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This workshop describes how to conduct better experiments to assist you in market research.


With 6 successful finalists pitching for the final investment, the Apis Health Angels selected CEO, Co-Inventor, & Co-Founder of Karios Technologies, Inc. Dr. Gregory Grover for the investment. Houston-based Karios Technologies won the inaugural Apis Health Angel Conference, launched in Seattle to connect investors and health-related startups.

Follow the GeekWire article for more coverage.

The program is modeled after the Seattle Angel Conference, which has educated investors and funded companies for more than ten years through its startup competition.

More than 50 companies started with the Apis cohort late last year, and six made it to the final competition Thursday evening. They presented pitches to more than 25 participating angel investors.

The Apis conference is virtual and accepted applicants from all over the country. The investors each contributed $5,000 to the winner’s pool. Karios took home a minimum of $145,000.

RELATED: Seattle Angel Conference launches new health startup competition to help educate angel investors.

Karios is developing a way to help prevent tissue adhesions after surgery, using hydrogel technology spun out of the University of California Los Angeles and UC San Diego. The startup is focused on children with congenital heart defects.

“Our passion is to bring this product into clinic to improve the quality of life of these young patients and then transition in other high impact areas of surgery,” said CEO Gregory Grover in a statement. Grover was previously a bioengineering postdoctoral fellow at UCSD and has held senior positions at biotech and medical device companies.

A three way tie for Audience Favorite Award included Karios Technologies as well as:

NanoPharmaSolutions, which offers technology to help formulate biopharmaceuticals and is based in San Diego led by founder Kay Olmstead.

Remedium Bio, a Needham, Mass.-based biotech company developing gene therapies for a broad range of conditions particularly focused on osteoarthritis of the knee with CEO Frank Luppino.

Apis Health Angels is thrilled to announce our Apis Health Angels Master of Ceremonies.

Jolene Anderson is the CoFounder for the VectorPoint Impact Fund and Managing Director for
VectorPoint Ventures, a seed through early growth stage purpose-driven impact venture firm
and advisory team. A former advisor for Kineta Bio and current advisor for Seattle based
Inmedix, Inc., Tenzr Health  and other digital health companies, Ms.
Anderson has worked with the angel investing and entrepreneur community for many years as a
mentor and advisor. She is a Board member of the Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Cluster as
well as participating on the Angel Capital Association Life Science Committees, Keiretsu Forum
Life Science Committee and is a former Chapter President of the Keiretsu Forum NW Idaho
Chapter and past Board member for the St. Alphonsus Hospital Foundation before relocating
back to Puget Sound in May 2021. She is also a former Board member of American Cancer
Society Great NW Region and MIT Enterprise Forum NW and has volunteered for organizations
such as The Chris Elliott Fund for Brain Tumor Research, American Heart Association and other
worthy organizations. She has participated in SBIR road shows and produced events on healthy
aging in the Pacific Northwest and was the founder of a spa/wellness education company,
producer of a radio show on Healthy Aging and speaker/exhibitor for various trade shows on
healthy aging in the U.S. and Canada.

She is a charter member for the Magnolia Rotary Club in Seattle, past president of the Kiwanis
Club of Seattle and Past President of Soroptimist International of Seattle.

Register for March 24 Demo Day at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/apis-health-angels-investment-program-final-demo-day-event-tickets-187756383397

They will be standing up a 10 minute pitch, answering challenging questions, and convincing our investors that they are structured to be a good business! We know they are early so we will also be looking to see what risk mitigation strategies they have developed.
Congratulations to:
BodiGuide Inc

Cubtale Inc.

Estrigenix Therapeutics, Inc.

Innovosens AB

Karios Technologies, Inc.

NanoPharmaSolutions, Inc.

ONDRwear - Leakproof Underwear

OneFul Health Inc


Remedium Bio




Founders across a broad spectrum were focused on telling their story to our Apis Health Angel Investors. They were then peppered with questions for another 3 minutes.

Allay Health  Victor Bian

BodiGuide Inc.  Deborah Kessler

Caregiven, Inc. Candice Smith

Cubtale. Selin Tamer

Innovosens AB.  Sirisha Adimatyam

Oneful Health Inc Edison Hudson

Parrots Inc. David Hojah

Pataigin Erik Nilsson

Pronoia Cloud Alesha R. Adamson

Prosel Biosciences Zach H.

A few examples are:  

Sahil Diwan, the co-founder and CEO of SafKan Health, the winner of SAC XI, a medtech company based in Seattle with a mission to bring ear care into the 21st century, have raised capital, run successful clinical trials, secured two patents, received FDA 510(k) clearance, and brought a new medical innovation to market. 

