Fund: ZINO Society
Posted by SallySueVoter on 2015-04-29
We have investigated Zino Society since going out for funding at the end of last year. Several of the few fellow Puget Sound Washington Angel groups suggested we do so. Our experiences turned unfavorable. The facts follow:
* Companies that have 'won' awards with Zino have not received funding from individual investors, the Zino Fund nor even a pipeline of potential investment or advisor contacts; (Personally validated with 3 hence our company will not be presenting.)
- However Zino claims they are the third largest group by awards to companies in the area;
* Screening standards and 'coaching' are selective and disproportionate; one company may present to a board and others may only receive some slight feedback;
* Not many if any women-owned or run companies present nor are they treated equally;
* Other Angel group participants, coaches and members have openly advised to stay away from 'Cathi's wine club' as they have a history of collecting monies without further investment opportunities presented;
* Panel/Board member judges are also pay-to-play for their 'expertise' particularly attorneys and 'sales-system' speakers;
* The group is unorganized; last minute phone calls to schedule 'coaching' and practice to pitch just a few days before monthly events. Moving/migrating dates and topics to total re-works are common for the entire event within just a few days. Long-planned activities are shelved; not conducive for companies who are engaged in serious development and fundraising;
* The 'COO' Kenny Byrne is a well-known self-promoter 'BigManOnCampus' who has been witnessed drinking to excess boisterously interrupting, holding court and causing general problems;
- LOOKOUT for this character as he makes the rounds scouting for companies/victims in the Start-up communities along with Lee Reeves who is a nice guy but has neither operated a lemonade stand;
* Disparate 'qualifications' to present along with arbitrary 'turn downs' when serious questions are asked to the organization particularly to Kenny in general who can 'turn' particularly on booze.
Generally, if you want to pay to attend a party and 'watch the show' maybe acquiring a few decent contacts, sure. Otherwise, wise start-ups will move on. Be concerned in general about any group that charges more than a small fee to pitch.
Fortunately, we completed our due diligence and decided unanimously not to move forward.
Do your homework wherever you choose to present!
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