Good Technology: Beacon Angels’ Fleeting Tech Unicorn.

Good Technology: Beacon Angels’ Fleeting Tech Unicorn.

A ‘Unicorn’ is a still private tech company whose market cap is estimated to exceed $1 billion. [1] Recently, there were at least 124 of them.[2] Beacon’s own, Good Technology showed up unicorn number 96 out of 120 on the Fortune Magazine unicorn list last August with a $1.15B estimated valuation.[3] So, it came as somewhat of a let down when Good made the announcement, buttressed by two valuation opinions and an extensive company analysis and mea culpa, that Blackberry was making a strategic acquisition of Good for the somewhat unmagical price of $425MM. My initial disappointment was soon tempered by the realization that, of the five groups of stockholders set to receive this compensation, Beacon fell into one whereby, should the sale be finalized, it will receive high payouts relative to certain other investor groups.

Beacon acquired its ‘Good’ stock in four investment rounds from 2009 through 2012 into Sumooh, Inc., a Massachusetts storage software startup founded by Puneesh Chaudhry, a former EMC employee. Sumooh, which later changed its name to Copiun, addressed the ‘pain point’ that, with e-mail and the influx of large numbers of remotely operated computers into company networks—laptops, Blackberries and the like (remember when ‘Blackberry’ was virtually synonymous with ‘smartphone?’)—much duplicative company data were being stored pointlessly: E-mail ‘strings’ grew fractally through the inclusion of copies of all preceding e-mails, and company documents repeated bulky logo image files endlessly, requiring a huge amounts of extra storage. Sumooh/Copiun pitched the attractively simple proposition that it had already developed, and would sell a service to companies on an enterprise basis, where duplicative files would be stored just once, saving hardware and networking costs.

Although Copiun enjoyed initial success with a few large enterprise sales, the startup marketplace apparently deemed their service more attractive if sold on an OEM basis. Good Technology, which had been in existence since 1996 in several guises, determined to add Copiun’s technology to its mobile device management systems. So, in September 2012 Good bought our little company using a new series of B-2 preferred stock at a valuation for Copiun of $28M, and for Good of $487M—so Good was not yet a unicorn. This represented an average, unrealized IRR, for all of the four Copiun rounds in which Beacon participated, of 4.32X.

Using a modest conversion ratio to even things up for the relative valuations, Good gave Copiun’s preferred stockholders a series of preferred shares with a price per share, and matching liquidation preference of $4.92. Good must have been on a roll then because by inference from the preference size accorded in the preceding round, Good’s prior investors apparently had valued Good at nearly a five times lower pre-money amount.

As it turned out, the price of Good’s sale to Blackberry will fall below Good’s September 2012 valuation when they acquired Copiun. But here’s the thing: Liquidation preferences can be very protective of serious investors putting cash into startup companies in a down round. Furthermore, the issuance of new preferred stock in an acquisition locks in the valuation of the acquisition for the company being acquired. So, apart from the fact that it never really was a tech unicorn, Good’s acquisition of Copiun, as it happened, locked in our own valuation to a certain extent, derisking our investment into Copiun somewhat—even as Beacon acquired a whole new set of risks in Good.

Given that the sale to Blackberry will fall below our liquidation preference net net, Beacon Angels can cry all the way to the bank. If the sale actually goes through and the 15% escrow amount is released in full two years from closing, Beacon will realize a return on its investment of over 3.7X—not bad for an investment in a company whose initial revenues were halting, problematic, and dependent upon a small number of large customers.

-William F. Swiggart, Esq., Manager, Beacon Angels

[1] Aileen Lee, of Cowboy Ventures, popularized the term to mean a tech companies, public and private, started since 2003 via a comprehensive Techcrunch article in November 2013. She listed 37 of them, in existence at the time. By her July 2015 follow up, the list had grown to 84, mostly through valuation increases.

[2]Companies valued at $1 billion or more by venture-capital firms,” Valuations as of October 2015.

[3] “The Unicorn List,” number 96 out of 120.

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Beacon Angels 2014 Meeting Archive

The following were the 2014 Beacon Angels Meetings, listed in reverse chronological order:

Presenters to Beacon’s meeting on November 11th, 2014:

  • Personal Remedies – presents individualized nutrition-focused health apps for chronic conditions and multiple chronic conditions. These enable healthcare providers to improve care and lower costs.
  • Sleep Secure – has developed a smaller and more portable device than the CPAP machine to control snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Secure’s wearable, Bluetooth-enabled sensor pod will be offered to consumers on a subscription basis.
  • Fraen Mechatronics, which, a year ago presented to Beacon a plan to manufacture and sell a patented actuator for turbocharged automobile engines, is returning for an update.

