HBS Alumni Angels syndicates selected deals across the full global membership of its 14 chapters. This enables selected deals from one chapter to reach a global network of accredited investor alumni. This is a unique benefit of being a member in a local HBS Alumni Angel chapter. Investment decisions are made and executed individually following a global webinar. Once investments are made, investors often assist companies in other areas as formal or informal advisers. For details on how the process works, please scroll down.


Beckon Ice Cream

December 2, 2020 I 8am PST, 11 am EST, 4pm London, 5pm Continental Europe
Presenters: Gwen Burlingame & Katy Flannery, Co-Founders of Beckon Ice Cream and
John Reichenbach, MBA'86, HBS Angels Boston
About this event:
On behalf of the Boston chapter, we would like to share the following investment opportunity:


Beckon makes the first and only premium lactose-free dairy ice cream. Instead of dairy alternatives, the lactase enzyme is added to make the dairy ingredients lactose-free. With 25% of the US population being lactose intolerant (3x the gluten intolerant population) and lactose-free fluid dairy growing 11% year over year, Beckon’s brand vision is to become the leader in premium, lactose-free dairy desserts.  Beckon is distributed by top distributors, UNFI, KeHe and DPI, to 1600 stores including chain-wide in Whole Foods Market and Sprouts, as well as other regional retailers.  

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, “Premium” ice cream has low overrun (meaning a small amount of air and a dense texture) and higher fat content, and generally contains higher quality ingredients. Premium Ice Cream is a growing portion of the $13.6B take home US ice cream market and there is a whitespace for a premium, lactose-free dairy ice cream.  Beckon is uniquely positioned to increase frequency and occasion of the lactose-free segment, as well as bring new consumers into the freezer aisle.  Additionally, Beckon is a “Clean Label” ice cream made without the gums, additives and stabilizers found in most frozen desserts today.  Beckon’s taste, texture and clean label provides advantage over non-dairy alternatives.

Beckon was issued US patent 10,785,994 on September 29, 2020. The patent covers lactose-free ice cream compositions, and methods for making lactose-free dairy-based ice cream. Beckon’s patent discloses “an ice cream base formulation that is substantially free of lactose, yet possesses a taste, flavor, texture, and/or mouth feel comparable to that of lactose-containing premium ice cream.” Beckon Ice Cream can be consumed by lactose-intolerant individuals without causing discomfort or illness, as the components of the formulation are treated to inactivate or remove the lactose by breaking it into its monosaccharide components.

Beckon launched its product in June 2018, and achieved 2018 sales of $130K. Whole Foods Market introduced Beckon Ice Cream nationwide in 2019, and Beckon sales increased to $549K. Sprouts launched chainwide in April 2020, and 2020 Beckon sales are projected at $1.2MM. Beckon increased average SKUs per door from 3 to 4.5 nationwide and doubled velocity in key distribution.  Beckon projects $5MM in sales in 2021, and $13.5MM in 2020, by expanding into conventional grocery channels and the $6.4B novelty market.  Beckon is focusing on expanding distribution into more progressive and conventional channels for next year.  To date, Beckon has met with Publix, Hannaford’s, Harris Teeter and HyVee.  Additionally, Whole Foods Market is launching an exclusive novelty line of 3 SKUs, merchandised 2 ways, for launch Nationwide in April 2021.  

Beckon was founded by Gwen Burlingame and Katy Flannery. Gwen Burlingame comes from a brand marketing and business development career at L'Oréal USA. Katy Flannery is the creator of Beckon’s recipes and was previously a registered nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as a graduate of the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course. Beckon is a certified Women-Owned Business. Advisors include John Leahy, Former President, KIND; Dan Kruk, Former Senior VP of Finance, Kind; Nicole Ledoux, CEO, 88 Acres; Rob Dalton, President, 88 Acres.

Proposed Deal
Beckon is raising a $2,000,000 Preferred Equity Seed Round.  The Pre-Money is $8.2M, including $1,777,500 in Convertible Debt + Interest & Discount, for an Effective Pre-Money of $5.6M.  Terms include an 8% Cumulative Dividend and estimated share price of $0.54.

Beckon currently has $1,200,000 committed on the round from Robin Hood Ventures, New York Angels, HBS Angels of Boston, Spacestation VC and industry individuals.  The team is currently doing a first close on the committed capital.  Beckon is in due diligence with Golden Seeds and Gather Venture Group.


Co-Founder Beckon Ice Cream

Gwen Burlingame is Co-Founder of Beckon, the first and only premium, lactose-free dairy ice cream on the market.  Originally from Springfield, VA, Gwen is a graduate of Villanova University, where she studied Marketing and International Business.  Prior to co-founding Beckon, Gwen held roles at L’Oreal USA in e-commerce and digital strategy for Luxe Division, International Business development for Kiehl’s Since 1851 and Global Brand Marketing, also at Kiehl’s, managing the Lip and Sun product portfolios. Gwen leads Marketing and Brand Strategy for Beckon.


Co-Founder Beckon Ice Cream

Katy Flannery is Co-Founder of Beckon, the first and only premium, lactose-free dairy ice cream on the market.  Originally from North Attleboro, MA, Katy is a graduate of Villanova University, where she studied Nursing.  Katy was previously an RN in the Pediatric ICU at Boston Children’s Hospital.  It was her food journey and lactose intolerance that inspired Beckon and she is also a graduate of the famous Penn State Ice Cream Course.  Katy leads Sales and Operations for Beckon.

