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Three San Diego Startups Awarded $50,000 Cash from 10th Annual Quick Pitch Competition

Co-hosts San Diego Venture Group and Tech Coast Angels award funds to
startups Ocella, Aqua Design Innovations, and Trust & Will

San Diego, CA – October 5, 2017 – The San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) and Tech Coast Angels (TCA) announced the winners of the John G. Watson 10th Annual Quick Pitch Competition tonight. Ocella, a flexible battery application startup, took home $30,000, receiving the most votes from the audience of over five hundred. Micro greenhouse-maker Aqua Design Innovations received $15,000, and online will creator, Trust & Will, won $5,000.

Ten finalist startups gave two minute pitches to a panel of eight judges who offered feedback and comments in front of a live audience. The cash prizes were funded by several sponsors and TCA. “It was a great evening – another successful step forward for the San Diego startup community.  It was fantastic to see so many young entrepreneurs in attendance.  And so many appreciative leaders there – enthusiastically endorsing the notion of two groups like TCA and SDVG working together – for the betterment of the community.” said Mike Krenn, President of SDVG.

This year marks the first time TCA and SDVG co-hosted a pitch competition. Sergio Gurrieri, President & ACE Fund Manager, Tech Coast Angels – San Diego, said, “This year’s collaboration between TCA and SDVG proved that there is strength in numbers and our community is coming together for our mutual benefit.”

This year’s judges included Rory Moore, founder of Evonexus; Quinn Li, Managing Director of Qualcomm Ventures; Kim Kamdar, Partner at Domain Associates, David Coats, Managing Director at Correlation Ventures, Allison Long, Founding Partner at Seed SD; Peter Brack, Partner at Mucker Capital; Dean Rosenberg, Board Member at TCA-SD and Eugene Cho, Quick Pitch Winner in 2016 and founder/CEO of Echo Labs.

Gurrieri added, “We salute all the Top 10 finalist companies, which, by all accounts, keep getting better every year and inspired us to increase the prize money and add the $100K TCA ACE Fund investment. We also thank all our sponsors, judges and coaches for their invaluable contributions to making Quick Pitch 2017 a San Diego startup event for the history books.”

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GroupSolver Closes $1 Million Funding Round Led by Tech Coast Angels San Diego

For PR Web, click here

GroupSolver announced its recent completion of a $1 million financing round, led by Tech Coast Angels’ San Diego network, with $700,000 of new money raised. The deal received robust interest and was fully subscribed at the $1M ceiling.

GroupSolver is unique among online consumer research companies in being able to provide deeper insights through a technological breakthrough that allows for open-ended answers to be quantified. It captures natural language feedback from a group of relevant online consumers, rather than collecting the typical multiple-choice responses that “lead” consumers to a pre-determined answer. This method captures explicit information and reactions, and consumer input is more candid and specific. GroupSolver’s clients include some of the world’s largest brands, many of which are repeat buyers.

“We address that elusive ‘why’ that keeps marketers and managers awake at night: why are the customers not loving our new product? What do people see our brand to be? How can we improve our service? The fact is that our customers don’t see their problems as “surveys” in their heads, but they rather see a set of business questions that need to be answered in order to make a fact-based decision,” said Rastislav (Rasto) Ivanic, founder and CEO of GroupSolver. “Our novel approach is allowing these ‘why’ questions to be asked and answered in natural language dialogue, and backed up with real statistics.”

“While I was impressed with GroupSolver’s product and market traction, I was even more impressed with its leadership,” said Dean Rosenberg, deal lead and vice president at Tech Coast Angels San Diego. “Rasto has a ‘big company’ background working for some of the best, largest consulting practices in consumer research, and yet he also has the productivity and agility of a startup guy. This culture is evident across the company, from sales to product development.”

The recent financing round will be used to expand the product’s platform and to increase their sales and marketing capabilities. GroupSolver will be adding features and improving ease of use and its algorithm, increasing the company and product profile and driving inbound traffic—and it will be consolidating its R&D team in San Diego in early 2018.

“We first got our start here in San Diego, had applied to TCA but we were too early in our development,” continued Ivanic. “We raised an initial angel round that allowed us to build a dedicated product team in Slovakia and a sales team in Utah. When it came time to raise a seed round, we reapplied with TCA and were accepted. Most of the members in TCA San Diego have been with early stage companies, they understand entrepreneurship and what’s required to make a startup successful—and we just clicked. It is wonderful to be bringing R&D, an important part of our team, back to where we started in San Diego.”

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Tech Coast Angels Tops PitchBook’s List of Southern California VC Investors

For PR Web, click here

IRVINE, Calif. – August 29, 2017 — Tech Coast Angels (TCA), one of the largest and most active angel networks in the world, today announced that PitchBook, an independent data provider specializing in venture capital, private equity and M&A, had analyzed the Southern California investment landscape, and listed the angel network as the top VC investor for all early-stage investments in the region.

In fact, the PitchBook data shows that TCA led the field against other angel networks and VC firms in all categories:  number of investments in five years (46), the number of investments in the last six months (7), the number of investments in the last 12 months (12), and the number of investments in the last two years (26).

“This information reaffirms our historical performance and steadfast commitment to continue building and supporting a strong startup ecosystem in Southern California, where nearly all of our network’s angel members live and work,” said Jeff Draa, Chairman of Tech Coast Angels. “While investing in great companies anywhere, regardless of location, is at the core of what we do, Southern California is our home and remains the heart of who we are.”

According to PitchBook, capital invested in young companies in Southern California is on an upswing since the beginning of 2015, with 988 VC deals completed in the region by 1,069 individual investors.  For the report published in July 2017, see


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