The $230,000 prize for the ninth annual Willamette Angels Conference on Thursday was split between two companies — Hemex Health of Portland, which has created inexpensive, fast and portable tests for malaria and sickle cell anemia, and Diatomix of Beaverton, which developed a photocatalytic method of improving indoor air quality with a wall paint additive.

Hemex Health also won the People’s Choice Award at the conference, which was held at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis.

Peter Galen, Hemex Health chief innovation officer, said the funding was great, but just as critical for his business was the stamp of approval from the conference and how investors connected with his company.

“We’re doing something important in the world, and we can make money,” Galen said.

Affordable treatments are available for malaria and sickle cell anemia, but diagnosing the diseases is the problem in developing countries.

Roughly half of the world’s population is at risk from malaria, and there’s a need for 1 billion tests per year, according to the World Health Organization. Tests currently take 20 minutes or more and aren’t reliable, Galen said.

The Hemex Health test will cost $1, take one minute and be more effective, he added.

In total, $830,000 in awards were announced at the WAC.

Elevate Capital also announced $50,000 investments in both Hemex Health and Heritage Laboratories, another 2017 Angels Conference finalist. Heritage Laboratories is a luxury skincare supplement brand targeting Asian-American women.

The other finalist at the Angels Conference was OpConnect of Portland, which operates a platform-as-a-service that manages electric car chargers.

Business Oregon announced $250,000 loans from its Small Business Expansion Program for Moonshadow Mobile, which won the 2015 edition of the conference, and DulsEngery, an applicant for the conference this year.

Stoney River Sinkers, a lead-free stone fishing weights company out of Yachats, won $3,500 in the speed pitch category.

“It is crazy to be throwing toxic lead weights into our rivers, lakes and oceans,” said Jesse Dolin, an avid angler who created the business.

Dolin started the company for environmental reasons, but found that stone worked better than lead for fishing, partly because fish are spooked by the sound of lead weights bouncing along rocks.

The Willamette Angels Conference is an investment group that connects early stage and seed startups with angel and venture investors.

Applicants receive funding, mentoring and connections to other advisory resources.

Throughout its existence, the Angels Conference has invested more than $3 million in startup businesses.

The 2018 event will be held on May 17 in Eugene.

The conference is produced in partnership by the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce and Oregon RAIN (Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network), as well as the Eugene Area of Commerce and the Corvallis-Benton Economic Development Office.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.