Skip to main content

Idaho Companies and Interns Experience Utah Investing Conference

— by John Williamson, director of the COBE Funding Accelerator

COBE Funding Accelerator interns at the SLC investors choice conference
Investor Liaisons (COBE Funding Accelerator interns)

Idaho Companies Shine

The 2020 Investors Choice Conference in Salt Lake City was great for Idaho entrepreneurs. Ten of the 20 presenting companies were from the Gem State and all made a splash at the nation’s longest-running investors conference. On a regional basis, early-stage entrepreneurs who present at Investors Choice have a high probability of raising investment capital. Nearly 70 percent of these firms will find success in 12 to 18 months. More impressive is that 80 percent of firms who raise money stand the test of time and become sustainable enterprises that deliver years of economic impact on an economy. Through these successful raises, these firms will grow and expand, add jobs, and take to market exciting technologies that will change the world.

While feedback is still early,  all of the companies made at least one meaningful connection, others received requests for NDAs, some even initial indications of investment interest. It was a privilege to help the next generation of Idaho companies that will drive Idaho’s future economy. Thank you to all of these innovative entrepreneurs for taking this risk, pursuing your dream, and building opportunities for the future.

Investor Liaisons (Interns)

The conference gives the COBE Funding Accelerator an opportunity for participating interns (investor liaisons) of the program from Boise State to travel with the companies they had been supporting throughout the last year and see them pitch at this pinnacle event. In all, 9 of the 17 participating interns from 2019-2020 attended the conference. It was a tremendous opportunity for the interns to meet investors, interns from other universities, and to be part of the activities designed to help innovators raise investment capital.


Another critical factor in the success of these companies are the mentors of the Cooperative Venturing Network who prepared them for this event. Recently the IBR published an article by Norris Krueger, Ph.D., on what metrics define an ecosystem. The biggest lever he identified was connectivity. Each of these amazing entrepreneurs had the opportunity to work with many very talented mentors (Krueger for one) who donate countless hours of time to help sustain an environment where entrepreneurial innovators can succeed. For all of the mentors of the Cooperative Venturing Network of and for the student interns who assisted these teams I say, “Thank you and be VERY PROUD” – you are helping these entrepreneurs change the world and Idaho for the better.

The Ten Idaho Companies:

Washie Toilet Seats

Rob Poleki

Think technology and toilet seats don’t mix? Pocatello based entrepreneur Rob Poleki of Washie Toilet Seats showed investors at the 2020 Investors Choice Conference in SLC why they should be excited about the potential of his exciting new venture. Washie will provide commercial businesses with a revolutionary solution to the public restroom experience—a self-cleaning smart toilet seat that is gaining serious traction with some of the largest airports and convenience stores in the world.


  • Tom Lund, Tanner LLC
  • Ryan Flynn, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Sam Bernards, Reviate
  • Kendell Gracey, Rent Dynamics
  • Lanny Michael, Cayuse Advisors
  • Jeff Erikson, Carta
  • Derek Athey, Perkins Coie
  • Tim Hayes, Cambric Group

Joule Case

James Wagoner

Joule Case founder and CEO James Wagoner showed exactly why investors should be excited about clean, stackable, portable power. Following his presentation at the conference would-be investors lined up to learn more about this exciting Idaho based company. Joule Case will definitely be one to watch for Idaho.


  • Joseph Bonocore, Bonocore Technology Partners, LLC
  • Adam Grow, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Meg Carlson, Uproar
  • Jeff Nelsen, Applied Apps
  • Greg Keller, G Keller Group
  • Jerry Bregg, BDO
  • Matt Warnock, RidgeCrest Herbals

Free to Feed

Trilli Paullin

Boise biotech entrepreneur and founder of Free to Feed, Trillitye Paullin, Ph.D., wowed at the 2020 Investors Choice Conference. The technology being developed by Paullin will enable nursing mothers to detect food proteins in breast milk and enable mothers to avoid potential allergies and food sensitivities that could affect their children.


  • John Williamson, COBE Funding Accelerator
  • Hannah Sturtevant, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • David Hadley, Intermountain Ventures
  • Timmy Chou, Spectra Consulting Group
  • Nick Dragon, Pathology Watch
  • Kathy Eckel, Hen House Ventures
  • Tom Hardison, Generative Leadership Group, LLC
  • Leslie Kelly Hall

Slant 3D

gabe bentz

Founder and CEO Gabe Bentz showed investors why his company Slant 3D is the better option for millions of companies in the manufacturing industry. Injection molding is an expensive proposition for companies large and small keeping many product opportunities from the market. The team at Slant has developed a scalable 3D printing farm that solves this problem for a massive industry and investors took notice at the conference.


  • Norris Krueger, Academy of Management
  • Ryan Flynn, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Kevin Deguise,
  • William Biddle, BASA Consulting
  • Chris Badger, NOW CFO
  • Tim Hayes, Cambric Group
  • Pete Malen, Workman Nydegger


Alexis Rankin

Chillow founder and CEO Alexis Rankin showed investors at the Investors Choice 2020 that she and co-founder Stephen Rankin have created the solution to a major problem that is facing millions of people around the world who currently have a roommate. For those in shared living environments, primarily between the ages of 18-33 who depend on a friend to live with, or even decide to look outside their personal connections; this is a big decision with a lot of risks. Chillow offers renters an app that allows existing and former roommates to review, rank and endorse those they feel were a good roommate based on a variety of carefully planned design factors. Chillow helps renters connect with safe, reliable, trustworthy and proven people to share your living environment with.


