Kirkland startup business owners may find themselves swimming in shark infested waters during the inaugural Kirkland Investor Sharks event on Nov. 4.

A partnership between the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkland Performance Center, the event builds on the foundation of the chamber’s existing Kirkland Startup Weekend, and in many ways echoes the popular ABC television show Shark Tank.

“This year, we thought we would shake things up and take it to the next level by inviting companies formed through our startup weekend — as well as other local startups — to get a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of real investors,” said Samantha St. John, executive director for the chamber.

The investor panel — basically the sharks — includes some big venture capital and angel investor names from the local area, including Gregg Bennett, Haresh Ved, Gregory Brown, and Rick Hennessey.

While the event, which is sponsored by several local organizations including 425 Business,  is a ticketed show that will in some ways resemble Shark Tank, St. John cautions potential audience members that there will be differences as well.

“The concept is similar to the TV show, however, we are not promising that investments will happen, although it could if one of our sharks sees something they are compelled to invest in,” she said. “This is about making connections and helping local startups gain access to investors that they might not normally be able to meet with under normal circumstances.”

Applications are still being accepted from startup companies with tech-based ideas that will bring something innovative to the market. Companies that are interested in participating should contact the chamber.

Kirkland Investor Sharks will be held from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Kirkland Performance Center. Tickets are $35 and include a pre-show reception and access to the live show. VIP packages featuring a private reception, exclusive opportunities to speak with the investors, and a personal swag bag are available for $150. Visit the Kirkland Chamber online for tickets.

 

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