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IRVINE, Calif. – May 11, 2017Tech Coast Angels (TCA) today announced that it had invested a total of $3.8 million in 17 total deals for the quarter ending March 31, 2017—its best Q1 in the angel network’s 20-year history both in dollars and number of companies invested. Southern California companies received 99% of the investment dollars, which reinforces TCA’s commitment to its local startup ecosystem. All but one of the investments for the quarter were early stage:  Seed Equity, Series A or bridge to Series A funding, and with 93% of total dollars invested into nine new companies.

The nine new companies were Buy It Installed, Carepoynt, Cherryvale Farms, Conectric, Echo Laboratories Inc., InvestED, Mobilize Solutions, OnRamp, and Tot Squad.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the dollars invested went into companies already in revenue, reflecting the trend of angel investments in companies with an already-developed minimum viable product and showing evidence of traction with customers.

“Today’s information shows the strength of our local entrepreneurial ecosystem and of TCA as a group,” said Jeff Draa, Chairman of Tech Coast Angels. “Unlike other angel networks who’ve reported a shift towards follow-on investing, and unlike our experience in 2014 and 2015 when the majority of our investments were in follow-on rounds, our Q1 2017 investments show a tremendous upsurge in new deals, reflecting strong excitement by our members about new opportunities.”

TCA also realized three exits in Q1 2017:

  • Savara Pharmaceuticals (a pulmonary pharmaceutical company) announced it would become a public company (NASDAQ (SVRA)) through its merger with MAST;
  • WeGoLook (an on-demand field services company) was acquired by Crawford & Co., yielding a return to TCA of 8x in less than three years;
  • Everystory (a digital therapeutic company) repositioned itself as a publicly traded life sciences company Dthera Sciences — a digital therapeutic treatment for dementia

“TCA members are investing in early-stage businesses that they can help to succeed with far more than just financial support,” continued Mr. Draa. “Our members offer guidance, direction and connections in addition to investment capital.”

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IRVINE, Calif. – May 9, 2017 – Tech Coast Angels (TCA) congratulates Savara Inc. (NASDAQ: SVRA) on its recent listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.  The clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company’s Series B round in 2012-13 was the largest single raise by TCA ($3.2 M). Overall, TCA members together with a few family and friends have invested over $6M in various financing rounds of Savara, the most for any portfolio company since TCA’s inception in 1997. In total, Savara received almost $50M in non-institutional capital, and has been supported by a $4M grant from the National Institutes of Health as well as a $1.7M research award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Nearly every funding round was oversubscribed and extended.

Sergio Gurrieri, TCA deal lead, current president of the San Diego chapter of TCA, and observer on the Savara Board since 2012, explained three key elements that made Savara such a winning formula for angel investors:

“First of all, Rob Neville, Savara’s CEO and chairman, is truly exceptional. He adheres to a well-balanced and extremely effective decision-making process whereby every single stakeholder’s opinion is considered. Also, Rob’s execution skills are outstanding, his integrity is impeccable, his communication skills powerful, and his management style highly professional.”

“Secondly, the entire Savara team is phenomenal,” Gurrieri continued. “The team’s ability to execute is second to none. In particular, Dr. Taneli Jouhikainen, COO, has been indispensable, co-leading Savara, its programs, and corporate development activities. Taneli is one of the most talented, and knowledgeable COO’s I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.”

“And finally, the board of directors is truly outstanding. The level of expertise, the collective wisdom and experience, the constructive conversations, resulted in an extraordinary board for an extraordinary company,” Gurrieri concluded.

“We truly appreciate the support from Tech Coast Angels’ members and we thank each investor for believing in Savara’s purpose to find new therapies and treatment for rare and debilitating lung diseases,” said Mr. Neville. “Through our excellent team and proven ability to execute, Savara presents an attractive business opportunity with our pipeline of unique products with considerable market potential. We will continue to diligently work to make their investment a success.”

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New and expanded virtual and affiliate membership programs will add to deal flow and expertise in due diligence

IRVINE, Calif. – April 27, 2017 — Tech Coast Angels (TCA), one of the largest and most active angel investor networks in the nation, today announced the addition two new membership classes: Virtual Members and Affiliate Members. These new categories supplement the angel network’s current membership categories and expand opportunities for all angel investors, regardless of location.

