Angels flock to water power and diabetes prevention

By  Senior Reporter-San Francisco Business Times

Investor enthusiasm for backing startups these days was on full display at the Keiretsu Forum’s Angel Capital Expo in San Francisco Nov. 17, which drew 50 percent more people over last year’s expo.

The event attracted 465 potential investors and others wanting to hear entrepreneurs from around the country pitch for capital.

(Company presentations are off the record, but entrepreneurs are often eager to speak with me on the record about their ventures.)

At the San Francisco expo, three of the 15 companies presenting were tackling problems related to the rise in diabetes. Two startups were addressing wounds related to diabetic complications and other causes.

Zamzee, a Redwood City startup founded last year, seeks to prevent diabetes by creating a device that tracks and rewards the physical activity of children.

“We’re a fun proposition. The best way to change behavior is through fun,” said Zamzee CEO Jonathan Attwood.

Zamzee and the maker of Búcha brand kombucha, were finalists in an expo contest. The votes, placed in ballot boxes using play money, indicated which presentations were well received.

The winner was Seattle-based HydroVolts, which makes portable generators harnessing water power flowing through canals.

Listening to so many entrepreneurs pursuing innovation, I recalled the words of Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, who spoke the previous day at the Commonwealth Club of California.

“America is a market of immense growth opportunities,” Kent said. “Forget what you hear about America’s decline.”

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