Video courtesy of Willamette Angel Conference. Click on the arrow and turn up the volume to enjoy the highlights of #WAC2017

What is the Willamette Angel Conference?

The Willamette Angel Conference is an exciting component of the South Willamette’s startup ecosystem.

Founded in 2009, the Willamette Angel Conference (WAC) is an investment conference, connecting early stage and seed startups with angel and venture investors. The WAC is a joint venture of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, and the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network, designed to advance the entrepreneurial development movement within Oregon and the Willamette Valley.

The Willamette Angel Conference alternates between the communities of Eugene and Corvallis each year. Entrepreneurs and startups submit business plans for review and coaching, ultimately vying for an investment made by the WAC investor LLC.

In its eight-year history, the Willamette Angel Conference has invested over $3 million in early-stage businesses. The WAC continues to attract around 200 people to the conference each year.

What the WAC Does:

  • Increase seed capital and quality deal flow in the Willamette Valley.
  • Demonstrate the region’s commitment to entrepreneurship.
  • Develop a collaborative group of investors who provide funding options for the regions startups.
  • Provide coaching and mentoring to startups and entrepreneurs.

Startup companies collect funding at Willamette Angels Conference

Article by Kyle Odegard from the Gazette Times.

The $230,000 prize for the ninth annual Willamette Angels Conference on Thursday was split between two companies — Hemex Health of Portland, which has created inexpensive, fast and portable tests for malaria and sickle cell anemia, and Diatomix of Beaverton, which developed a photocatalytic method of improving indoor air quality with a wall paint additive.

Hemex Health also won the People’s Choice Award at the conference, which was held at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis.

Peter Galen, Hemex Health chief innovation officer, said the funding was great, but just as critical for his business was the stamp of approval from the conference and how investors connected with his company.

“We’re doing something important in the world, and we can make money,” Galen said.

Affordable treatments are available for malaria and sickle cell anemia, but diagnosing the diseases is the problem in developing countries.Roughly half of the world’s population is at risk from malaria, and there’s a need for 1 billion tests per year, according to the World Health Organization. Tests currently take 20 minutes or more and aren’t reliable, Galen said.

The Hemex Health test will cost $1, take one minute and be more effective, he added.

In total, $830,000 in awards were announced at the WAC. Elevate Capital also announced $50,000 investments in both Hemex Health and Heritage Laboratories, another 2017 Angels Conference finalist. Heritage Laboratories is a luxury skincare supplement brand targeting Asian-American women. The other finalist at the Angels Conference was OpConnect of Portland, which operates a platform-as-a-service that manages electric car chargers.

Business Oregon announced $250,000 loans from its Small Business Expansion Program for Moonshadow Mobile, which won the 2015 edition of the conference, and DulsEngery, an applicant for the conference this year.
Stoney River Sinkers, a lead-free stone fishing weights company out of Yachats, won $3,500 in the speed pitch category.

“It is crazy to be throwing toxic lead weights into our rivers, lakes and oceans,” said Jesse Dolin, an avid angler who created the business.
Dolin started the company for environmental reasons, but found that stone worked better than lead for fishing, partly because fish are spooked by the sound of lead weights bouncing along rocks.

The Willamette Angels Conference is an investment group that connects early stage and seed startups with angel and venture investors.

Applicants receive funding, mentoring and connections to other advisory resources.

Throughout its existence, the Angels Conference has invested more than $3 million in startup businesses.

The 2018 event will be held on May 17 in Eugene.

The conference is produced in partnership by the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce and Oregon RAIN (Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network), as well as the Eugene Area of Commerce and the Corvallis-Benton Economic Development Office.

Kyle Odegard can be reached at, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

Visit WAC Website