Presenters to Beacon’s meeting on September 9th:

  • Ask Beatrice, a software service that will digitize street-level data points like traffic signs, meters, and business locations. Beatrice’s software can personalize data points for a variety of applications, and
  • Parsagen Diagnostic.

Presenters to Beacon’s meeting on July 8th:

  • Using a combination of software and human instruction, Testive offers a service to help students to prepare for standardized tests.
  • Galaxy Scientific offers portable, high performance, spectroscopic analysis tools that enable scientists to analyze materials qualitatively or quantitatively outside the laboratory at point-of-need.

Presenters for Beacon’s meeting on June 10th:

  • Elucid Bioimaging is a revenue stage company that develops quantitative radiology image analysis software and services. With FY12 revenues having reached seven figures, the company is now developing its vasuCAP software to quantitate atherosclerotic plaque parameters urgently requested by clinicians to change treatment and to provide a marker for drug development. The company has begun sales on a “one-click” basis, and is widening its offering from that base.
  • First Light intends its novel diagnostic products–which have been developed under $11m of grant funding–to be the first to afford all hospitals with rapid, automated testing to prevent deadly hospital infections, with the aim of saving lives and money for hospitals and payers. The company follows a razor-razorblade revenue model that rests on high-margin high-volume consumable sales to hospital clinical microbiology labs and reference labs. Its consumables will be 1/3 the price of today’s best selling rapid tests.

Presenters for Beacon’s Meeting on March 11:

  • Quad Technologies developed QuickGel™, a hydro gel technology that can separate stem cells from human blood more effectively and cost effectively than other current stem cell separation techniques. The market for stem cell technologies was $26.2b in 2011 and is projected to grow to more than $100b by 2018.
  • Amylon is developing a treatment for mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Amylon received a significant grant in 2010 and seeks funding to both finish developing its drug, and begin preclinical studies.

Presenters for Beacon’s meeting on February 11:

  • Splashscore is developing a platform for companies to capture, promote and manage brand advocates on Facebook. Splashscore now has revenue, advocates, and a reach of 72 million Facebook “friends.”
  • TransformOne offers a cloud-based management system that helps customers in the pharmaceutical industry to centralize and manage clinical and operational data from clinical trials into one platform. TransformOne’s platform can shorten trial times by weeks and potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars per trial.

Presenters for Beacon’s Meeting on January 14:

  • Blu-Bin, Inc. will provide brick-and-mortar 3D printing services to retail customers, utilizing a Web platform to receive designs and convert them into a 3D printing format. Customers will then pick up their prototypes at nearby locations.
  • Alden Computer Transport Systems (“ACTS”) is designing an automated platform to collect and deliver passengers to airports, businesses, universities, and hospitals. ACTS is currently in the process of developing a working relationship with Boston’s Logan Airport.
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Beacon Angels 2013 Meeting Archive

Announcing presenters for Beacon’s meeting on December 10, 2013:

  • Etiometry is developing an analytic platform to improve patient care in Intensive Care Units. Utilizing existing technology, Etiometry can provide real-time and actionable data to help healthcare providers improve the efficiency of patient flow.
  • PreApps is an “app” development tool that helps developers solicit feedback and develop market traction even before any public release. PreApps’ current customers include Microsoft and Samsung.

Announcing presenters for Beacon’s meeting on November 12, 2013:

  • Tripzon developed a cloud-based travel management service targeted toward travel industry professionals. Tripzon’s service may reduce industry search time from several days to thirty minutes.
  • Rifinity developed an analytics-based platform to track and optimize office space for enterprises. Rifinity’s platform may increase efficiency and improve employee workflow.

Announcing presenters for Beacon’s meeting on October 8, 2013:

  • Thompson CSI – has developed a device-based solution that would enable physicians to use hypothermia to treat spinal cord injuries. The members of Thompson’s team previously have helped to bring more than ten FDA-compliant spinal products to market.
  • Cellanyx Diagnostics – is developing a diagnostic platform to aid in the detection of epithelial cancers, with prostate cancer as its first implementation. Cellanyx’s approach would supplement the Gleason score to reduce the ambiguity that is inherent in the current prostate cancer detection regime.