Wave Drowning Detection Systems

December 9, 2020 I 8am PST, 11 am EST, 4pm London, 5pm Continental Europe
Presenters: Mark Caron & Dave Cutler, Co-Founders of Wave Drowning Detection Systems and
Don Samuels, MBA'08, HBS Angels NY
About this event:
On behalf of the NY chapter, we would like to share the following investment opportunity:
WAVE is a ready-to-use drowning detection system that uses real-time tracking to determine if a swimmer is at risk of drowning, immediately alerting guards so they can intervene if needed.

After witnessing the devastating impact of drownings on their communities, and researching how difficult it is for lifeguards and parents to detect drowning (88% occur under adult supervision), the Co-Founders of WAVE set out to apply their 50+ years of technology and startup experience, including 12 years in aquatic safety technology, to develop a solution.

Existing drowning detection systems were too expensive, too difficult to install and only worked in a narrow range of use cases. As a result, deployments were limited and the number of drownings in the US stayed constant as the #2 leading cause of accidental death among children. Almost 1,000 children and 3,000 adults drown each year in the US, while over 10,000 more are hospitalized, often resulting in permanent brain or lung injury.

WAVE set out to harness the exponential gains in wireless technology performance and affordability, and working with a highly experienced team of Engineers WAVE developed a patent-pending solution that measures how long swimmers are underwater and provides alerts when needed. Launched in early 2020 at a breakthrough price point, the system works across all aquatic environments and is portable so requires no installation. Its affordability, simplicity and reliability enable widespread adoption.

With the goal of proving out the technology in the demanding commercial pool market, WAVE was quickly embraced by Aquatics Directors and water safety experts. Its high accuracy and reliability in measuring facial submersion quickly made it the gold standard of drowning detection systems.

Utilizing wearables that are so light and comfortable that 97+% of swimmers forget they’re wearing one, the commercial deployments were a tremendous success with swimmers, lifeguards and parents. As one early customer put it, “I don’t understand why every pool wouldn’t have a system like WAVE.”  

WAVE adapted to the pandemic lockdown by accelerating its expansion into the home pool market with its new “w20” system. Working with public/private drowning prevention coalitions in Florida (and soon nationwide), WAVE is creating consumer awareness through “Buy one, Give one” type campaigns in which every consumer purchase of a w20 home system generates credits for local community pools to purchase a WAVE commercial system. To reach early adopters of the w20, WAVE is working with companies currently serving home pool owners, such as pool builders, pool service companies, swim instructors and others.

2021 promises to be a breakout year, as the commercial market rebounds, WAVE expands overseas with distributors in Europe, the Middle East and Australia, and WAVE introduces a lower-cost, mass-market consumer product.

With 10 million home pools and 300,000 commercial pools in the US alone, WAVE is pursuing an $11B global market opportunity.

The WAVE business model is compelling due to low cost of acquisition via partners, 60% margins on system sale/lease and 70% margins on ongoing monitoring and content services. Establishing itself as the leader of a market at the intersection of the Smart Home, Security, Sports Tech and Aquatics industries, WAVE will have attractive exit opportunities for investors.

WAVE’s vision is that swimming without a system like WAVE will be as rare as driving without a seatbelt or cycling or skiing without a helmet.



Co-Founder & CEO, Wave Drowning Detection Systems

Mark has a proven track record in successfully identifying new product/service opportunities in dynamic markets, building world-class teams, leading sales, marketing and product strategy, securing strategic partners and lead customers, and executing M&A transactions.

One of four co-founders that led Omnipoint spin-off from $0 to $500 mil in revenue in under 5 years.

Mark later founded MobileSpring, raising $11M to becoming the market leader, and establishing a business that went on to generate $100M/year in free cash flow for its subsequent owners.



Co-Founder & CPO, Drowning Detection Systems

Dave is an award-winning Connecticut-based inventor, entrepreneur, designer & illustrator. His invention, iSwimband®, won best new product at the 2014 Int’l Pool Spa Patio Expo, the year it was first launched.

Dave has been involved in the use of technology to prevent drowning for over a decade, starting when his daughter's classmate drowned despite several lifeguards and camp counselors watching over swimmers that day. In 2014 Dave received a Community Lifesaver Award from the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.

Dave has overseen all areas of company building including product design & development, manufacturing, marketing, design and branding. He has been interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’ This Morning Show, NPR, Philadelphia’s TODAY Show, and others regarding his products.



20200826 New View logo


20200811 BrightSpec Logo




Cargo Chief


Health Hero





Tire Agent



Use arrows on the side to navigate


A company must meet a threshold of member investment in one of our HBS Alumni Angel Chapters listed here. The leadership of the host chapter nominates the company for global syndication and provides a local member contact to act as syndication lead and a company contact.


Ideally, for global syndication a company should meet the following requirements:

  • Local host chapter members committed to invest at least $50,000* and local chapter forwards deal to global for syndication; 

  • Company assures at least $50,000-100,000 investible capacity;

  • Company provides at least 2 weeks for due diligence following the webinar, prior to requiring an investment decision;

  • Minimum individual investment amount is set at $25,000 or less;

The Global Syndication Committee selects the most suitable company candidates from the 15 participating HBSAA chapters and is aiming to host monthly webinars. 

*NY and other larger chapters may have a $100,000 min.

HBS Alumni Angels Association
© Copyright HBS Alumni Angels Association

  • Instagram
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
20200826 New View logo