Contributed by Matt Hollander, Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce
On Thursday, May 9th at the 5th Annual Willamette Angel Conference (WAC), over $460,000 was invested in four venture companies. The total investment amount established a new record for the Conference and more than doubled the previous high of $200,000 set at last year’s WAC.
Sonivate Medical, a Portland company, was named the winner of the 2013 WAC Launch Stage competition and took home an investment of $255,000. The company has developed a disruptive, proprietary, FDA-cleared medical imaging technology that addresses critical needs in the $5B ultrasound market.
In addition to the main WAC investment, the WAC investors also agreed to invest another $210,000 in three other WAC finalists: Amorphyx, Design Medix, and Green Zebra Grocery. Amorphyx, which is based in Corvallis, leverages innovation in amorphous metals to redefine flat panel display backplane cost and performance while enabling mass production of flexible displays. Design Medix, Inc., led by Lynn Stevenson of Springfield, develops drugs to overcome drug resistance in multiple diseases, and has a malaria drug nearly ready for human trials. Green Zebra Grocery, a company from Portland, is a mash of 7-11 and Whole Foods – creating healthy convenience stores for eaters on the go. Green Zebra Grocery was also selected by the audience for the People’s Choice Award.
In the Concept Stage competition, Hallspot was voted first place by the audience and won a separate prize valued at $6,300 in cash and services. Hallspot, headquartered in Eugene, is a revolutionary website and app that connects college students.
Between the Launch and Concept stage prizes, and additional investment in other finalists, a minimum of $467,500 in capital flowed to Oregon based businesses.
Over 200 people attended at the 5th annual event, held at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis. Next year, the Conference will return to Eugene as part of the annual rotation between the two communities.