LiquidPlanner CEO Charles Seybold at the Technology Alliance luncheon in Seattle (Annie Laurie Malarkey photo)

Over the past seven years, The Alliance of Angels has picked one startup company that represents the promise of the region’s burgeoning tech community. Today, that honor went to LiquidPlanner, a maker of online project management tools founded by former Expedia employees Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson.

“This is a great place to start a technology company,” said Seybold in accepting the award at the Technology Alliance’s annual luncheon in Seattle. “We have everything we need right here. We have the technology partners. We have the service provider partners. And we certainly have our angel investors and advisers.”

LiquidPlanner was the first recipient of capital from the Alliance of Angels’ “sidecar fund,” which was established in 2009 to support early-stage startup companies in the area. In remarks today, Seybold thanked the Alliance of Angels for its support, singling out Seattle super angel Geoff Entress who sits on the company’s board.

“He treats us like we are the only company he works with,” said Seybold. “But, what is it, 40, 50 companies he works with?”

Honorees in the past of the Alliance of Angels’ “Company of the Year” have represented a diverse set of industries, from Redfin to Modumetal to Insitu Group to SnapIn Software.

The Alliance of Angels is an angel investment group started by the Technology Alliance, which hosted its annual luncheon today today.

Interestingly, in remarks today, OVP Venture Partners’ Chad Waite noted that every single company that the Alliance of Angels has invested in since 2006 is still in business or has been acquired. Last year, the organization invested $10.3 million in 33 companies, a record year for the group amid a tough economy.

Previously on GeekWire: America’s chief geek Aneesh Chopra: ‘Today is the best time to be an innovator’

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  • daveschappell

    How many angel groups can say that? Pretty impressive quote “every single company AofA has invested in since 2006 is still in business or has been acquired. Wow.

    Or, does that mean not enough risk being taken, at the Angel level? Probably a mix of both.

    • johnhcook

      The key metric, however, is how many of those acquisitions came at a positive valuation? There have been some big winners out of the AoA like Insitu and Coffee Equipment Co. But, as you know @daveschappell:twitter , just getting acquired isn’t the end all be all.

  • Anonymous

    @daveschappell:disqus Can you elaborate on what you mean by not enough risk being taken? The fact that AoA invest at seed stage is by far the biggest risk factor. What else do you consider a risk factor?

    • daveschappell

      What I meant was that Angel-stage investing connotes a higher level of risk (they’re the first money in on riskier/less-proven businesses), and with that, usually a higher level of return.

      That higher level of risk usually means that you’ll have increased variance, with some big wins, and many losses, with the overall return of a diversified portfolio being larger than that of a less-risky investment mix.

      So, I was wondering if too little risk is being taken by this Angel group, if they’re telling the story that over the last 5 years they’ve never had a (big) failure. That defies conventional wisdom about early-stage investing. Of course, maybe this group is better at high-risk investment selection than other angel-investing consortiums. But that’s very hard to do over the very long-term, unless they’re not dabbling in the higher-risk investments.

      What really counts, of course, is the overall financial return and not whether they’re all still in business or acquired, since one large investment that was acquired for small $s could wipe out gains, or any mixture of alternative scenarios.

  • Rob Nachbar

    Congrats to LiquidPlanner and hats off to Charles and the team. As Margaret Mead meant to say, “never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the project management landscape”.

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