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Shark Tank? The Voice? Awake Labs wins it in WTIA “First Look Forum.”

shark_tankFans of Shark Tank, the reality TV show that lets seasoned  investors square off with the most promising startup concepts, or Kickstarter, the online fundraising vehicle for budding, investment-worthy ideas, found the same spark of innovation and inspiration at WTIA’s First Look Forum.

Presenting what they hoped would be the winning, real world formula for success, and after being mentored by the WTIA, ten finalists competed for $10,000 in what has become a fall classic for entrepreneurs.

The winner was Awake Labs who squared off among the Final Four (including: ACME Farms  + Kitchen, eSecond Opinion and JumpStartCSR) in a final, one-minute, rapid-fire round. Awake Labs is developing Reveal, a wearable device to measure anxiety for children with autism to predict and prevent behavior meltdowns from happening.  While Awake Labs hails from BC (where WTIAs also provides membership), the other three finalists are from Seattle and Bellingham.

Andrea Palmer Co-founder and CEO of Awake Labs
Andrea Palmer, Co-founder and CEO of Awake Labs: “Winning First Look Forum means quite a lot, it allows us to buy off the shelf hardware and work on our MVP, something we had been working on for a while. The coaches and the network were amazing. They were able to introduce us to other startups and other angel investors. It’s a great place to get started.”

This year’s contestants are distinguished by a laudatory degree of diversity according to Michael Schutzler, CEO of the WTIA. “To see half of the startups chosen to compete at this year’s First Look Forum with woman founders or managers, as well as the rich diversity in this pool of finalists gives us hope that we’re headed in the right direction as an industry,” said Schutzler.

Here were the top 10 startups (in alphabetical order) to present their innovations:

• ACME Farms + Kitchen (Bellingham) – making it simple for families to shop, cook, and eat local. Unique model efficiently moves large amounts of local food and benefits both the small artisan producers and the customer.

• Ampello (Seattle) – provides speech based device control platform for medical and smart home space.

• Arkit (Vancouver, BC) – a map-based web app for project collaboration.

• Awake Labs (Vancouver, BC) – developing Reveal, a wearable device to measure anxiety for children with autism to predict and prevent behavior meltdowns from happening.

• eSecondOpinion (Seattle) – credible online alternatives to Western medicine; like WebMD, but with personal coaches and advocates. 

 GiveSafe (Seattle) – for 200M city goers that will pass by 2M homeless in the US this year, GiveSafe has created a way to give in seconds without carrying a dollar on hand.

• JumpStartCSR (Seattle) – a hardware-enabled SaaS integrating Health-Wellness-Fitness (HWF) through artificial intelligence, wearables, and groupware.

• Pedal Anywhere (Seattle) – brings magic to bike rental. Reserve a bike and they come to you.

• Subcurrent (Issaquah) – a software bot that removes the pain in collecting and exchanging feedback in key enterprise processes.

• Syzen Analytics, Inc. (Bellevue) – provides Product Demand insights for Consumer Product Goods (CPG) manufacturers.

Previous First Look Forum $10,000 grand prize winners who’ve continued to see strong growth include Anna Steffeney of LeaveLogic, and Matt Rose of APANA™ (formerly Kirkland Analytics).

First Look Forum helps budding entrepreneurs prepare to take on increasingly competitive funding circuits by providing a taste of what it’s like to pitch their start-up ideas to a packed audience of industry veterans for the first time. Over the last few weeks, each entrepreneur has been working with a mentor to sharpen business plans and prepare their pitch techniques for an exclusive audience of angel, venture, and investment firms

WTIA brings together community partners and sponsors from across the industry to present this one-of-a-kind startup forum. Partners and sponsors of this year’s fall event include Davis Wright Tremaine, Deloitte LLP, and the NW Innovation Resource Center. [24×7]