Diverse Winners at the 2018 Innovation Showcase


By Lucy Howell, ACA Director of Partnerships 

The ACA Summit is the largest gathering of accredited angel investors in North America and the event’s “Innovation Showcase” provides selected companies the opportunity to present their pitch to the entire ACA Summit audience.  It represents a tremendous opportunity for angel groups, economic development agencies and accelerators to showcase their best portfolio companies and attract capital. 

Twenty-three sponsored entrepreneurs delivered their Showcase speed pitch to the audience throughout the Summit.  Sponsored entrepreneurs also hosted a table throughout the Summit to tell their story and hold private meetings.  This year ACA partnered with Gust Launch as a sponsor, which offered winning underwriters complimentary licenses to help their entrepreneurs incorporate and grow.

The 2018 Innovation Showcase painted a diverse picture of participants and entrepreneurs.  Nearly 40% of the pitching entrepreneurs were females and nearly 50% represented a diverse background.  Companies were in a variety of industry sectors, from life sciences to IT to cleantech to beauty tech.

Competitive categories for prizes included in the Showcase were: Quality of Pitch, Quality of Investment Potential, Venture Bucks votes and Overall Winner.  Major underwriters participating companies included National Institutes of Health, Project 500, Keiretsu Forum, Keiretsu Capital, RGA Business Advisory & Venture Funding, Portland Seed Fund and VentureWell.

First place for Quality of Pitch was Abilis Life Sciences, Inc. represented by Barry Cohen.  Second place was PIA Medical, represented by Mary Waiss and third place was Alba-Technic, LLC represented by Joshua Leavitt.

Salarius Pharmaceuticals, represented by David Arthur, won first place in the Quality of Investment Potential category.  Second place was awarded to Otonexus, represented by Charlie Corredor, and the third place winner was Touchjet USA, represented by Helen Thomas

David Arthur said the Innovation Showcase delivers results for participating startups, “The 2018 ACA Summit was a fantastic experience.  It exceeded all expectations and, one week later Salarious is a little overwhelmed with ACA follow-up.  We are an oncology focused biotech company which is developing therapies for patients who need them most, and pitching at ACA makes that job easier.”

Touchjet USA, represented by Helen Tomas, took first place in the Venture Bucks category.  Bonnti, represented by Maude Okrah, won second place and Astarte Medical Partners, represented by Tracy Warren, earned third place.

The overall winner was determined by total points from the three categories.  The 2018 overall winner was awarded to TouchJet USA.  Touchjet USA is a two-time winner, also winning in 2017.

The 2018 Innovation Showcased closed with an expert testimonial from Lauren Flanagan, the managing director of BELLE Capital USA, an investor in 2017 top three winner, Vital Vio.  Lauren shared how the Innovation Showcase was a pivotal moving point to help Vital Vio raise $2 million over their anticipated mark and encouraged all ACA members to use the Innovation Showcase as a way to syndicate rounds for their portfolio companies.

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