Thursday night could not have gone much better for Justin Goodhew.
Not only did his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs win their playoff opener against the Boston Bruins, but he and his company, Trellis, captured $130,000 as the winner of the inaugural Okanagan Angel Summit at the Innovation Centre.
“It’s humbling, because we’re trying to do good and make some money at the same time, and the Okanagan community is supporting that,” Goodhew said.
Trellis is a web platform specifically for charitable organizations to manage their fundraising events and campaigns. Essentially, it takes the time-consuming part of issuing receipts out of the charities’ hands, and it also makes it easier for groups to set up fundraising events.
Goodhew and the other four finalists gave 10-minute pitches to the 27 local investors who each pitched in $5,000 to put towards a startup Okanagan business. The investors then headed to the boardroom for an hour to determine which one was going to take home the cash.
The process started in January with 44 startups plunking down $99 to be part of the process, and the group was whittled down to five through weekly pitches. Thursday’s other finalists were Daniel Rondeau of 925 Freelancing, Ian Paterson of Plurilock, Peter O’Brien of VO2 Master and David Brough of Klonetics.
Determining the winner in the final meeting wasn’t easy, according to lead investor Brodie Desimone.
“It was a cage match,” Desimone said. “It was an absolute cage match.”
The process isn’t officially over, as the angel investors will now negotiate with Goodhew and his Trellis team about where to go from here.
“At this point we are giving them the money, and it’s going to be done as a negotiation,” said Desimone, who is a partner at Vancouver’s Anrias Capital Corp. “Once the negotiations are complete they’ll take that money and invest it in their business. I’m going to be riding shotgun with them as the representative of those angel investors for the next … however long it takes. This is like a marriage. I’ve tied the knot, and I’m in long term.”
Goodhew said he was just as excited to have the money as he was to have the 27 investors behind him for the next part of his journey, which is making his business profitable as quickly as possible.
“A lot of failures have led to this moment and now maybe a little bit of a success, which is exciting,” he said.
“I learned a lot about my business, a lot about how to help charities better, how to grow, and we’re excited.”
Those in attendance and watching on the live stream were able to vote for their own winner, and Rondeau ended up capturing the people’s choice award.
“I’m almost speechless right now,” Rondeau said. “To be voted people’s choice (winner) alongside such an amazing group of people and by probably one of the best communities in the world is one of the most flattering things you could ask for.”
Accelerate Okanagan hopes to make the angel summits an annual event and one day even a biannual affair.
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