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Keiretsu Forum’s Investor Capital Expo Highlights Resilience & Opportunity in Early-Stage Investing

Cindi Sutera | Published on 10/30/2023

In the wake of six consecutive quarters marked by market correction affecting mid and late-stage investments, 2023 witnessed a notable contraction in Seed and Series A deal activity. Despite this backdrop, the 11th Annual Investor Capital Expo in Philadelphia on October 25, 2023, drew the participation of 200 forward-thinking accredited angel investors attending in person and virtually. Organized by Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and South-East, the event spotlighted 12 dynamic growth-stage companies in search of funding. Astute investors took this prime opportunity to diversify their portfolios and drive innovation in a market on the cusp of returning to its pre-pandemic energy.

Conversation during the keynote and subject matter expert panels touched upon important Securities and Exchange Commission priorities as well as tax, legal, and accounting implications for founders and funders. Keynote, Ron Weissman, Chair of the Angel Capital Association counselled participants that short-term demand for capital exceeds supply but, that this market correction is not a collapse. Based on his analysis, investors are reserving dry powder, and he predicts that most active venture capitalists will come back to late stage deals in Q1 and Q2 2024.

Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and South-East is coming off of three consecutive years of record breaking angel member investments. “In 2023, we can see how the market correction is impacting the early-stage asset class,” says Howard Lubert, Keiretsu Forum Area President.

“As fewer companies are finding an Exit, the impact permeates through all asset classes. Our focus is on building strong deals, mentoring companies, and, together, patiently navigating their journey to important milestones and eventual Exit. Ron (Weissman) reminded us of a Steve Job’s quote “it takes a long time to make a company an overnight success!”

The centerpiece of the Investor Capital Expo is the Most Valued Company award. Honored companies are selected by the investors through voting. The following companies were distinguished:

Most Valued Company

Seneca Therapeutics, Inc
Seneca Therapeutics, a pioneering biotech firm, is at the forefront of innovative cancer research and treatment solutions. Their recent discovery promises to dramatically alter the approach to solid tumor treatments, solidifying their position as a trailblazer in oncology advancements.

Runners Up

Otonexus Medical Technologies
OtoNexus Medical Technologies introduces a groundbreaking ultrasound otoscope that enables pediatricians to instantly and accurately assess middle ear infections without invasive procedures or ultrasound gel. This innovation promises enhanced patient care, improved diagnostic accuracy, and a reduction in unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, addressing both health and societal concerns.

Zirconia is an advanced materials company that focuses on developing engineered surfaces that offer high-performance, long-lasting, eco-friendly, low-cost asset preservation for industry and infrastructure.

Additional Presenting companies: 

Soteria Battery Innovation Group – Soteria’s technology eliminates lithium-ion battery fires caused by damage, abuse or defects.

Humanetics Pharmaceuticals- Humanetics obtained an exclusive license to technology developed by the US Department of Defense for drugs shown to be safe and effective in preventing radiation damage.

DART – DART’s technology provides digital upgrades for physical retail stores helping retailers grow sales by better understanding and communicating with shoppers. Their platform also creates new advertising revenue and data analytics for retailers.

Maxwell Biosciences- Maxwell Biosciences is a biomimetic anti-infective drug discovery platform company that is pioneering world-first “One drug for many bugs” innovations to address the most serious, unmet infectious disease threats.

Hotel Communication Network - The Hotel Communication Network's innovative Hotel Tablet Technology revolutionizes the guest experience by consolidating multiple devices into one interactive tool, enhancing in-room services, and offering revenue-generating opportunities for operators. Guests can now control room features, order services, leave reviews, and connect with local events and advertisers, enhancing both convenience and profitability.

Orion Biotechnology - Orion’s breakthrough drug discovery platform developed a new class of drugs which can effectively target G Protein-Coupled Receptors for the first time, delivering a 5x more efficient drug development process. Orion has a growing drug pipeline of best-in-class drugs to treat cancer and other serious diseases.

7BC Venture Capital - 7BC is an early stage VC focused on technology startups that underpin the digital economy leveraging AI, automation, and data to become high revenue, profitable businesses in large markets with unique technology.

Trace Orthopedics - Trace has achieved repair of certain torn tendons and ligaments to bone without full anesthesia. The product is a novel device that fits into a needle allowing the repair procedure to be performed under image guidance without the operating room.

Relavo - Peritoneal Dialysis is a form of home treatment for kidney failure, offering patients better outcomes and satisfaction but underutilized because of fear of infection. Relavo has a solution.

For more information on upcoming investor meetings and company presentations, contact Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and South-East at