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Cognition Therapeutics Receives Prestigious Luis Villalobos Award from Angel Capital Association

Named after Tech Coast Angels’ inspiring co-founder, the annual award goes to most outstanding and innovative early stage  company

May 18, 2016 – IRVINE, Calif. – Tech Coast Angels (TCA) today announced that the Angel Capital Association (ACA) had awarded the Luis Villalobos Award to Cognition Therapeutics at the annual ACA Summit last week in Philadelphia.

The award recognizes the single-most ingenious and innovative company that is financed by one of ACA’s member angel groups. It is the highest honor available for an early-stage company to receive from the Angel Capital Association, and honors Tech Coast Angels co-founder, Luis Villalobos.  Mr. Villalobos was a leading light in the angel investment field, by educating and mentoring numerous entrepreneurs and making nearly 60 personal investments, prior to his death in 2009.

Members in all five of TCA’s networks, as well as TCA’s ACE Fund 1, have invested in Cognition Therapeutics.  The company, based in Pittsburgh, focuses on the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics targeting the toxic proteins that cause the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other human neuro-degenerative diseases.

“Of all of our TCA Portfolio companies, Cognition Therapeutics is one of the most responsible and transparent companies that our members have invested in,” said John Murphy, TCA’s deal lead for Cognition Therapeutics. “Their science has continuously advanced at a rapid and successful pace. They regularly update us on their progress, apprising us of Cognition’s status as well as the industry’s. Several times a year, every year, they host conference calls so that we stay current on how they are doing. They then follow up with face-to-face meetings with all our chapters. They are a prime example of what an Angel Syndicate investment should be, and to date all of their funding has been through Angel groups.”

Other winners of the Luis Villalobos Award include RetroSense Therapeutics (2015), EyeVerify (2014), TRX Systems (2013), AssureRx (2012), Quantum Dental Technoloiges (2011) and Modumental (2010-inaugural year for the award).

Cognition Therapeutics Receives Prestigious Luis Villalobos Award from Angel Capital Association

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7 Tips for Raising $39 M from 350 Angels by Rob Neville of Savara

7 TIPS FOR RAISING $39M FROM 350 ANGEL INVESTORS BY ROB NEVILLE OF SAVARA

Rob Neville, CEO of Savara Pharmaceuticals raised over $39M from 350 Angel investors, representing 30 Angel groups from around the world. Neville believes that there are hordes of wealthy individuals looking to invest their money in promising startups. Most startups generally reach out to venture capitalists (VCs) for later stage funding, so it was unusual and historic to raise this level of financing from Angel investors. Savara never specifically eliminated VCs as a potential source of financing, but the momentum within the Angel community simply carried them further than expected. Neville shares his experience with raising Angel funding.

1.      Scale from Angels to Groups to Networks

Raising meaningful amounts of capital from individual Angel investors is time consuming, and simply does not scale. At some point Angel groups become an essential part of fundraising, where 20-50 angels meet on a regular basis to collectively evaluate deals. Even Angel groups have their limitations, and Angel networks are the next logical step. Angel networks contain many affiliated Angel groups often spread around the globe sharing deal flow. In most cases, candidates will pass screening and diligence only once for the first group within the network. For the follow on presentations, the screening and diligence details are shared throughout the network. Essentially, the candidate can skip the screening and due diligence process and access more investors quickly. Examples of Angel networks include the Keiretsu Forum and Tech Coast Angels.

It’s important to have a healthy pipeline of Angels, groups and networks, considering it takes two to three months to move through their respective processes, and even the best companies will face rejection.

Key influencers exist within each Angel group; opinion leaders that are active and well respected by their peers. This is somewhat akin to influencer marketing in social media, whereby individuals are targeted given their influence over potential buyers. CEO’s should work hard to identify and establish ongoing relationships with these key influencers within each Angel group. In more than one case, key influencers became evangelists for Savara, raising millions from their respective networks.

2.      Tell a Compelling Story

Raising money from Angel groups is competitive, and the companies that win are those that tell the most compelling story. Plan to focus less on the details and data – this will surface during the due diligence process. Neville suggests following a Ted Talk format and encourages CEO to practice their pitch over and over until it is perfected. In this regard he refers to Steve Jobs who would practice his story for two full days before keynote presentation, asking for feedback from product managers in the room. For 48 hours, all of his energy was directed at making the presentation the perfect embodiment of Apple’s messages. Practicing the pitch is paramount so that the flow is seamless and the story takes a meaningful form. Ideally the presentation should be graphically appealing, without the use of bullets.

