Four business owners gathered to pitch their start-up ideas to angel investors on Nov. 1 during the second annual Kirkland Investor Sharks event.
The event lets local startup owners sling their ideas toward four local angel investors, including Greg Grotesman, Gregg Bennett, Todd Dean and T.A. McCann. The event is loosely modeled after the ABC show “Shark Tank,” in which participants pitch their ideas to investors, who decide whether they want to provide financial capital to the businesses. In between contestants, the investors discussed investment and startup practices at the event, which was orchestrated by the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce.
The first pitch was made by Erick Eidus, owner of PupPod, a software-infused kong dog toy that dispenses kibbles as part of a game. The kong will make a specific noise, signalling to the dog it can hit it to receive a treat. Only one tone works, and it will make others as part of a game that gets progressively more complex as the dog learns. The kong can hold up to one cup of dog kibble.
So far, Eidus had raised $245,000 and was looking to secure $400,000 in funding and up to $5 million over the next 24 months. He said his product could disrupt the pet toy industry by incorporating software and technology.
The next contestant was Symon Permian of FanWide. The company created an app that lets people find others who are watching their favorite sports teams at nearby bars. Permian is originally from the United Kingdom and when he moved to the United States, he had some trouble finding places that were showing his favorite teams. FanWide is already up and running and has around 100 bars in Seattle that use it, and another 50 around the country are on board.
The app is free to the user, but when they check in, it creates data that is sent to advertisers who can target their ads and also provide the customer with discounts at the bar. Permian said they guarantee a minimum number of people showing up to a bar on game day and in return the bar pays his business at least $1 for every sports fan that shows up.
Dev Soor developed RealPeek, a software that lets residential property investors find properties to buy. It is marketed toward real estate agents and lets them punch in criteria for a property they’re looking for and brings up a list of properties in a given market. The app also calculates suggested rents and property taxes. The software relies on monthly or yearly subscriptions from real estate agents and currently operates only in Washington state, but Soor said he plans on expanding it to California and Texas soon, boosting their client base from 20,000 to 300,000.
Finally, Bernhard Klee owns the licensing rights for Neoh Bar, a low-sugar candy bar which includes eight grams of protein. The bars are made in Austria with a proprietary mixture of sweeteners that don’t include any of the main artificial sweeteners commonly found in commercial products. He has raised around $150,000 and is looking for up to $4 million in funding.
At the end of the competition, audience members picked their favorite product and the owner received a prize of $500. The results came down to the wire, but PupPod owner Eidus went home with the prize during the Nov. 1 competition.