Three Winners Named in 2017 ACA Summit “Innovation Showcase”

By Lucy Howell, ACA Director of Partnerships 

It’s been only five months since I joined the Angel Capital Association and I have already gathered so many highlights and insights from our angels within this unique investment space - from ACA events in Irvine, Portland, San Francisco and Boston - that I have decided to share some of these takeaways and highlights for those interested or for those who may have missed it the first go around.

One of my highlights to date has been co-directing the Innovation Showcase at the 2017 ACA Summit, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig. This program featured pitches by 24 startups from Chile and ten states in the US, in two half-hour sessions.  The “showcase” kicked off the first day of the ACA Summit, held on April 26-28 in San Francisco.

The entrepreneurs were sponsored into the competition by angel groups, economic development teams and incubators all looking to promote either their own portfolio companies or their economic regions to the broader angel investing community. During this plenary session of about 650 accredited angel investors, representing nearly 22 countries from around the globe.

The competition lead directly into a Venture Buck Social Hour, where investors had the chance to meet the entrepreneurs up close, and, if so inclined, to share their allotted “Venture Buck” with their favorites. 

The next day I had the honor of announcing the following three winners:

We asked the founders from each of these startups for their reaction to the event and to their award:

Ready Set Surgical (Cincinnati, OH): "It was a real pleasure to present in front of more than 650 attendees at the Angel Capital Association meeting,” said Keerthi Kanubaddi, Founder and CEO of ReadySet Surgical. “Our involvement in the pitch competition provided an unparalleled opportunity to network and increase awareness of the ReadySet brand. I am honored that we were chosen as one of the contest winners. Overall, it was a great experience that allowed us to connect/reconnect with multiple potential investors."

Touchjet (San Francisco, CA): “It was a short notice when Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic offered to sponsor us for the 2017 ACA Summit Innovation Showcase,” said Helen Thomas, Cofounder and CEO, Touchjet USA LLC. “We didn’t know what to expect, honestly. The audience was awesome and there were great ventures competing in the Showcase. It’s an honor to be one of the three winners. Touchjet received amazing exposure with the angel investors and generated momentum for our $4M fundraising with Keiretsu Forum, which has done our due diligence. It’s not easy raising capital in Silicon Valley for a woman entrepreneur. ACA Summit really opens a whole new horizon for Touchjet.”  More information about Touchjet is available on this video.

Vital Vio (Troy, NY): “The ACA’s Innovation Showcase provides invaluable guidance and connectivity to early stage companies like Vital Vio, as we pursue essential new products, markets, and investments,” said Colleen Costello, Cofounder and President of Vital Vio. “Selection as the company with the ‘best investment potential’ is a critical and timely affirmation of the market strength of our White Light Disinfection™ technology. I thank BELLE Capital USA for their broad-based commitment to our accelerated growth, including creating this potent opportunity to tell Vital Vio’s story.”

Said Lauren Flanagan, Managing Partner of BELLE Capital USA: “We were pleased to sponsor our portfolio company, Vital Vio, makers of disinfecting lighting solutions, at the ACA’s 2017 Innovation Showcase. We knew Colleen Costello, cofounder and outstanding young entrepreneur, would present her compelling business very well, and we’re delighted she won in two categories."

Congratulations to all three winners, and to their sponsoring organizations. And thanks to all who participated in this year’s Innovation Showcase. It was definitely a highlight of the Summit!