3.      Be mindful of non-Economic Motivating Factors

“Do a little Good, make a little Money, have a little Fun.” Neville uses this to describe the drive behind Angel investors. While the economic return is an important motivator for Angel investors, it represents only one facet of attractiveness. CEO’s must be aware of the non-economic motivating factors that drive Angel investors decisions, often referred to as altruistic and hedonistic motivations. Altruistic Angels have a concern for the well-being of others, and wish to feel good about their allocation of funds. They will invest in stories that resonate emotionally, that help society in one way or another. Hedonistic Angels wish to get involved and be a part of an exciting growth story – leveraging their hard earned wisdom. They will invest in companies that are open to their input and participation. A compelling story must address economic, altruistic as well as hedonistic interests.

4.      Align Management with Angels

Neville stresses the importance of the alignment of Angels’ interests with those of the executive management, so that they all rise or fall together. He opens his presentations by mentioning that he has been part of successful exits that raised Angel funds and returned money to the shareholders. He then makes it clear that he and his team and board have invested meaningful capital into Savara. Alignment is influential because it shows the Angels that you will treat their investment as your own. Angles appreciate a team that sacrifice and operate frugally maximizing value creation with each dollar.

5.      Get ahead of the Due Diligence

Angel investors are accomplished and extremely busy people. Successful fundraisers keep the investment process simple and as straightforward for investors as possible.

Typically, a CEO will present twice to any one Angel group before receiving funds – the first time to motivate and assemble a due diligence team, the second time to communicate the results of the due diligence and hopefully collect investments. Candidates can alleviate work required by the due diligence team by completing a draft of the diligence document ahead of time. If a company relies on preparation of the diligence report from scratch by the Angels, it will take two to three months. Some companies with great stories never get a final due diligence report – often due to competing commitments of the due diligence team members. Even when the Angels are actually doing the work, the majority of the information comes from the company anyways – organizing it beforehand takes out most of the work for the Angels leaving them to validate the report and augmenting it as needed. Ideally, having one or more existing or prospect investors own the draft diligence report as their own adds credibility.

6.      Communicate Often

Given Savara’s large investor base, investor relations is critical. A large investor base is often perceived as a liability or overhead, however, Neville views his investors as an asset. By communicating proactively and often, the Angels will be more likely to participate in follow-on rounds. Savara generates a detailed quarterly report, and holds quarterly shareholder meetings. All email correspondence is personalized. A positive and consistent flow of news generates excitement and confidence in the team’s ability to execute.

In Savara’s $10M Series C round, a DocuSign was sent to shareholders asking for their electronic consent (a necessary step before a round of investment can begin). Within this electronic consent, shareholders were given the option to participate in the round (by simply clicking a radio button and entering the desired amount). Within a few weeks, $6M was committed electronically from existing shareholders.

7.       Close Prospects as Expediently as Possible

The closing process from presenting your story to an Angel group to money in the bank must be as streamlined as possible. Angels have many investment opportunities, and their enthusiasm is likely to fade quickly after hearing your story, however compelling. Leveraging the sales funnel metaphor, prospect investors (those that express interest) must be converted into shareholders in a well-defined and expedient sales process.

To be effective, Neville found that the sales process needs some form of closing pressure (or possibility of loss pressure). This is naturally created when most of the funds have already been committed and the round is about to end. Breaking a larger round into smaller rounds (or tranches) creates multiple points of closing pressure. One additional technique is to offer warrant coverage for early investors. For example, in Savara’s Series B round, the initial investors received 12% warrant coverage – this warrant coverage declined by 2% every month thereafter. Without some form of closing pressure, Angels will not feel any sense of urgency to commit.

Assuming some form of closing pressure has been created, prospects should be encouraged early to “reserve” a place in the offering while they complete their due diligence (without any obligation). Neville will ask early for a verbal range of interest. Once a number or range has been provided, these prospects become “soft commitments”. Accumulating soft commitments quickly helps create additional closing pressure.

As soon as a “soft commitment” has been made, attention moves towards getting signed documents and converting prospects into “hard commitments”. It must be emphasized that a “hard commitment” does not come with the expectation of funds transfer – this will happen later. Neville makes it easy for the investor to sign the documents by using pre-filled DocuSign forms.

After receiving a “hard commitment”, a funds transfer email is sent. Collecting funds should also be as simple as possible, with various funding options being made available. In the early days, Savara team members would literally collect checks by hand. Upon receipt of the funds, the prospect is officially welcomed as a shareholder.