Announcing presenters for Beacon’s Meeting on September 10, 2013:

  • Energy Harvesters – created a device that is capable of charging portable electronics from the energy created by walking. Harvesters already has several rounds of prototypes, and strategic relationships with OEM manufacturers.
  • Fraen Mechatronics – is developing a high-performance torque motor that enhances vehicle engine efficiency. With more than a decade of experience in the high-performance motor industry, Fraen’s principals are now focusing their energy on forthcoming environmental regulation, and this engine is a result.

Announcing presenters for Beacon’s meeting on July 9, 2013:

  • MyChoice– has hardware intended to enable users to block potentially offensive commercials that are broadcast during live sporting events. MyChoice offers its solution to families with young children that enjoys watching sports together.
  • Common Sensing– offers a “pen cap” to enable insulin pens to log dose information and wirelessly synchronize the data with mobile devices. Common Sensing’s sytem is intended to provide a data stream to enable healthcare professionals to analyze patients’ treatment efficacy, and to enable more care for insulin users.

Beacon presentations on June 11, 2013, included:

  • Recroup, an early-stage company developing a hiring platform that assists employers to evaluate employment candidates by accessing data from social media.
  • Sabik Medical, a biotechnology startup engineering a powerful new technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of cancers through its proprietary technology.

Beacon Presenters on Tuesday, Jan. 8th, 2013 will be:

  • Collabor, which offers its CLM to help increase customer lifetime value, providing the missing link between CRM and Customer Service to effectively grow existing customers; and
  • Newfield Design, which is seeking growth capital to hire engineers to further develop its Expandable Radio Control System (ERCS), which gives plug-and-play interoperability to Land Mobile Radio networks.
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Beacon Angels 2012 Meeting Archive

Beacon Presenters on Tuesday, Dec. 11th, 2012 were:

  • Vaxess Technologies, which employs a unique, silk based method to preserve vaccines indefinitely at room temperature; and
  • Purpose Energy, which offers a treatment solution on a pallet to derive energy from brewing and other food waste.

Our Presenters Tuesday Nov. 13th, 2012 were:

  • Pragya Systems, a development stage company whose technology will allow instructors and students to simplify and accelerate college course development;
  • Aquabotix, which sells the HydroView,™ a user-controlled underwater inspectional vehicle for the recreational marine, marine construction, public-water suppl, first responder and environmental monitoring markets; and
  • Sialix, which is developing a cancer therapeutic for ovarian, breast, colon and other solid tumors, and an anti-inflammatory nutritional supplement to combat red-meat associated inflammation caused by the incorporation of non-human sialic acids into human tissue.

The presenter at Beacon Angels’ October 9, 2012 meeting was:

  • Grove Street Technologies, which aims to save US households thousands by supplying efficient, combined heat/power systems.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 – 12:33 PM

Beacon has just completed a follow on investment round in its portfolio company, Crimson Hexagon. Watch for its logo in connection with trend analyses on TV, especially CNN, of the upcoming presidential election.

Thursday, September 13, 2012 – 12:16 PM

Beacon Portfolio company Copiun, Inc. is in the process of being acquired lock stock and barrel by pre-IPO VISTO Corporation, d/b/a Good Technology, of Sunnyvale, CA. Copiun’s Marlboro, Mass., headquarters will continue as Good’s east coast office. Some details here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012 – 12:05 PM

Beacon Angels in the news: Slater, others make $525K investment in MoFuse

Mass High Tech

 from Slater Technology Fund, an early-stage fund backed by the state of Rhode Island; Beacon Angels; Angel Street Capital and Cherrystone Angel Group

Friday, July 6, 2012 – 2:47 PM

Beacon Angels participated in a $3MM follow-on investment round in debt convertible to the Series B preferred stock of Avaxia Biologics, of Lexington, Mass., a biotech company that refines easily tolerated therapeutics from colostrum produced by immunized dairy cows.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 – 1:31 PM

Richard Noyes participated in the “speed dating” of 20 or so start-ups in the Betaspring Incubator of Providence, Rhode Island in February 2012. He attended the follow-up “first look” in April to look at the progress of the ventures.

Friday, May 18, 2012 – 1:35 PM

In May 2012, Richard Noyes helped judge an Entrepreneurship course competition at Babson College in which eight teams of MBA students pitched a term project.

Friday, May 18, 2012 – 1:33 PM

Beacon Angels’ Richard Noyes delivered the presentation: “How Much is Too Little or Too Much to Ask For” to start-ups at the Enterprise Center at Salem State College in April 2012.