Alertive Health Care a SAC XIII co-winner just was acquired by Carbon Health. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211005005679/en/Carbon-Health-Acquires-Remote-Patient-Monitoring-Company-Alertive-Healthcare-to-Expand-Omnichannel-Care-Delivery

Elliot Fisher shared how Curi bio, SAC XIII co-winner pivoted to platform methodology thereby accelerating the discovery of the next generation of medicines by integrating human cells, systems, and data and receiving a $6Million Series A.

Angela Robert of Conquer Experience, winner of SAC XIV discussed how gaming helped her in developing visual reality training for health professionals.

Lukas Karim-Merhi, the CEO @ TENZR Health and the Winner of SAC XV, shared his founder- to-in-market story and the journey of acquiring investors. 

Abterra Biosciences (who won as Digital Proteomics) was the SAC 19 winner. In 2021 they graduated from the Johnson & Johnson Incubator JLABs and moved to a bigger lab at the San Diego Science Center, significantly increasing capabilities. The  team doubled in size. They sequenced their 5,000th hybridoma; worked on antibody discovery and antibody protein sequencing projects, and doubling 2020 capacity. A new mass spectrometer, an Orbitrap Eclipse Tribrid will translate to shorter project timelines, and enable the launch of some exciting new technologies. 

BrainSpace and Cailin Morse are our SAC 20 winners and focused on simplifying critical care after stroke, TBI or surgery with tools to protect the brain and help it heal. . 

Tons of books and online resources provide intricate details about investing in early-stage startups. But there is a big gap between conducting an academic exercise and writing your first check. In the entrepreneurial ecosystem there are ongoing jokes about ‘wantrapreneurs’--people who imagine themselves as founders but never start a company. The same could be said of wannabe ‘angel investors.’ Early-stage investing always involves a level of the unknown and calculated risk—and for this reason can be intimidating. Angel investing has historically been the realm of very high net worth individuals who can write six-figure checks. But over the past decade, the structure of angel investing and the regulations around it have changed, making it much more accessible to younger and more modestly well-to-do individuals who are not members of the billionaire boys club. Having the wealth to invest in startups doesn’t solve the problem of feeling confident in knowing how to do it. There is only so much you can learn from reading. Learn by Doing At Apis Health Angel Conference (Apis) you collaborate with a group of fellow investors from diverse backgrounds—each of you contributing unique perspective and experience to the process as you are guided from initial screening of companies to a final investment decision. Apis Health Angel Conference teaches aspiring angel investors how to invest in early-stage startups by actively evaluating prospective companies and making an investment. Each semi-annual Apis cohort comprises up to 40 investors who pool approximately $100,000 to $200,000 to make an investment in an early-stage startup. Starting with 50 or more companies, investors work together to screen, review pitches, and conduct due diligence. And together select a winning company for investment. While our startup sector is health, our investor focus is broad. Health professionals might understand health products and systems, but learning about what makes a strong business and an investable company takes a partnership approach. Experts in consumer goods, customer analysis, security, financing strategies, exit opportunities, cap table management to name a few, broaden out the discussion. This inquiry method encourages founders to shift from speaking like a product expert or researcher to speaking like a company representative, and it encourages investors to broaden their thinking about what disruptions could happen. Accredited individuals who may be interested in hearing about our investor program can contact Elizabeth Cross Nichol - APIS Health Angel Conference or John Sechrest. Eligibility - Accredited Investors Only
Investors who participate in the Apis Health Angel Conference must meet the Security and Exchange Commission definition of Accredited Investor. Individuals attain Accredited Investor status simply by having a net worth of $1M or more (over and above home ownership), and/or an annual income of $200,000 or higher. The Apis Health Angel program is modeled on the Seattle Angel Conference Program .

Optional Workshops Provide Context to Health Industy Challenges

Begin by viewing "Angel Investing101". Reserve your investor spot.

On our website (under Investors) and our Youtube Channel (Progress in Health) and in our stories that we discuss in our working sessions we talk about the progress of our company applicants. Some have won our investment. Some did not win but go on to great things. Others quietly toil. Some (as you would anticipate in the angel investment world) have founders that redirect their efforts or cease business.

It is great when we get an end of the year holiday greetings from a previous winner.

Abterra Biosciences (who won as Digital Proteomics) was the SAC 19 winner. We keep in touch with Natalie Castellana and Abterra Bio (just like we try to do with our other SAC Alumni).

