Events / Funding / Investing / Philly Tech Week / Startups

Here’s who snagged funding at PACT’s drama-filled pitch event, Lion’s Den

And watch the robotics, intimates and cybersecurity companies vie for investment deals during Thursday's Philly Tech Week 2020 event.

The "lions" listening to pitches during PACT's annual Lion's Den competition. (Screenshot via livestream)

While 2020 has been chock-full of unpredictable events, one thing was sure for PACT — that its annual Lion’s Den pitch event would feature high-stakes investment opportunities and a decent amount of fanfare.

That much was true Thursday morning, as the event streamed via YouTube and five “lions,” aka investors, heard from three companies. The event comes at the end of PACT’s Capital Conference, which took place over a few days in August.

The lions comprised of Rudy Karsan, managing parter at Karlani Capital; Paul Melchiorre, operating partner at Stripes; Larry Berran, CEO of iPipeline; Holly Flannagan, managing director at Gabriel Investments; and Johnathan Brassington, EVP of digital customer experience at Capgemini.

And unlike other years, audience members got to weigh in on the investments using an app. They could rate the presenters on a five-point scale and give feedback in the comments of the livestream.

First, the lions heard from Mark Davidson of Dreamvu, maker of a camera-based omnidirectional 3D-vision system in the robotics market. The company created Pal, its single-sensor vision system with depth perception that could be used in a variety of ways, Davidson said, such as human-free sanitization of spaces like hospital rooms.

Davidson said the currently San Jose-based team is relocating to Philadelphia, as it’s where their current lead investor is located. The company wants to raise a Series A in 2021, and was looking for up to $1 million Tuesday.

Barran bit, investing $50,000 with Melchiorre following with a $25,000 investment.

Mark Davidson pitching Dreamvu at PACT’s 2020 Lion’s Den. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Next, Dana Donofree took the stage. The founder and CEO of AnaOno, a lingerie and loungewear company for people who have gone through breast surgeries, is a breast cancer survivor herself, and was inspired to launch the company that specializes in communication surrounding breast surgery and unique bras and wearable post-surgery products.

“After breast surgery, your body is different, so why would a normal bra work for you?” she asked the lions.

The founder was looking to kick off a $1.5 million Series A of fundraising, touting stats like nearly 70% of her customers are returning clients.

The lions had issue with her valuation, saying it was likely too high, but Brassington, Berran and Karson all said they’d committed money if Donofree would be flexible on those terms.

“It sounds like with all these people you can get close to a quarter of a million dollars from this group,” said moderator Marc Lederman, general partner at NewSpring Capital.

Last up was longtime Philly-area entrepreneur Steve Wray with a cybersecurity SaaS product called Myota. The Main Line-based company uses an AI-powered cybersecurity solution to boost enterprise immunity and resilience from ransomware, cloud failure and data breaches.

Wray was seeking a $1.5 million bridge round of fundraising for commercialization purposes, saying the product would be ready to come to market at the end of the year.

But all five lions passed on the investment Thursday morning, citing a crowded marketplace, but Brassington and Karson said they’d be eager to learn more in the future.

Watch the full, dramatically filmed investment session here, including a showcase of PACT President and CEO Dean Miller’s acting skills while driving a Jeep (?) under the El as well as some powerful couch-sitting poses:

Companies: Gabriel Investments / iPipeline / NewSpring Capital / PACT

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