Friday, May 18, 2012 – 1:31 PM

Beacon Angels’ Richard Noyes served as a judge in the “Piranha Pond Pitch Party”, where start-up companies pitched to angel groups and venture capitalists at the Enterprise Center at Salem State College in February 2012.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 – 9:34 AM

Beacon Angels participated in a $775,000 extension round for SepSensor, Inc. that closed April 20, 2012.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 – 5:26 PM

Beacon Angels’ William F. Swiggart, Daniel Von Kohorn and Norman Meisner participated in the Boston VC and Angel Showcase on April 26, 2012.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 – 12:15 PM

Beacon Angels is currently in due diligence for a follow-on, bridge round financing of Providence-based MoFuse, Inc., a vendor to small and medium sized businesses of Web sites specially sized for mobile phones and smartphones.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 – 12:11 PM

Beacon Angels recently participated in a $4.1MM Series A financing round with start-up company Avaxia Biologics, Inc. along with other angel groups, including Cherrystone Angels, Boston Harbor Angels, Launchpad, North Country, Mass Medical Angels and individual angels.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 – 2:46 PM

Beacon Angels recently closed an extension investment round with Pixability, a company that helps companies manage and display video promotions on the Internet.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 – 10:49 AM

In December 2011, Beacon Angels closed an extension of its original round with portfolio company, Innerpass, Inc., which recently introduced its new file sharing and synchronization service, Groupmix™, which offers users a greatly enhanced ability to create and manage work groups on-line.

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Beacon Angels 2011 News Archive

Friday, September 30, 2011 – 9:46 AM

Beacon Angels is currently participating pro rata to its prior investments in a $1.5M follow-on, Series C investment round in portfolio company, Boston Heart Diagnostics.

Monday, September 12, 2011 – 2:52 PM

In July, Beacon participated pro rata in a $1 million extension of the Series A-1 round in Copiun, Inc.of Copiun, a portfolio company that offers enterprise data storage solutions.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 – 2:14 PM

Angels really did fill the “financing gap” here and elsewhere, and continue to do so. See for details.

Friday, June 17, 2011 – 12:01 PM

Beacon Angels is currently conducting due diligence in InfoBionic, a medical devices company that is creating a single platform and solution for comprehensive remote physiological monitoring with a focus on arrhythmia detection. InfoBionic recently won the Piranha Pond competition hosted by 128 Innovation Capital Group.

Friday, June 17, 2011 – 12:01 PM

Beacon Angels is currently conducting due diligence in Cytosolve, an in-silico drug development company offering a new paradigm for drug development.

Friday, June 17, 2011 – 12:01 PM

Beacon Angels is currently conducting due diligence in Abroad 101, a web site that provides user-generated reviews of study abroad programs for students and universities.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 – 4:14 PM

Beacon Angels is currently conducting due diligence in VoiceFriend, which provides commincations management services to elder communities.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 – 3:21 PM

Beacon Angels congratulates Jean Hammond and other Boston area angels on the successful IPO of Zipcar, Inc. (ZIP on NASDAQ: Out at 18, peaked at 29; holding at 24. Could become the Netflix of car rentals.

Thursday, April 7, 2011 – 2:49 PM

Observations from this week’s national ACA Summit in Cambridge, Mass.:

  • Kendall Sq. is looking terrific as a place to work (in biotech) or go to school (at MIT);
  • Whilst the same ACA member-managers show up every year, it’s the individual investors that add the savor to the ACA soup;
  • Locally based angels go up to the microphone the most;
  • Valley-based angels do the most bragging, regardless of where the conference is held;
  • Midwestern angels express a great deal of pride about their state’s angel scene–when the conference is held in the Midwest;
  • Boston/New England angels are pretty good about neither bragging nor complaining, but we certainly did talk up SmartCells;
  • Canadian angels keep a relatively low profile, unless they’re from Vancouver;
  • The ACA has been around long enough for its members to report on their own favorite exits;
  • Comprehensive, reliable statistics about angels’ successes or lack thereof, are still unavailable;
  • SmartCells’ exit raised the bar for pre-clinical drug exits from $20m to $100m (but not to $500m);
  • If the SmartCells milestones prove to be golden, its Boston angels’ multiples will surpass those of the Valley’s angels without the need for a messy IPO;
  • Some messy, angel backed IPOs certainly would be nice to have in Boston/New England.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 – 4:34 PM

Some of us will be attending the annual Summit of the Angel Capital Association, which will be held in Boston next week, April 4-6, at the Boston Marriot Cambridge. Here is the complete agenda.

Thursday, March 10, 2011 – 2:16 PM

Beacon Members Bill Swiggart, Norm Meisner and Richard Noyes conducted the panel discussion: “Beacon Angels – How We Do What We Do – Stories from the Trenches” before the Rt. 128 Innovation Capital Group at the IBM Innovation Center.

