Willamette Angel Conference Invests More than $450K

Yesterday’s Willamette Angel Conference (WAC) 2013 event invested more than $465,000 in four Oregon startups, highlighted by more than $250,000 in Portland-based Sonivate, which has developed a fingertip-mounted ultrasound probe that enables imaging while leaving both hands free to do work with simultaneous tactile feedback.

Willamette Angel Conference

Three other startups got WAC investment at the event: Amorphyx, a Corvallis company with innovative technology that reduces manufacturing costs and increasing the brightness, speed and efficiency of LCD and flexible displays; DesignMedix, a Portland company addressing the rapid rise in drug resistance in multiple diseases; and Green Zebra Grocery, an innovative chain of small healthy-food grocery and convenience stores, based in Portland.

The event concludes three months of study (called “due diligence”) by the group of more than 30 angel investors, about half and half from the Oregon university towns Corvallis and Eugene. This year’s event was held on campus at Oregon State University. The event alternates between Corvallis and Eugene. I’ve been a member since it started in 2009.

Earlier in the day, keynote speaker Diane Fraiman of Voyager Capital noted that Oregon companies have received more than $600 million in venture capital funding, and challenged us, the WAC members, to continue investing in our area. That might have influenced us — our deliberations are strictly confidential, so I’m not saying — that afternoon as we added more than $200,000 to the investment amount originally planned that morning. That also doubled our previous year’s investment, and — we think — made this WAC event the largest investment of any of the Oregon angel investment groups.

Hallspot, a Eugene company that started on campus at the University of Oregon, was awarded a $2,500 Palo Alto Software prize for the best concept-stage company.


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