Andy Sack, who runs TechStars Seattle, has been all over the Seattle entrepreneurial scene in the past few years. I’ve known and worked with Andy since 1995 (I was on the board of his first company – Abuzz – which was acquired in 1999 by the New York Times) and am awed by the amazing things he’s doing in Seattle these days, including Founder’s Co-op, RevenueLoan, and of course TechStars Seattle.
On November 11th, Andy is hosting TechStars Seattle Demo Day. As is my custom, I’ll be in attendance. But, as a special bonus, he’s also hosting an Open Angel Forum at 7pm on the night before (November 10th) with Jason Calacanis. We did this in Boulder this summer the night before the TechStars Boulder Demo Day and it worked out great so I’m hoping this becomes a regular tradition.
Info on the two events and how to register are listed below:
November 10th – Open Angel Forum, 7pm: Join Jason Calacanis, Andy Sack and many other angel investors for the first meeting of the Seattle chapter of the Open Angel Forum! There will be food and drinks while hearing 5 minute pitches from 6 start up companies. We’re planning for plenty of fun and time for networking – even a poker game. Register online here: Angels, Entrepreneurs, Service Providers.
November 11th – TechStars Investor Day, 9am: Ten exciting new companies from the TechStars class of 2010 in Seattle will give short eight minute presentations highlighting the business and investment opportunity. The style is fun and entertaining, it’s a different kind of pitch event that includes amazing opportunities for networking as well. This event is invitation only and registration is required. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to attend or if you have any questions.
I attended the second Open Angel Forum in Boulder tonight. Simply put, it was dynamite.
This is an intense week for seed stage stuff in Boulder as TechStars Demo Day is tomorrow where 11 new companies are having their coming out party. The Boulder New Tech Meetup had a special double header (Tuesday and Wednesday) where six teams practiced their pitches to a room of 300+ people on Tuesday followed up by the other five on Wednesday. The streets are crawling with angel and early stage investors – local and from other parts of the country – and the vibe feels great as tomorrow is the big day.
I had high expectations for Open Angel Forum after the first one in Boulder in the spring. Jason Calacanis came up with a great format when he created Open Angel Forum and David Cohen has done an awesome job of hosting and coordinating the two Boulder events.
The format is ideal. 20 qualified angel investors – to qualify you must be active making angel investments (at least three in the past year). Six companies all raising seed rounds ($1m or less). Dinner and drinks paid for by sponsors. No fee to either the entrepreneurs or the angels. Casual setting (we did it in the TechStars Bunker) – some mingling before it got started, followed by five minute pitches + five minutes of Q&A for each company. The whole thing took an hour – just the right amount of time.
All six companies – Pavlov Games, Rapid.io, Adapt.ly, Awesomebox, PlaceIQ, and BrowseAndPay did excellent jobs. They were each high quality and totally fundable and I heard several commitments happen during the evening. I left about 45 minutes after the pitches ended – the event was still in high gear and with Jason leading a table full of angels and entrepreneurs in a game of Texas Hold’em while the beer drinking and discussions continued.
The thing that is so cool to me about this is that it’s a super high signal to noise ratio – all the companies had clear, tight, and relevant pitches and the entire audience was accessible angel investors. No BS, no posturing, no fees for anything – just entrepreneurs and angels doing their thing.
Over two days, 17 early stage software / Internet companies are having high quality exposure to angel and seed investors in Boulder. And on Saturday, we have TEDx Boulder. It’s good to be back in town.
The second Boulder Open Angel Forum event is happening on August 4th at 7pm. In case you aren’t familiar with the Open Angel Forum, the organization is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with access to the angel investor community based solely on merit and without any fees.
The first Open Angel Forum in Boulder was dynamite. David Cohen, the founder/CEO of TechStars drove the event and is also hosting this one. He has scheduled it the night before the TechStars Boulder 2010 Demo Day with the hope of having some out of town angels that are here for Demo Day attend.
When I wrote my post titled An Angel Investor Group Move That Makes Me Vomit I expected to write my little rant and be done with it. A month or so later Jason Calacanis picked up the mantle and started a Jihad against the idea of angel groups charging entrepreneurs to pitch to them.
The result is the Open Angel Forum. I participated in the second event last week in Boulder. I thought it was spectacular and the twitter stream from #OAFCO reflected this sentiment. About 20 active (at least four investments in the past year) early stage investors (angels and seed stage VCs) attended. Six entrepreneurs presented their companies in short seven minute pitches. Five sponsors underwrote the food and drink at the event. There was plenty of networking before and after. That was it – small, intimate, and highly relevant to all.
Most of the presenters wrote blog posts about the event which will give you a great feel for what they experienced.