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Twelve Finalist Entrepreneurs Vied for $25,000 and Other Prizes at Angel Network’s Prestigious Competition/Networking Event in March

IRVINE, Calif. – April 13, 2017 – Entrepreneurs and investors converged at the Segerstrom Samueli Theater in Costa Mesa, California on March 8 as Tech Coast Angels’ (TCA) Orange County Chapter hosted its gala event to share in “A Celebration of Entrepreneurship.” Attendees enjoyed networking, entertainment, food and the angel network’s renowned Fast Pitch competition. Twelve entrepreneurs, selected from over 180 applicants, gave a 60-second Fast Pitch in front of judges and an audience, in hopes of garnering the $25,000 investment prize.

All applicants of the Fast Pitch contest attended at least one of the five coaching sessions prior to the competition, provided free of charge by TCA, and were able to craft and develop their very own 60-second pitch.
                  The twelve finalist companies selected for this year’s Fast Pitch, based on their performance in the coaching sessions, were: 

  • AirDrop – a mobile app that helps people get to the airport on time, every time;
  • Boxton – a logistics company that helps save companies 30% international bulk shipping;
  • Convert Coal, Inc. – cleans dirty coal by extracting pollutants and crude oil before it is burned;
  • D&P Bioinnovations – provides off-the-shelf implants to regenerate a damaged esophagus;
  • FunBand Inc. – creator of funLoop, a kid tracker for amusement parks;
  • Librede, Inc. – a synthetic biology company using yeast to produce cannabinoids;
  • Party on Demand – a mobile app that allows users to plan a full party in less than an hour;
  • Syntr Health Technologies – medical device company that uses diabetic patients’ regenerative stem cells to solve foot ulcers;
  • Tot Squad – car seat cleaning and installation for parents, rideshare companies and rental car agencies; and
  • Veriskin, Inc. – medical device company developing a hand-held device for non-invasive skin cancer screening

Attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and champagne upon arrival and while networking; Grant Van Cleve, Tech Coast Angels’ Chapter President, gave the opening speech; and John Harbison, TCA’s Chairman Emeritus, presented “Successes of the Tech Coast Angels Portfolio.”

Then it was time for Don Kasle, TCA Chairman Emeritus, to emcee the competition. Eleven judges (investors, sponsors and industry experts) judged the entrepreneurs. Winners of the Fast Pitch, and prizes received, were:

  • Best Overall: Party on Demand received the $25,000 investment prize and an interview with EyeOnBusiness. Party on Demand is a mobile app that makes planning life’s celebrations simple and easy by allowing its users to order a full party complete with decor, food/drinks, hardware & entertainment in one hour or less. For a video of Party On Demand’s winning Fast Pitch, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmWmBGcHCno&feature=youtu.be.
    “We couldn’t possibly be more honored to win the Audience Favorite and Best Company Overall awards at this amazing event. We believe this honor further validates Party On Demand as the next big idea in the exploding on-demand marketplace. Just as Uber brings transportation to your driveway and DoorDash drops off meals at your doorstep, Party On Demand delivers a full suite of party essentials to the location of your choice to ensure you have the celebration of a lifetime.” – Willie “G.”, CEO of Party On Demand.

  • Best Presentation: FunBand received corporate legal services from Pivotal Law. FunBand Inc. is the maker of a kid tracker called funLoop that is used to help parents keep track of their kids in amusement parks using a proprietary network.
    “Winning Best Presentation at the Tech Coast Angels Fast Pitch Competition has accelerated FunBand’s progress immensely.  This competition is an important platform for startups in Southern California. The preparation and coaching during the competition was invaluable. Following the event, the introductions and exposure our company received have opened important doors and propelled us forward.  We thank Orange County Tech Coast Angels for hosting this opportunity and strongly encourage startups to participate in next year’s competition.” – Rehema Feleke, MD MBA, Co-founder and CEO of FunBand Inc.
  • Most Fundable: Tot Squad received Intellectual Property legal services from Nguyen & Tarbet. The company is disrupting the $10B baby industry by offering car seat cleaning and installation for parents, rideshare companies, and rental car agencies on its quest to become the Geek Squad for baby gear services.
    “The Tech Cost Angels Fast Pitch competition was an amazing experience – it forced me to take my elevator pitch to a new level and I won “Most Fundable”!  The event was a gateway to meeting many potential investors and we are thrilled with the prize – legal services that we are already taking advantage of.  I highly recommend all entrepreneurs take the time to try out, the coaching is invaluable!” – Jennifer Beall Saxton, Founder and CEO, Tot Squad.