2021 was a year of expansion for Abterra Bio. We graduated from the Johnson & Johnson Incubator JLABs and moved to a bigger lab at the San Diego Science Center, significantly increasing our capabilities. Our team doubled in size and look out for new team members in the coming months as we continue to grow. Abterra Bio reached a new record!  In 2021 we sequenced our 5,000th hybridoma.  We also worked with many of you on antibody discovery and antibody protein sequencing projects, doubling our capacity from 2020. Looking forward to 2022!
We are expanding our lab by bringing in-house a new mass spectrometer, an Orbitrap Eclipse Tribrid. This new capability will translate to shorter project timelines, and enable the launch of some exciting new technologies.  Stay tuned!

Congratulations Natalie!

We are not the only one with Success Stories. NIH has been fostering innovation in Health.

They have a newly created page sharing the stories of NIH Supported companies that have been successful.

https://seed.nih.gov/portfolio/stories. As you read the stories one important thing to notice is that not all of the companies achieved their success quickly. Some worked for quite some years doing lab studies, repeat prototypes, clinical trials, pivots to other drugs, devices, biologics, or digital health initiatives (though this category has just seen more explosive growth over the last few years).

We hope to continue showcasing the progress of our teams.

Not to be totally biased, though who doesn't love a success story, we will soon include some lessons learned from companies that have had a different trajectory! And this includes pivots!

If you would like to have us share your story or join us on our new journey please get in touch.

Early stage startup investing is (at least) a double-sided marketplace. On the one hand, there are the entrepreneurs and their startups seeking capital to grow their companies. On the other hand, there are investors who seek opportunities to grow their capital. In the end, they seek the same outcomes, albeit from their unique sides and perspectives. Each side accomplishes a significant part of this through the process of due diligence.

David Rose, author of Angel Investing – the Gust Guide to Making Money and Having Fun Investing in Startups, defined due diligence as“the careful investigation into a company prior to making an investment.” I would offer the entrepreneur’s definition is similar: “the considered preparation and offer of information about your company to a potential investor, and your careful investigation of the investor, in an effort to secure capital.”


There are several pieces of information that most potential investors will want to examine. By collecting this information early and keeping it up to date, you will make raising capital that much easier while you are also continuing to run your business. Significant details could be written about each of these areas, however in this brief post we’re just going to enumerate them. These areas include:

·      Corporate formation and capitalization materials

·      Founding and early-stage team and advisors' biographies, roles, and responsibilities

·      Comprehensive employment agreements with all employees, including founders

·      Pending or threatened litigation

·      Financial information. More or less detailed, depending on company stage. At a minimum, cash inflows (capital and revenue)and outflows (expenses).                     May also include your personal financial situation

·      Business model. How your company will make money for e.g. software as a service “SAAS”, hardware or consumables sales, data licensing, subscription, etc.

·      Market understanding. Detailed description, size, your unique offer and value, competition

·      Intellectual Property

·      If you have customers, information about them.Note that what investors will be interested in will be different based on your customer profile                                                     i.e. individual consumers vs. enterprise contracts

·      Any contracts, LOIs, MOUs, statements of work, etc. with any third parties

·      Details about the solution / product / service and any market validation to-date (customer surveys, waiting lists, MVP, beta, clinical trials)

·      Note the above list is not exhaustive

Finally, as an entrepreneur, when you accept capital from an investor, you are entering into a long-term relationship with that person in away that is not easily separable. You cannot fire your investors like you can abad employee hire. As such, while the investor may be investigating you, your team, and your company, a much less talked about fact is that you should also be investigating them. Can you imagine doing business with them for a decade?Do they have character traits that ingratiate them to you or repel them from you? Do they have more to offer you than their capital, such as their business network or particular skills or expertise?


As an investor in an early-stage startup, you are making along-term bet towards an uncertain outcome in which there are few guardrails.You need to believe in early-stage startups as an asset class with the certainty of high risk and the possibility of high reward. While very few investments in publicly traded companies can actually go to zero, it’s quite likely that a high percentage of investments in early stage startups will go to zero or return less than 1x. Investors should be guided by three things before investing in an early stage startup.

1. Investment thesis.  An investment thesis in the context of early stage investments is unique from other types of investment theses. According to the Founder Institute, an investment thesis is “the stage, geography and focus of investments, as well as the unique differentiation” for the investor. This is, effectively, defining your “why” for investing. What types of companies, in what stage(s), doing what kind of business, for what purposes. This will, for example, help you determine if investing in dating networks vs neural networks is right for you.

2. Understanding of key risks. A significant function of due diligence for the investor is uncovering key risks. All startups have significant risks. During due diligence an investor wants to locate any deal-killing issues such as poorly protected IP, over-burdened financial commitments such as technology licensing, or ownership issues such as poorly structured equity. Non deal-killing risks are important to uncover as well as investors will want to know that entrepreneurs understand their space and have mitigation plans.

