For Immediate Release
May 11, 2017
One million dollars of funding announced at the 2017 Willamette Angels Conference
Five Oregon startups receive awards of $50,000-$250,000
Corvallis, Ore. — A million dollars of funding was announced Thursday at the 9th annual Willamette Angels Conference (WAC).
The Angel investors chose two winners for its business plan competition: Hemex Health and Diatomix equally shared this year’s $230,000 WAC investment — or $115,000 each. In addition, Elevate Capital announced two $50,000 investments from its Inclusive Fund for Hemex Health and Heritage Laboratories, another 2017 WAC finalist. And Business Oregon announced $250,000 loans from its Small Business Expansion Program for Moonshadow Mobile, who won the 2015 WAC, and DulsEnergy, a 2017 WAC applicant.
“This was yet another remarkable year for the WAC,” said Fund Manager Marc Manley. “We’ve reached a point with our applicants and investors that we now have outstanding deal flow from the innovation economy in our region supported by RAIN, the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network. It was delightful to see more than $1 million allocated to local startups with $830,000 of awards announced at our conference plus several hundred thousand of additional capital ready to invest through the Willamette Angels’ new W2 Fund.”
Hemex Health, which also won the People’s Choice Award by audience vote, was founded in Portland by Patti White. The company brings breakthrough point-of-care diagnostics for malaria and sickle cell disease that are accurate, easy to use and affordable, giving laboratory-quality results anywhere.
Diatomix, founded in Beaverton by Adrian Polliack, has developed a bioengineered photocatalytic technology that — when applied as an additive to wall paint — actively and continuously improves indoor air quality.
Hemex Health and Diatomix were selected as this year’s winners at the conclusion of an exhaustive due-diligence process, which included weekly meetings since early March to review each of this year’s 46 applicant companies. The other finalists were Heritage Laboratories, a luxury skincare supplement brand targeting Asian American women, and OpConnect, operators of a platform-as-a-service that manages electric car chargers.
In the Speed Pitch competition, featuring companies in launch phase, Stoney River Sinkers of Yachats won the audience vote for their lead-free, non-toxic stone fishing weights. Founder Jesse Dolin was chosen from the inaugural RAIN Coastal Pre-Accelerator, currently running in Florence and Lincoln County. The other Speed Pitch competitors were chosen from regional startup programs and pitch competitions.
The Conference also recognized a few individuals with WAC Awards for outstanding contributions to the South Willamette Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: Sanja Tripathi was named Mentor of the Year, Jen Akeroyd, CEO/Co-Founder of Julvia Technologies, was named Entrepreneur of the Year, and Agility Robotics Co-Founders Jonathan Hurst and Damion Shelton received the Rocket Fuel Award for impressive execution, dedication and strong growth over the past year.
This year’s featured speaker was Eric Breon, founder and CEO of Vacasa, the second largest U.S. technology-enabled vacation rental company, is this year’s featured speaker. He discussed the origins of Vacasa, its recent, rapid growth, as well as his personal advice for entrepreneurs.
The 2018 WAC will be held on May 17 in Eugene.
Founded in 2009, The Willamette Angels Conference is an investment group that connects early stage and seed startups with angel and venture investors. Startup and entrepreneurial applicants receive funding, mentoring, and connections to other advisory resources. WAC is designed to advance the innovation economy in Oregon and the Willamette Valley. Throughout its nine existence WAC has invested over $3 million in startup businesses. WAC is produced in partnership by: The Corvallis Chamber of Commerce and Oregon RAIN (Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network), and supported by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Corvallis-Benton Economic Development Office.