John G. Watson Quick Pitch Competition Awards $75,000 to Three Savvy Entrepreneurs

Tech Coast Angels, San Diego Venture Group and Cox Business co-sponsored the exciting annual event,
which brought record funding and crowds to Qualcomm Hall

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – October 30, 2018– Three impressive startups won $75,000 in prizes at the John G. Watson Quick Pitch Competition, held on October 24, 2018 at Qualcomm Hall.  The winners, Neuralace Medical, Yembo, and Lynx Biosciences were selected from ten finalists, who had been earlier chosen out of a field of 280 applications. The event was presented by Tech Coast Angels – San Diego (TCA-SD), San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) and Cox Business (Cox).

“One of Tech Coast Angel’s primary objectives in doing this event each year is to engage the startup and investor community on multiple levels, and clearly the partnership with SDVG and Cox Business this year was instrumental in achieving this, said Victoria Lakers, SD-TCA Quick Pitch chair. “The power of TCA, SDVG and Cox Business coming together with a shared goal can be seen in the number of event records set this year; amount of money awarded, number of company applicants and the high quality of finalist companies, and the first time the event sold out.  We also credit Cox with taking the production quality of the event to the next level.”

The first-place winner, Neuralace Medical, went home with $50,000.  The San Diego-based company provides a non-opioid medical device for pain management. Its CEO and founder, Shiv Shukla, said, “TCA and SDVG provided overwhelming support & encouragement through the coaches & staff during the Quick Pitch preparation process. I want to give a special shout out to all my coaches who tirelessly listened to countless iterations of my pitch and were not afraid to be brutally honest with me. This was my first time pitching to such a large audience and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity!”

Second-place Yembo also won the event’s audience favorite award to capture a total $20,000 in prize money.  Yembo, also from San Diego, builds AI computer vision technology to provide an inventory for professional moving services. Its founder and CEO, Siddharth Mohan, said “I had a rush of excitement when I walked on to the stage. It felt amazing presenting to a sold-out audience. I was very thrilled to win the audience award. Thank you to the entire Quick Pitch team for guiding us every step along the way.”

The third-place prize of $5,000 went toLynxBio, another San Diego company developing precision diagnostic cancer therapies. Its founder and CEO, Dr. Chorom Pak, said “Quick Pitch was a great experience for us! A two-minute pitch is always a challenge! All of the finalists did a fantastic job, and I had a great time seeing old faces and getting to know new entrepreneurs. There really was a wonderful sense of camaraderie among the finalists throughout the event.”

But there were far more winners than the three top places at the event, as the evening allowed for finalists to present to the investment community and network with other entrepreneurs and influencers in San Diego.  According to Mike Krenn, president of SDVG, “It’s pretty cool when a CEO of a start-up that wasn’t even one of the ten finalists emails you and says they got a customer and a potential investor at the event. That’s a big part of why we do this.”   

“I remember a few years back, when VCs would tell us there’s no ‘community’ in San Diego ‘like LA’,” continued Krenn. “They’re not saying that anymore. It’s so fantastic to see this community come together – in big numbers with such quality, and so enthusiastically.  And we’re only just getting started!  Phase Two coming in 2019!”

Jared Ruth, director of product & marketing, Cox Business, added why he felt Quick Pitch 2018 was so successful. “This year’s event was a showcase for San Diego’s startup community to highlight companies tackling big problems with equally large opportunities,” Ruth said. “The alliance with San Diego Venture Group and Tech Coast Angels made so much sense for us because all three organizations are focused on supporting the community and economic development in the region. The opportunity to combine efforts, work with two great organizations and make a bigger impact for startups meshed perfectly with our mission.”

To learn more about, or to apply for future Tech Coast Angels’ coaching and pitching events in San Diego, please contact Ashok Kamal, executive director of TCA-SD: ashok@techcoastangels.com.