Barati Medical Wins People’s Choice at AAC
June 1, 2020
UAF scientist turned startup-founder Bahareh Barati took her company, Barati Medical, to the finals of the 2020 Alaska Angel Conference on May 21 and won the People’s Choice Award sponsored by Alaska Airlines.
The second annual Alaska Angel Conference gave Barati the opportunity to develop her business strategies and pitch, as well as her relationships with Alaska investors. Though she didn’t win the final top spot and immediate investment, she expects to continue discussions with investors interested in opportunities in healthcare technology and the growing Alaska university and healthcare technology startup sector. Barati Medical joins UAF’s BeCool, started by biochemistry professor Kelly Drew, and other UA and Alaska health technology companies who are creating a growing niche of new businesses.
The angel conference model, developed in the PacificNorthwest, is a unique way for startups and new investors to learn how to work together. For the past three months, a new cohort of investors has heard pitches from Alaskan entrepreneurs. After careful deliberation, they selected five finalist companies: Pandere Shoes, Tundra Electronics, HairVoyage, Barati Medical and Alaska Peony Brokers.
Pandere Shoes, an Anchorage-based designer and manufacturer of adjustable shoes for people with medical conditions which result in foot swelling, won this year’s competition and was chosen to receive a $100K investment.
Hosted by the Juneau Economic Development Council, 49th State Angel Fund and Northrim Bank, the event also provided interesting news from the AAC 2019 investment recipient Ramper Innovations from Sitka and People’s Choice winner Molly Bz, from Soldotna. Both companies used the experience and investor relationships from the conference to secure national sales contracts and international opportunities which are currently in negotiations.
Barati’s final pitch presented a compelling story about the value of the stroke therapy her company is offering as well as the difficulty of developing new treatments. She also highlighted the superior return on investment medical technologies are delivering, even better than returns from other more popular technology investments. Her story also illustrates the importance of devoting as much time to company building and financing as she originally did to technology development. That time has been spent on developing her team, working with advisors, exploring strategic partnerships with distributors and securing financing.
Barati’s Cerebral Oximetry for Lab Animals device has received Phase I SBIR funding. She expects to use private investment to help her bridge between phase I and phase II work, as well as investigate new market opportunities in veterinary medicine identified and promoted by the investors. In the long term Barati envisions creating a “Fitbit” for the brain and a valuable Alaska company.
Her hard work to create a new company is another example of the impact women founders are having on the Alaska startup community. So far, women-led startups created in the last six years have given investors their best initial returns and prospects for future growth. Her business, along with the conference investment winner Pandere Shoes, are both women-founded businesses. They join other successful startups, such as 60hz, The Boardroom, Bambino’s, Molly Bz, and Heather’s Choice, as a growing innovation sector in Alaska’s economy. Nationally, women founders received less funding compared to the average male founder but made double the revenue. The 2020 Alaska Angel Conference provided another valuable boost to our Alaska women entrepreneurs.