A Nelson business has won $150,000 from a group of angel investors in the Okanagan.
The top prize during last week’s finale of Accelerate Okanagan Angel Summit in Kelowna went to CertiCraft and its CEO Sami Majadla.
CertiCraft makes compliance software for the cannabis industry and helps producers meet the red tape and reporting requirements for the government.
In its fourth year, it also marks the first time the Okanagan event has had a winner from outside the valley.
Alex Goodhew, community manager at Accelerate Okanagan and emcee for the event, says it was a hybrid format with companies making their pitches online to the judges at the event.
“One of my favourite moments was actually when Sami won, we panned the video back to him and he was so exited. It was just genuine enthusiasm and appreciation which was so great to see,” Goodhew said in an interview with Vista Radio.
Goodhew says most of the 32 angel investors are from the Okanagan valley and the summit allows small startups to connect with high net work individuals. The investors each put in $5,000 which makes it a “relatively low barrier to entry” for accredited investors.
They also get to vet the companies and make a lot of connections to businesses across Western Canada.
As for the businesses taken part, they go through an intensive 11-week competition where they get entrepreneurial training, tips on raising capital and ways to make it easier to invest and get investment.
Goodhew remembers Sami’s development through the competition and his final pitch.
“First of all, he was wearing a Star Wars hat which won me over right away,” Goodhew laughed. “He did such a great job. I had seen him throughout the process doing his quarterfinal pitch, semifinal pitch and now at the finale. So, just all around he brought great energy and enthusiasm to the event.”
“Sami got pretty much 32 new investors out of this Okanagan Angel Summit and 32 new connections to folks who are high net work individuals, which is really exciting for him. But also great for those investors to be in contact with these 30-plus other companies who are involved in the angel summit,” Goodhew said.
“There’s something really powerful in those peer to peer networks,” she added.
A fifth Accelerate Okanagan summit is planned for next year.