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Zombie Companies Don’t Have to Haunt Angel Investors

Zombie Companies Don’t Have to Haunt Angel Investors

Tech Coast Angels Create Lost Causes Fund So Members Can Capture Tax Loss

IRVINE, Calif. — May 6, 2016 – Tech Coast Angels has launched an innovative way in which the angel network can assist its members realize tax losses at Zombie companies (companies that have essentially shut down but have not dissolved). The new approach will be announced at the Angel Capital Association Summit next week in Philadelphia.

One of any angel investor’s biggest challenges is what happens when an investment turns essentially worthless, yet the company does not shut down or claim bankruptcy. This can happen either due to struggles in the company’s business, or through a recapitalization of the equity of the company.  Without a document of dissolution, an angel investor cannot declare a tax loss, and the injured startup continues to haunt the investor’s bottom line. While there have been solutions (such as selling holdings to a friend for $1), those answers seem complicated, involve extensive paperwork–and, in reality, most angels don’t pursue them.

“TCA’s Lost Causes Fund provides our members with a solution to these moribund startups on life support,” explained John Harbison, chairman of Tech Coast Angels. “Members can sell shares of a Zombie company to TCA at $1 per holding, which gives them a legitimate tax write-off, since the transaction is documented and irreversible.”

This allows TCA’s members to accelerate recognition of their losses and improve returns.

The Lost Causes Fund is available only to members of Tech Coast Angels, and the holding must be in a TCA Portfolio company.  Should there be a “Lazurus” resurgence of the company and an eventual gain, the angel network will donate any net proceeds for charitable purposes to support entrepreneurship.

Mr. Harbison will discuss the details of TCA’s Lost Causes Fund at The Angel Capital Association Summit in Philadelphia.  His presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9 at 11:00 am.  Mr. Harbison is also available for interview before and after the ACA Summit.  Members of media attending the ACA Summit may also request an interview.
About Tech Coast Angels:

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest angel investment groups in the US.  The group comprises over 300 angel members with experience spanning all aspects of successful leadership in almost every industry in five networks that encompass Southern California.  TCA is the leader in providing funding, guidance, mentorship and leadership experience to early-stage, high-growth, exciting companies in Southern California.  CB Insights has ranked TCA ahead of all other angel groups as the strongest network in the country.

Since its founding in 1997, Tech Coast Angels have invested over $176 million in more than 300 companies and have helped attract more than $1.5 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. For more information, please visit www.techcoastangels.com.

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Tech Coast Angels Invested $13.5 Million into Startup Ecosystem in 2015

Southern California Angel Network Realizes Fourth Highest Investment Total in its 19-Year History

IRVINE, Calif. – February 29, 2016 – Tech Coast Angels (TCA) invested $13.5 million in a total of 58 companies in a diverse mix of industries in 2015. In addition to the $13.5 million of direct investment by TCA or its ACE Fund, the angel network also helped companies in its portfolio obtain $82 million through additional funding sources in 2015.

The angel network’s total direct investment for the year was slightly off its record $16.7 million year in 2014, consistent with the market slowdown in investments towards the end of 2015. The only other years in which TCA exceeded 2015’s total for investments were in 1999 ($16.3 million) and 2013 ($14.9 million).  Investment in new companies was 35% of the total last year, compared to 41% in 2014 and 63% in 2013.  Please see TCA’s 2015 year-end report for further details, a summarization of 2015, the outlook for 2016, and charts that segment TCA’s investments by industry.

“Notwithstanding the turmoil in financial markets in the latter part of the year, our numbers for 2015 reflect our confidence in adding value to innovative, early-stage companies—as well as expansion investments to our existing portfolio companies,” said TCA Chairman, John Harbison.  “Tech Coast Angels remains one of the largest and most influential angel networks because of our commitment to solid and collaborative relationships within the investment and entrepreneurial communities.”

The angel network also had six exits in 2015, including two successful IPOs (Mindbody, CytomX) and) and four acquisitions (CRISI Medical Systems, Olive Medical, Thermark and Wispry). This brings the total exits since the network’s inception in 1997 to 60.

“Early-stage investing is often a long-term commitment, and Tech Coast Angels members remain steadfast in providing support, both financially and experientially, to early-stage, high-growth companies—especially those in Southern California,” continued Mr. Harbison.  “We are looking forward to continuing our success in 2016 with our existing portfolio companies and by encouraging new young companies with great ideas.”

