Startups Compete for an Estimated $200,000 in Eugene


A Showcase of Emerging Business. Eugene Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Willamette Angel Conference at the Downtown Athletic Club, May 10, 2012

The fourth annual Willamette Angel Conference (WAC) is back in Eugene on May 10, 2012. The WAC is an investor conference, connecting early stage and seed businesses with angel and venture investors in the Willamette Valley. The mission of the WAC is to encourage, accelerate and showcase start-up companies in the Willamette Valley and across Oregon.

The annual competition is expected to have real economic impact in the Willamette Valley by using local entrepreneurs, talent, and intellectual property to generate new business and jobs. The event has a variety of scenery including two rounds of business pitches. The first round is a high-energy 3-minute concept stage pitch where the audience votes the winner. The second round is the 10-minute presentations given by each company competing for the Angel Conference investment prize.  Audience members have the chance to vote again during the second round and hear a panel of investors offer feedback on each 10-minute presentation.

Over the last four years the WAC has seen a diverse collection of Oregon business entries and pitches ranging from cupcake eateries and kids apparel to social media apps and electric cars. This year, on Thursday, May 10, up to 6 companies will have another opportunity to compete for an investment of an estimated $200,000. Companies who want to compete in the conference should be early stage, growth-oriented companies. Business plans can be submitted by visiting Applicants to the conference receive coaching and feedback from qualified investors who know what successful business looks like plus exposure at the pre-conference event held on May 9th, the day before the angel conference.

When competing companies talk about their WAC experience they tell a story that speaks of more than just a funding opportunity. Bradley Nelson, CEO of Rowan Technologies in Corvallis, was a 2011 finalist. When the competition was over and somebody else won he said, “Working with the WAC has been a huge learning experience. I’ve been provided with a huge amount of resources in the community that has helped my success.”

Before Brian Phelps, CEO at Montrue Technologies took home the investor’s prize at last year’s conference he explained that, “[the application process]helped my company to better understand our business model and revenue projections.” And the key stroke of wisdom that Brian shares, “These are things that are necessary for growth, regardless of any funding opportunities.”

The Willamette Angel Conference hosts a rich networking atmosphere and proves to be a place where recognition can be gained by all applicants. Finalists will be announced in early May and companies submitting a business plan should take advantage of the early bird discount until 11:59p.m. on March 12th.

This year’s conference will be at the Downtown Athletic Club on May 10th. For information about how you can participate go to or contact JJ O’Connell at the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce: (541) 242-2366.


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