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Beacon Angels 2010 News Archive

Thursday, December 2, 2010 – 8:54 AM

Beacon’s first investment, five years ago, was made in Smartcells, Inc., which invented a form of insulin whose release into the bloodstream is sensitive to the amount of blood sugar in it. Per the company’s original plan, it is being acquired by a major pharma, Merck & Co. All payments but the initial one are subject to milestones: The drug has to actually work; it must be approved by the FDA; and Merck must begin selling the drug, mostly to diabetics. Should these milestones be realized, Beacon’s members will realize IRR’s anywhere from 29x for the first round to 16x for the most recent one.

See for the press release on the aqcuisition.

Cue balloons and confetti.

Monday, November 8, 2010 – 2:46 PM

The November meeting included a presentation from NetBlazr, which delivers basic broadband service to small and medium sized businesses free for basic service, and premium service at low cost. Please see for NetBlazr’s presentation.

Some members will be discussing the terms and conditions of an impending exit, by acquisition, of one of our portfolio companies, which will be Beacon’s second ever. Should this exit come to fruition, it will produce a positive return for the investing members.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 – 4:59 PM

Tomorrow, Beacon Angels will entertain funding proposals from Pixability, which offers a system to enable small businesses to post promotional videos on the Web, and iQuest Analytics, provider of enterprise search, research and discovery software.

Thursday, October 7, 2010 – 5:11 PM

Beacon Angels is in due diligence with Brew1, owner and vendor of a patent protected single serve coffeemaker system, and Castlewood Surgical, which sells a jig to assist heart surgeons to perform bypasses more safely.

We are also in the process of completing a new round of financing for SepSensor, one of our oldest and most promising portfoliio companies.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 – 4:51 PM

To close the loop on my post of last May, thanks in part to Sen. Brown, and Rep. Frank, FinReg as passed, left “accredited investor” at $1 million in assets, and only changed the definition to exclude the value of one’s primary residence. I believe the “bad actor” provision was deleted.

While skipping our August meeting for the second year in a row personally left a hole in my schedule, it about doubled the number of attractive companies to consider this month: Castlewood Surgical is a promising medical device firm headed by none other than Wolfgang Daum, who successfully handed Boston Heart Lab off to Bain Capital and its new CEO just about a month ago, and Brew1, which offers a multi-patented, eco-friendly, single serve coffee brewing solution to offices and commercial establishments.

More info is available to members at:, and

Thursday, May 6, 2010 – 3:51 PM

I’m attending the Angel Capital Association Annual Meeting in San Francicso through May 7th. (Next year, it’ll be close to home, in Boston.) There may be some progress on the Financial “Reform” bill. Proposals are being considered by Dodd’s committee to retain the $1m assets minimum for accredited investor status, but to exclude the value of the investor’s home. Also, a “bad actor” tracking provision would be substituted for bringing all angel investments under the state regulators.

Finally, we should oppose any threat to the current taxation of carried interests as long term capital gain. Changing this would impair investments by angels because: 1) it would discourage VCs’ long term investments such as in medical technology, and 2) it would drive VCs out of an industry that is already shrinking; many would become angel investors. Harming the venture capital industry would clog the pipelines to exit for angels. Furthermore, many angel groups themselves take various forms of carried interessts, either directly or through so-called “sidecar” funds, and harming these would limit the incentives that help maintain a healthy angel investment movement in the United States.

Please keep up the pressure on your senators and congressman to oppose these proposed changes. Thank you.

-Bill Swiggart

Saturday, April 10, 2010 – 3:32 PM

Senator Dodd’s Financial “Reform” Bill would impair angel investing. See for details. Call your senator and ask him to vote against this menace to startups and our innovation economy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 – 4:02 PM

Attend the Angel Capital Association Meeting in San Francisco May 5-7, 2010:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 – 3:34 PM

Deepen your knowledge of angel investing via the Angel Capital Assocication Northeast’s Angel Education Series at Foley Hoag’s Emerging Enterprise Center, 1000 Winter St., Waltham, MA on Monday afternoon, March 29, 2010.

Register at

Thursday, March 4, 2010 – 10:56 AM

Beacon Angels Portfolio Co. SepSensor Nearly Closes on $1.9M – CBL

Monday, February 8, 2010 – 12:02 PM

Investor presentation and info updated for Hy-Syence on Angelsoft to provide Members with:

1) simple overview of technology and solution

2) scaling and commercialization plan.

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