  • Hilary Hall, Leavitt Equity Partners
  • Hannah Sturtevant, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Tom Hardison, Generative Leadership Group, LLC
  • Steve Grizzell, InnoVenutres
  • Srinivas Adavikolanu, UEC Group
  • Chris Anderson, Durham Jones and Pinegar

Ramper Innovations

Boise based entrepreneur and founder of Ramper Innovations, Tim Fulton found a real problem during his career in working with airline baggage industry—for baggage handlers technology stops at the airplane door. Workers must crawl down narrow spaces moving heavy pieces of luggage every time a plane lands and takes off. Tim has created a phenomenal new technology—a durable lightweight conveyor system that goes into the aircraft belly and mechanically moves baggage and cargo, eliminating the need for workers to throw heavy baggage. Workers can quickly and easily load and offload the aircraft. Fulton’s innovation will ensure that passengers will see less wait times at the carousel and more on-time departures. It will also greatly reduce injury to a major segment of airline workers, while saving the airlines money.


  • Andres Lazarte, Basis Internal Medicine
  • Clayton Courtney, Investor Liaison (University of Utah)
  • Bonnie Warren, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Matt McKinlay, Advanced CFO
  • Paul Judge, Idaho Capital Ventures
  • Srinivas Adavikolanu, UEC Group
  • Chris Badger, Now CFO

Terroir AI

Phil Rowe

Idaho based Terroir AI presented at the 2020 Investors Choice Conference in SLC. Founder Phil Rowe (a COBE Professional MBA student) excited the crowd by demonstrating the potential of their hardware-based system to provide much stronger analytics on crop yield estimates for grape growers. This new technology has the potential to enable agricultural producers far greater accuracy in estimating potential output and in doing so improve their operating efficiencies. The wine industry is just the start for this exciting new company.


  • Brad Bertoch,
  • Megan Winter, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Bonnie Warren, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Rick Mandahl, Mandahl Associates LLC
  • Mike Keene, Westminster College
  • Franci Eisenberg, Professional Recruiters
  • Jon Du Pre, Snapp Conner PR
  • Mike Sears, SLC Angels
  • Todd Gordon, CBIZ MHM

Jungo LLC

ted douglass
Ted Douglass

Each year millions of young aspiring athletes play club and high school soccer and ultimately compete for a collegiate scholarship. Despite millions of dollars spent each year on player development and recruiting, incredibly scholarships go unfulfilled because of the system’s inability to effectively match the right player to the right school. Jungo founders Ted Douglass (CEO) and Michael Mollay (CMO) along with Josh Boyd (COO) have developed an exciting new app that connects the players, coaches, and recruiters and helps these aspiring athletes find level-appropriate schools and assist in their development to win these scholarships. This company is a great example of a technology platform that will drive return for investors, but it helps competitive athletes and their parents realize the process associated with college scholarships.


  • Brenner Adams, Med USA
  • Peter Johnson, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Brandon Dinger, Investor Liaison (University of Utah)
  • Ryan Whitlock, Title Holdings
  • Sam Bernard, Reviate
  • Matt Mckinlay, Advanced CFO
  • Meg Krivanec, Stoel Rives LLP
  • Randy Favero, Silver Park Group
  • Norris Krueger, Academy of Management


Monte Keleher

New Idaho entrepreneur Monte Keleher and founder of Fitted made a big splash at the 2020 Investors Choice Conference in Salt Lake City. Monte saw a problem as a specialty retailer—once a customer leaves your store you lose much of the history of that transaction. To solve the problem Monte and his co-founders developed a new computer application that provides endless brand inventory to the retailer, allows the retailer to maintain the client experience of the sale for future interactions, and share this data with manufacturers. As a result, this upstart company in less than 10 weeks has gained retail store customers from coast to coast and signed nine of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers including Nike as clients. Investors won’t be the only ones interested in seeing what Fitted and this exciting team do in the near future.


  • John Williamson, COBE Funding Accelerator
  • Ryan Flynn, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Peter Callister,
  • Norris Krueger, Academy of Management
  • Paul Judge, Idaho Capital Ventures
  • Leslie Kelley Hall,
  • Lynn Butterfield, Coldwell Banker

Pitch Aeronautics

David Bennett
David Bennett

Boise Pitch Aero was on the move at Investors Choice 2020 in Salt Lake City. CEO David Bennett and founder and CTO Zach Adams impressed investors with a revolutionary new technology that enables drones to conduct touch-based industrial inspections. Bennett and Adams had a busy afternoon fielding questions and interest from investors and even received a non-disclosure letter from an interested party before the end of the conference.


  • Gayle Knepper, The Strategy Biz, Inc.
  • Brad Berrett, Investor Liaison (Boise State University)
  • Norris Krueger, Academy of Management
  • Amanda Barrett-Brough, Squire
  • Paul Judge, Idaho Capital Ventures
  • Srinivas Adavikolanu, UEC Group
  • Chris Badger, Now CFO