About Tech Coast Angels:

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest angel investment groups in the US.  The group comprises over 300 angel members with experience spanning all aspects of successful leadership in almost every industry in five networks that encompass Southern California.  TCA is the leader in providing funding, guidance, mentorship and leadership experience to early-stage, high-growth, exciting companies in Southern California.  CB Insights has ranked TCA ahead of all other angel groups as the strongest network in the country.

Since its founding in 1997, Tech Coast Angels have invested over $176 million in more than 300 companies and have helped attract more than $1.5 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. For more information, please visit www.techcoastangels.com.

Tech Coast Angels Releases Annual Report on 2015

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2015 Tech Coast Angels Chairman Michael Green Recently Shared His Views about Angel Investing

2015 Tech Coast Angels Chairman Michael Green Recently Shared His Views about Angel Investing:

  • Why Run-of-the-Mill Angel Investor Articles about Returns are Annoying and about Redefining Success
  • Angel Traits and Experience Gained
  • Why to Trust the Wisdom of an Angel Network
  • The Real Life of an Angel Investor (hint: it’s nothing like Shark Tank)

See the PRWEB’s write up here. Mr. Green’s article is posted in its entirety below.

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Tech Coast Angels Reports Positive Exits, Eight Deals in Q1 2015

Irvine, Calif. – May 1, 2015Tech Coast Angels (TCA), one of the largest and most active angel networks in the United States, today announced its members realized two successful exits and invested in eight new and follow-on deals in the first quarter of 2015.

 TCA’s collective membership includes nearly 300 experienced, C-suite professionals from nearly every industry sector.  The influential angel network spans five networks throughout Southern California (Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara/Westlake and Inland Empire).

“TCA continues to be a dominant source of funding for Southern California entrepreneurs, with our network’s members providing financial and experienced support to exciting, early-stage companies,” said TCA’s 2015 chairman Michael Green. “We are encouraged with the mix of deals, successful exits and upcoming deals, and we are looking forward to another great year.”

Positive exits for Q1 2015 included Olive Medical and Thermark. 

The funded companies for the quarter are: Groundmetrics, ImmunoGum, iPourIt, Pediatric Biosciences, Playlist Media, Schlep & Fetch, Spine Innovation and Twigtale. 

Tech Coast Angels Invested Best Ever $16.37 Million in 2014

Southern California Angel Network Surpasses Previous Records for Both Investments and Activity

IRVINE, Calif. January 29, 2015 Tech Coast Angels (TCA) invested a total of $16,373,337 in 61 total deals in Calendar Year 2014. The angel network announced that 2014 was the most active year since the networks inception in 1997 for number of deals funded, and capital raised was also the largest ever. TCAs five networks throughout Southern California invested in a variety of industries last year, including consumer goods, healthcare, biotechnology, HIPAA-compliant data storage, social networking, organic agriculture, and automobile technology.In 1H 2014, TCA investments totaled $6,321,874 in 27 total deals. 2H 2014 saw a nearly 60% increase in the amount of total investment from the first half of the year, with $10,051,463 in 34 total deals. Compared to 2013, the angel network increased its total investment portfolio by nearly 12%, from $14,639,612 million in 2013 to $16,373,337 in 2014.After four successful exits in 2013 (Cognition Technologies, Green Dot, Lend Amend and Trius Therapeutics), 2014 brought five more positive exits with AIRSIS, Allylix, Bluebeam Software, Hookit (formerly Loopd Networks), and Mindbody Software. TCAs portfolio of new deals for 2014 include: Aggregage, Apeel Sciences, Ascendant Spirits, Beacon Healthcare, Edufii, Fusion Brake, GoBookIt, ImmunoGum, iPourIt, LeaseLock, Neural Analytics, Parcel Pending, Perfectna, Portfolium, Respiratory Motion, RetroSense Therapeutics, Ring Router, Schlep & Fetch, Soma Bar, Spine Innovation, The Influential Network, TrueVault, Unlicensed Chimp Technology, and WeGoLook. “We are excited by the quality and unique breadth and scope of these great, young, mostly Southern Californian companies that we can support through our experience and capital, said Michael Green, TCA incoming chairman. “We look forward to continuing to find, hone and cultivate the many outstanding early-stage companies in our community in 2015.