3. Finding enough reasons to say yes. Many people look just for red flags. We think it’s important for investors to look the other way. Can enough reasons to “say yes” be found during due diligence? Is the team strong enough, with sufficient passion and perseverance to work through the tough times? Is the market large enough and the problem acute enough to make a difference? All of the diligence areas listed above can be sources of “yes” and a careful consideration of the information will yield an answer one way or another.


There are a number of excellent materials that already existto help both entrepreneurs and investors in this journey. You can find links tosome we like below.




Building an Investor Pipeline Spreadsheet - keep your funding flowing! from Techstars / The Fund









NVESTORS often ask what are the due diligence components that are unique and important to consider when looking at an investment in health. These components may be regulatory, reimbursement, business models, and intellectual property to name a few. To better address this education need, check out our upcoming workshops and past workshop recordings . Interested in taking the next step in investment education and participation by joining a group of accredited interesting investors

STARTUP FOUNDERS benefit from applications to our program. We help put the structure in achieving the necessary components to be ready for investor due diligence. Investors expect companies to make week-over-week progress on preparing their companies for investment through dialogue, analysis of the financials/business models etc.December 1 Apis Health Angels Registration DeadlineApis Company Registration.  Apis Health Angels and Seattle Angel Conference are excited to contribute.

Angels play a key role in funding early health and life sciences startups, particularly where non-diluted grant funds do not allow payment for business development. Apis Health Angels is a mini MBA in health investing and company due diligence. Investors can learn to ask the right questions and not accept at face value company responses. Please contact crossnichol@apishealthangels.com to learn more.

Our goal at Apis Health Angels is to create more and better entrepreneurs and investors. A big part of the lives of entrepreneurs and investors is developing and receiving a pitch, respectively. As an early-state technology investor it is important to watch and listen to as many investor pitches from startup entrepreneurs as possible. As you find live or recorded opportunities, think about whether the pitching companies are at a comparable stage to the companies that you will be listening to. Someone pitching for the $2Million investment is going to have a lot more polish (and traction) than someone at the early first raise stage. Our Seattle Angel Conference youtube has pitches of previous final events.

So what are some tips for watching. You want to pay close attention to how you feel. Take notes on this. What part of a pitch made you excited? Was it something on the slide or something the presenter said? What parts bored you? What parts were believable, or maybe even unbelievable? Why do you think you felt this way?  In the end, did the presenter leave you wanting to ask questions to learn more about what they are doing? Did you find reasons to say "yes" to a deeper encounter.

As you watch more pitches (and go back to those notes you might have compiled) you will refine what components that you are looking for in a pitch, and perhaps the order that you want to hear them, but more importantly you will begin to identify the connections that you have with the presenter. While hard, quantifiable data studied in cold cognition is very important in making an investment decision, understanding what compels or repels you emotionally to, or from, an investment opportunity is also an important element to understand..

BrainSpace, a medical device company, won the  20th semi-annual Seattle Angel Conference investment competition, held virtually from the Greater Seattle Area.   BrainSpace is a Seattle based companyCaitlin Morse and team are simplifying critical care after stroke, trauma or surgery by providing nurses & doctors with better tools to protect the brain and help it heal. https://www.brainspacemed.com/ BrainSpace will receive a $200,000 angel award investment from the Seattle Angel Conference 20 LLC, based on the Seattle Angel organization’s published convertible note.

Apis Health Angels is the health-sector specific investor-led angel conference. Caitlin Morse has been joining the Apis Health Angels education sessions. We are thrilled to have her participation and wise advise to our fellow founders and new investors.

John Sechrest and Bob Thong MD launched APIS Health Angels at LSINW. The Seattle Angel Conference (SAC), founded by John Sechrest, has a decade of growing new investors and supporting new startups via education and funding. Over the years 25% of companies applying to the SAC have been health startups. While 6 health companies were finalists, new investors don't always know how to evaluate companies in the health ecosystem. We are out to change this with APIS Health Angels. Sign up to get more information.

Thanks to GeekWire for this story about our launch.

Michelle has been doing Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs for over 20 years. She knows that as a startup founder and an investor you need to know where to put your efforts so that you are focusing on the important stuff. She will take you from 0 to 60 determining a startups' regulatory pathway and first quality system and submission. She also does remediation services for large companies. Serving a four-year term on the FDA Device Good Manufacturing Practices Advisory Committee (DGMP) as an advisor she reviewed feasibility and reasonableness, recommending proposed good manufacturing practice regulations in manufacturing, packing, storing, and installing devices. She was formerly an expert witness in forensic toxicology at the Mississippi Crime Laboratory. Michelle knows how to assess whether a company or an acquisition target’s RAQA issues should scuttle the deal!

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