  • Party on Demand was also voted as the Audience Favorite award, and received one year of office space and parking by Real Office Centers.
  • A new category for the most diligent and promising entrepreneur, The Angel Wings Award, was given to Immersive Entertainment, Inc., an Irvine-based company that is creating virtual reality experiences through artificial intelligence.

All of the 2017 Fast Pitch winners also received a fast-tracked invitation for a Tech Coast Angels screening.  To learn more about future Tech Coast Angels’ Fast Pitch competitions, or how to apply for 2018’s event, please visit techcoastangelscelebration.com.

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Angel Fund realizes an annual 400% IRR with WeGoLook; acknowledges the “wisdom of the crowd” in angel networks

IRVINE, Calif. – February 16, 2017 – Tech Coast Angels’ (TCA) ACE Fund II recently announced a very successful exit that was unique in three ways: the time to exit was very short (two years); the exit had a very high return (7.8x); and the company was based in the heart of flyover country:  Oklahoma.

The West Coast and the East Coast US are known around the world as ecosystems for innovators:  entrepreneurs, incubators, and unicorns abound–from Seattle to San Diego, from Boston to Boca Raton. Both coasts are where a disproportionate amount of risk capital–such as angel and pre-seed investing—goes into small businesses and startups.

But landlocked, flyover states also have terrific small businesses very worthy of private investment. Great companies and great deals can be found anywhere, say Dave Berkus and Raymond Chan, active investors in TCA’s ACE Fund.

Berkus, superangel and author, met with the founders of WeGoLook when he was in Oklahoma to deliver a keynote speech to over 400 entrepreneurs at the invitation of the Oklahoma Angels and Oklahoma’s venture fund, I2e.  He was asked by the venture fund to review five companies, and within ten minutes of his meeting with WeGoLook’s founders, he said, “I want to invest.” The founders told him they were already fully invested and had closed the round.

But they were willing to listen, and by the end of the day, WeGoLook’s founders liked what they heard from Berkus, and re-opened the round to accept another $100,000 investment from Tech Coast Angels’ ACE Fund II. Within a year, the angel network had more than doubled its investment in the company.

WeGoLook is a platform or value exchange that connects individuals and companies with on-demand investigators or “lookers” to inspect or verify conditions in remote or inconvenient locations. Some examples are property inspections, auction item verifications and notary services.  One major insurance company now uses WeGoLook’s agents for accidents in areas far from a claims department.

Because investment opportunities between the east and west coasts are more rare and not inflated, WeGoLook had a very low pre-money valuation. In just over two years, the company was sold for over $42.5 million, and TCA’s ACE Fund II members received a 7.8x return on their over $200,000 investment.

“WeGoLook’s platform struck me as being so different and on target,” said Berkus. “The attraction was so obvious; undervalued and yet very attractive. On the West Coast, this kind of deal would have been prevalued so much higher, and the exit would have taken so much longer.”

Chan, managing partner of TCA’s ACE Fund I, II and III agrees. “It is all too common on the two coasts, due to pressure and expectations for every startup to be the next ‘unicorn,’ for both a company and its investors to hold out for a longer time to offset a higher purchase price. Entrepreneurs and private investors in flyover states don’t have the need—or the huge pressure—to have to hit a home run every time; they are satisfied with a base hit. And that means quicker exits for angel investors.”

“Although one of our tenets in the ACE Fund is that we prefer deals that are quick to return, WeGoLook is very rare,” continued Berkus. “Most angel investments take years. Seven years is what’s considered an average amount of time to achieve liquidity. WeGoLook had an extremely successful exit in an extremely short period of time – just over two years.”

“Becoming a member of an angel network helps an angel do the things you might not be able to do on your own,” concluded Chan. “There truly is a wisdom in the crowd. Our members have expertise in so many fields and therefore, as a whole, our group can seek better opportunities—from syndicated deals with other angel networks and shared due diligence to expanding reach and discovering a great startup in a flyover state.”

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