It’s been an amazing month for Andy Sack, the Executive Director of TechStars Seattle & the Managing Partner of the Founder’s Co-op, who has been overseeing the corporate gene pool that is spiraling like a helix in his northwest venture lab. Andy’s companies, arguably the nucleus of Seattle’s future tech successes, went under the microscope of investor scrutiny.
On November 10th, Andy welcomed fellow venture capitalize and entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis, and several other angel investors, to the first meeting of the Seattle chapter of the Open Angel Forum (founded by Calacanis as an alternative to the Keiratsu-style, pay-for-play venture clubs and pitching clinics that derive an income from the matchmaking game). The gamble has paid off, including here in Seattle, where a hot streak of six start up companies continued right up to the after hours poker game that kept the South Lake Union lamps burning well into the night. Clearly, Sack was holding the aces in his hand.
One day later, ten companies from the freshman TechStars class of 2010 delivered eight minute presentations at Techstar’s Investors’s Day, a showcase highlighting the business and investment opportunity that Sack and his stellar stable of mentors have been incubating.
At the center of the opera house, Sack is like a symphony conductor orchestrating the players in a well-orchestrated effort. His persona seems to fit the part, including his stand up desk in the center of it all, and his wild artistic bouffant (okay, who has time for a haircut these days?). Between Founder’s Co-op, TechStars and his own investments and board seats, Sack is the quintessential EiR. He is the first to admit he is doing what he loves and his passion shows.
Presenters at the first TechStars event were:
Highlighter.com: The startup allow you to highlight, comment, and share on blogs, ebooks and PDFs on any device and manage your highlights.
Deal Co-op: Deal Co-op is a self-serve, white-lable daily deal marketing service for local organizations, publishers, and more.
The Shared Web: The Shared Web is a web based version of Flipboard, serving as a place to discover and share what matters to you the most.
Cabin Fever Toys: The startup wants to tackle the problem of childhood obesity in the United States with toys that measure, encourage and reward outdoor exercise. Cabin Fever Toys are also coupled with an online experience to help reinforce desired behaviors with game mechanics.
Kinizi: Kinizi is aiming to be the place to go when you’re looking for low cost apartment rentals. They’re essentially applying the daily deal model to apartment search, and enabling landlords to quickly fill vacancies using short term special offers.
RewardsForce: RewardsForce helps casinos manage their loyalty rewards programs. The company allows casinos to use iPads or other portable devices to increase repeat visitors and customer satisfaction.
Thinkfuse: Thinkfuse is building tools for team collaboration, and is hoping to create more effective way for teams to manage and share weekly status reports called This Week Last Week.
World Blender: World Blender is creating social location-based first person shooter games such as GPS Assassin.
GoMiles: GoMiles helps consumers track their airline miles and helps educate users on the best ways to protect, earn more, or redeem reward miles.
Giant Thinkwell: Giant Thinkwell is an imaginative social gaming platform featuring celebrity-based games. Their first game is called Raising Uncle Jesse, where players hilariously give birth to a baby John Stamos, and then raise him over time.
The Seattle funding group includes Bezos Expeditions, Buerk Dale Victor, DFJ, Founder’s Co-op, Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Maveron, OVP, Second Avenue Partners, Trilogy Partners, WRF Capital, Voyager Capital, Vulcan Capital and many prominent angel investors.
Many of these companies are still raising money and most have interest in their rounds. If you’re an investor and you’d like an introduction to any of them, drop Techstars a note.