Lower Oil Prices Make Necessity A Mother, Again –

Forbes

Beer Tap Company Taps $1M Funding led by TCA

IPourIt_Funding_Webby_t620Lake Forest-based iPourIt has received $1 million in angel funding from a group led by Tech Coast Angels, with the potential for another $250,000

http://www.ocbj.com/news/2015/jan/13/beer-tap-company-taps-1m-funding/

Bluebeam Nets TCA 20X Return

 

In 2002, TCA led an investment round for Bluebeam Software, a leading PDF collaboration technology for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.  The company had found a CAD to PDF market niche and was able to continually grow the company to $30M.

Richard Lee, CEO of Bluebeam Software, said, “In addition to financial support, we have had the opportunity to have Tech Coat Angels and Pasadena Angels members join our board, and provide their advice and counsel based on priorities at the time.” In addition to business-savvy guidance, Lee also stated that angels also provided introductions to customers and potential partners and vendors.

Robert Moore, a member of the Pasadena Angels, one of the early angel investors and a former board member of Bluebeam, feels that the strong management team, led by Lee, was key to the company’s success. Bluebeam’s growth rate has been 50% per year for many years, and the company has been profitable every year.

Bluebeam Software was acquired in October 2014 by Nemetschek AG, a German software provider, for $100 million (US) in cash, with 10% in escrow for 18 months.  

Tech Coast Angels return was 20X.

TCA portfolio company InfoBionic gets $17M Series B

Lowell, MA (PRWEB) November 19, 2014

InfoBionic, Inc., an emerging digital health company focused on creating superior patient monitoring solutions for chronic disease management, today announced that it closed its $17 million Series B financing round, adding new investors Excel Venture Management and Zaffre Investments. In addition, InfoBionic named Steven R. Wasserman as Chief Financial Officer and William G. Swavely as Senior Vice President, IT.

Closed Series B Financing
In November 2014, InfoBionic completed the second tranche of a $17 million Series B financing, closing the round. New investors include Excel Venture Management and Zaffre Investments. These new investors join Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE:SFE), Mass Medical Angels (MA2), Broadview Ventures, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Beta Fund, Launchpad Venture Group, Cherrystone, TCA, HTC, Boynton, and Keiretsu. Proceeds from the financing will enable InfoBionic to commercialize its MoMeTM System, a remote patient monitoring platform for cardiac arrhythmia detection, in Europe and the United States.

“We are pleased to add Excel Venture Management, a knowledgeable healthcare technology investor, and Zaffre Investments, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, to our investor group,” said Nancy Briefs, President, CEO and Co-Founder of InfoBionic. “Our investors collectively share our vision of improving patient monitoring, diagnosis and treatment. This funding is critical to commercializing our MoMe System and building out our proprietary platform.”

“We think that software plays a significant role in improving healthcare and ultimately saving lives,” said Caleb Winder, Managing Director at Excel Venture Management, who has joined InfoBionic’s board of directors. “InfoBionic’s cloud-based MoMe platform is a radical leap forward in improving cardiac monitoring, making it easier for patients to be diagnosed, leading to better care and reduced costs.”

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Mogl Raises $11M for Nationwide Expansion

 

After Some Revamping, Mogl Raises $11M for Nationwide Expansion

11/4/14

San Diego’s Mogl, founded almost four years ago as a Web-based restaurant loyalty program, has raised an additional $11 million in venture funding.

The startup plans to use the cash to expand beyond its existing market of six cities, which includes San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, into 14 additional metro areas—including New York, Boston, Houston, and Chicago. The move comes after Mogl revamped its business model and online technology.

Founder Jon Carder started Mogl as an online customer loyalty program for restaurants and bars, and now competes against such companies as San Francisco-based FiveStars, a Y Combinator startup that has raised nearly $43 million, including $26 million in September.

Under Mogl’s initial model, hospitality partners provided a cash-back reward (typically 10 percent) to customers who paid with a credit or debit card that the customer had registered on Mogl’s website. Mogl also “gameified” the program by enabling diners to donate all or part of their cash-back reward to a local food bank. The company made it possible for users to compete against their friends to see who could donate the most meals each month.

In recent interviews with VentureBeat and U-T San Diego, CEO Jon Carder said Mogl worked with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express this year so restaurants could vary the amount of their cash-back reward offers. Restaurants wanted more flexibility in varying the size of their rewards during peak and off-peak hours. (The company did not respond to an e-mail query from Xconomy.)

Mogl also revamped its technology so users could choose a charity for their donations, instead of sending all donations to the local food bank.

Mogl made some changes to its business model as well. The company initially took a small percentage of each customer’s tab. