Hundreds of people gathered at Kirkland Performance Center in anticipation of the Investor Shark event on Nov. 7 to see what new startups are happening within the community and around the Pacific Northwest.
Modeled after the show “Shark Tank,” Investor Shark is an event that gives participants the opportunity to pitch their startup ideas, devices or products to a panel of judges in the hopes of getting more recognition and funding.
One aspect David Bander, managing director for Kirkland Performance Center, likes about the Investor Shark event is the excitement that comes with startup companies that have yet to be discovered.
“If you’re watching and you see the next Google or Microsoft take place, that’s huge to say, ‘I saw them at that pitch,’” he said.
Bander went on to say he likes the live experience of the event and the reactions from the audience and the judges.
“It’s not cut for sound clips,” Bander said. “If a shark doesn’t like what they’re seeing, they’ll let you know and if a shark really likes what they’re seeing they’ll let you know…When you watch ‘Shark Tank’ that was all recorded in the studio and if they didn’t like the way something looked or sounded, they re-recorded it. Here if somebody messes up it’s live theater.”
One startup was Zeacon from Bellevue. The premise of the company is to connect community members with local businesses easier in real-time through interactive maps. After CEO Kris Naidu saw a shift in people wanting to stay indoors more, rather than going outside to play or discover new places, he thought an app might be the answer to bridge the divide and make people more interactive with their community.
The goal of the app is to allow people to discover events and experiences in their local community. The app allows businesses to further promote experiences, events and deals in local communities. Another goal is to also reach people who may have just moved to Seattle and feel overwhelmed by the many possible options.
Another startup was Extentek. Twelve-year-old CEO Nir Pechuk noticed his grandma had trouble pouring water or drinks when in the dark. This observation spurred him to create a device, which he named Galina (after his grandmother) to try and help solve the problem.
The device is a contactless material level indication that warns the user through a beep when to stop pouring into any container without the risk of over-pouring or needing to use a finger to test the fluid level. The purpose of the device is to help improve the lives of people who might be blind or visually impaired and it is estimated that there are 280 million people who are visually impaired in the world today.
What started off as a mission to help his grandmother, Pechuk quickly realized his device could have a much greater impact.