With the Virtual Membership, angel investors who reside outside of Southern California are now able to get involved with and invest alongside more than 325 current TCA members in screening and evaluating deal flow, and in funding startup companies. Virtual Members will also be invited to attend special events at a discounted rate, and attend a general membership screening if they are in the Southern California area. For a full list of conditions and benefits, please click here.

The Affiliate Membership is created for family offices, corporate VC groups, foundations, non-profits, and venture capital funds that can supplement their investments with startup companies and potentially complement their strategic plans and current product portfolios. Affiliate members may be located within or outside of Southern California.  For a full list of conditions and benefits, please click here.

TCA had four key goals while adding these new categories:

  • To increase the potential deal flow through contacts and networks of other individuals and investing entities;
  • To add to the intellectual capacity of TCA and to enable a more diverse group to screen deals, participate in analysis, and perform due diligence of prospective companies;
  • To provide additional capital for investment in our portfolio companies and for our Angel Capital Entrepreneur (ACE) funds; and
  • To provide potential entrepreneurs with a broader investor base and a mentorship program, making TCA the preferred funding choice for early stage companies.

“TCA has the technology in place that makes it easy to expand our reach for new members,” said Jeff Draa, TCA chairman.  “As virtual members will be remote from our Southern California network locations, they can interface with TCA and its deals through our website and participate in screenings via teleconferencing technology at UCI Applied Innovation, a facility open to all TCA members. Many angel investors are part of multiple angel groups and this new membership category enables those members to join our group as well.“

The implementation of this new membership class shows potential entrepreneurs and TCA’s current partners and sponsors, that the angel network’s business model is capable of expanding and that TCA has the latest infrastructure, which befits a technically adept organization. The new membership category complements what TCA is currently doing.

Draa stated that he felt the time was right for the expansion. “Many of our current members come from family offices and have been successful investors at TCA. Corporate VCs, Strategy and M&A groups are showing more interest in early round deals to supplement their corporate portfolios with new products and services. And many venture funds have been sending us smaller deals and we have been sending larger deals to VCs,” Draa concluded.

For information on joining TCA as a Virtual Member or Affiliate Member, prospective candidates can find more information about each, and about TCA, via the angel network’s website:, or by contacting one of TCA’s network membership chairs.  

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Tech Coast Angels Invested $14.1 Million into 55 Companies and Completed Six Exits in 2016

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During its 20th Year, Angel Network also Launched Angel Syndication Network to Share Deals with over 20 Other Angel Groups 

IRVINE, Calif. – April 25, 2017 – Tech Coast Angels (TCA) invested $14.1 million in a total of 55 companies in a diverse mix of industries in 2016. TCA’s total investment for the year was its fourth highest since the network’s inception in 1997, and its two largest deals in 2016 were Echo Labs and Movocash – each at over $1 million from TCA. TCA had six exits including five acquisitions (Retrosense Therapeutics, WeGoLook, Clearcare, Hipmunk, and HitFix) and one optional exit (grandPad) upon receiving strategic investment from Acer. This brings the total exits to 68 in the angel network’s history.

Ninety-one percent (91%) of the deals were seed or Series A rounds. Sixty-two percent (62%) of the companies in which TCA invested were initial investments by TCA, up from 35% in 2015. The investment increase in new and early stage companies reflected a wide berth of opportunities in 2016, however the report cautions that such investment activity may be similar to “experiencing an Indian Summer,” as this cycle seems to be drawing to a close.

These investments were across a broad range of industries, but the largest investments in dollars were in life sciences (35%), internet/apps (20%), software (15%) and financial services (16%).

“Although the year started slowly for investments, TCA finished strong in 2016.   Additionally, we started a new syndication network to build better deals with great companies regardless of geography,” said Jeff Draa, 2017 Chairman of Tech Coast Angels. “While the diverse experience of our over 300 members helps us as a network to invest with confidence in a wide range of industries, the amount of solid expertise and knowledge also greatly benefits the companies in which we invest, guide and mentor. Together, that formula has helped us achieve results in liquidity events that surpass the averages for other angel groups.”

TCA also participated, along with CommonAngels from Boston, in research that was published in a joint study by Harvard Business School and MIT last calendar year, which may be the first quantitative analysis showing that companies receiving angel funding achieve greater success in many areas (including employees, survival, patents granted, etc.) than companies who did not receive angel funding.

Access TCA’s full 2016 year-end report for more details. The report includes a summarization of 2016, the investment outlook for 2017, the list of companies added to our portfolio, and various infographics.


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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
    “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

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