Four Vancouver firms semifinalists for investment capital

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

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Four local companies are among 25 "launch stage" startups selected as semi-finalists for the Oregon Entrepreneur Network's Angel Oregon 2013 investment competition.

Those companies, selected from a pool of 65 applicants based in Oregon or Southwest Washington, are in the chase for investment capital to help them fuel their growth that could exceed $400,000. The 25 semi-finalists will be narrowed to finalists through a rigorous review by investors. Selection of one or two finalists will take place April 17 at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

The four Southwest Washington companies, all based in Vancouver, are:

Selfpubd, which builds and assembles a platform of cloud-based marketing and education tools for building game businesses;

Circle Technology, which allows users to share wireless presentations from a central computer to multiple displays with no paper or networks;

REDPoint International, a medical device company that has developed innovative devices to stabilize tubing for catheters;

Healers Pet Care Inc., maker of Healers Paw Booties and other products that encourage faster healing of pet injuries.

Linda Weston, president of the Oregon Entrepreneur Network, said this year's number of Clark County finalists is likely the largest since the competition began in 2005. Weston noted that the overall list encompasses "a really diverse group of companies," working in areas of technology, medical equipment, consumer products, green energy, and communications.

"There's a general diversification of entrepreneurs and a wider variety of companies securing outside investment," she said. "The (business support) ecosystem has broadened a bit to support a larger variety of companies."

While investment funding for the Portland-Vancouver area is still well below that of Puget Sound or California's Bay Area, Weston noted that funding is steadily increasing as entrepreneurs diversify and refine their business proposals. "Its very clear there is more access to, and opportunities for, investment than even 4-5 years ago," she said.

The network's own prize for "launch stage" startups is an example. This year's goal of $400,000 far exceeds the $125,000 offered in 2005, she said.

The network has a separate competition for "concept stage" companies in their early stage of development. Those semi-finalists have not been named.