orange peel ears. Once I had sipped the drink a couple of times, Terrence returned with a lime wheel that he had drenched in 151 proof Cruzan rum to float in my drink which he then set alight.  Spectacular!  The drink was actually delicious and the secret bar would be a fun place to bring a group of girlfriends too.

From there we jetted to Madison Park to try the new restaurant, Madison Park Conservatory, which is in the same location of the old Sostanza Restaurant.  When we arrived, we said hello to friends Susan & Phil Lindsay who were outside on the terrace enjoying the warm evening and ran into other friends inside including Dave Whitlock and Sean Leukel.  The Chef/Owner is Cormac Mahoney, who came out and introduced himself to us. 

The menu, which changes every day was chock-a-block full of unusual menu items including grilled beef tongue, squid stuffed with Oregon lamb, sweetbread summer succotash, octopus bolognese, and braised pork cheeks.  None of us were brave enough to order any of those items, but settled instead for Alaskan long line halibut, Oregon natural strip loin and pan-fried Idaho trout after nibbling on Dungeness Crab deviled eggs and Dabob Bay oysters with mignonette sauce. We were all impressed with the strong flavor profiles of the food.

Something that each member of our party commented on was the notice at the bottom of the menu informing diners that the bread is complimentary but there is a $3 charge for extra virgin olive oil or butter.  Olive oil was automatically brought to our table and I forgot to look at the guest check at the end of the evening to see if we were really charged for it or not.  I have seen this practice of charging for bread and butter in Europe, but this is the first time I have run into it here in Bellevue or Seattle.

The wine list was also very unusual.  In looking at their red wine on the list, I estimate there were around 30 different choices, most of which were French or Italian wines that I had not heard of before and only one of which was actually a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon which we promptly ordered.  I did ask their sommelier about that and she responded that she doesn’t like Washington wines because they are too fruit forward with too high of an alcohol content to pair with the food.  Of course, not ALL Washington wines are like this.  Though I have to admit that I do like to drink some of those very fruit forward wines, there are many wines in our state that have been made more in the Old World tradition with balanced fruit and tannins that are also delightful to drink.

We arrived home at around 11:00 pm just in time for me to hunker down at my computer in order to follow up and set appointments with several of our job finalists who are interested in filling our open Operations and Dealflow Manager position at ZINO Society.  And then finally, when I couldn’t keep my eyes propped open a moment longer, I finally ended the evening at around 1:30 am and went to bed to dream about ping pong balls and passwords.

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.

My Favorite Things from ZZIF

Today I just received the YouTube of Jon Doll’s performance of his original song and lyrics, “On The Shoulders of Angel Investors” that we kicked off the ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum last week.  I may be biased, but I think it is fantastic and the lyrics are so appropriate for investors and entrepreneurs.  You can view it… Continue Reading

Selections, Presentations, Projections, Entrepreneurs, Angel Investors

What a busy day!  I began the day at the judges’ selection meeting for Puget Sound Business Journal’s upcoming “Women of Influence” recognition awards.  Along with fellow judges Jeff Raikes, Phyllis Campbell, Constance Rice, and from Puget Sound Business Journal, Emory Thomas, Patti Payne and Becky Monk,, we selected 15 incredible women out of over 130… Continue Reading

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 &… Continue Reading

ZZIF – The Panelists Rocked!

Angel investors at ZZIF On Wednesday, ZINO Society produced our biggest event of the year, ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum.  I was so proud of the ZINO Society Z-Team, each of the entrepreneurs who presented, and each panelist who spoke.  ZZIF Zillionaire sponsor, Bell Harbor Conference Center did a great job of hosting our event and the… Continue Reading

Back-of-the-Napkin Presentations at ZZIF

This year at ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum (ZZIF), we are trying something new.  In addition to our traditional 5-minute presentations by entrepreneurs vying for the ZZIF $100,000 Angel Investment Fund, there will be an additional group of 2-minute “Back-of-the-Napkin” presentations by entrepreneurs who are also seeking funding but not eligible for the ZZIF Investment Fund. … Continue Reading