WASHINGTON, March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With the largest gathering of angel investors from around the world present, the Angel Capital Association (ACA), the world's leading professional association for angel investors, recognized at its 2014 Summit two extraordinary examples fueling entrepreneurship and the economy. On March 27, 2014, ACA named multi-talented angel investor Jean Hammond the 2014 winner of the Hans Severiens Award and standout startup EyeVerify of Kansas City, Kan., the 2014 winner of the Luis Villalobos Award for innovation.
"These two award winners are stellar," said ACA Executive Director Marianne Hudson. "Jean Hammond has been one of the most active angels in New England for many years and has had a huge impact on startups and the angel community. She shares her time and expertise very unselfishly. EyeVerify and CEO Toby Rush truly represent ingenuity and innovation with their 'Eyeprint Verification' technology. They have won international claim and are becoming a force with global businesses and their customers."
The Hans Severiens Award, established in 2005, each year honors one individual whose actions advance the role of angel investing, expanding entrepreneurship, and those whose accomplishments shape and benefit the angel investment industry as a whole. It is named after Dr. Hans Severiens, a founder of the angel investment movement and Band of Angels of Menlo Park, Calif., who also helped found the Angel Capital Association. The award is given annually by ACA and the Angel Resource Institute.
Hammond earns this year's award for her highly successful serial entrepreneurship, prolific angel investing, and dedicated mentorship of both entrepreneurs and new angel investors. She has served as CEO at Quarry Technologies, is a founder of AXON Networks, interim CEO of Jam Technologies, and co-founder for LearnLaunchX, Boston's ed tech accelerator.
"Jean has made significant contributions to the New England angel ecosystem for more than 15 years - as an investor, advisor, mentor and board member," said David Verrill, chairman of the ACA board. "Jean is a successful entrepreneur who has dedicated herself to giving back to that community. Nobody has done more for women entrepreneurs and women angels than Jean Hammond."
Well-known nationally for her experience, expertise and success, Hammond has made about 140 angel investments. She helped found the Boston chapter of GoldenSeeds and is a member of Hub Angels Investment Group and LaunchPad Venture Group.
Recently Hammond served an Entrepreneur in Residence at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where dozens of entrepreneurship students took advantage of her counsel, network, and capital.
Hammond said she has received as much knowledge and pleasure by participating as an angel investor as the startups that have benefitted from her support. "Every day, I get to meet exciting new companies with new ideas in new industries," Hammond said. "I learn from them and the other investors in the room. It's really great to work with really smart peers. I have fun, fun, fun doing this."
Great angel investors are always seeking inventive startups to invest in and the Luis Villalobos Award recognizes the most ingenious and innovative idea recently financed by any of the 220 ACA member angel groups across the country. The award is named in honor of Mr. Villalobos, the founder of Tech Coast Angels in Southern California, and a true "leading light" in the angel field and is awarded to companies funded by ACA members.
Funded by Mid America Angels, Nebraska Angels, Think Big Ventures and other investors, EyeVerify is reimagining password security with software that uses a mobile phone to photograph blood vessels found in the whites of an individual's eye and uses this image as a security key instead of a password.
"As the world moves more digital we have to have a way to provide a confidence that the people we interact with are who they say they are," said Toby Rush, EyeVerify CEO. "If we don't have that trust, the digital world itself is limited. I could give you my password right now and you could log in, but you're not me. Biometrics are the only thing that guarantee you are me."
EyeVerify has raised $3.8 million since January 2012 and is close to securing another round of funding with strategic partners.
"Any time you are honored and recognized for a lot of the hard day-to-day work, it's a great feeling and recognition for the team and the progress made," Rush said about winning this award.
Winners of the Innovation Showcase, featuring 45 startups that presented their innovations and new products to Summit attendees in categories of Cleantech/Consumer, Life Sciences, and Internet/IT were:
- 7AC Technologies, high efficiency air conditioning company out of Beverly, MA
- Carmell Therapeutics Corp., therapeutic products made from blood plasma out of Pittsburgh, PA
- Longevity Biotech, Inc., disease modifying therapeutics out of Philadelphia, PA
About Angel Capital Association
The Angel Capital Association is the leading professional and trade association focused on fueling the success of accredited angel investors and portfolio companies in high-growth, early-stage ventures. ACA is the voice of the angel industry, providing comprehensive services in support of members working in angel groups, through portals and individually. ACA provides professional development, public policy advocacy and significant benefits and resources to its membership of 220 angel groups and more than 12,000 individual accredited investors. www.angelcapitalassociation.org; @ACAAngelCapital.
ACA is closely aligned with the Angel Resource Institute (ARI), a charitable organization devoted to increasing the effectiveness and availability of financial and mentor capital to entrepreneurs. ARI provides education, training, data, and information on best practices related to the earliest stages of angel investing and new venture development. www.angelresourceinstitute.org.
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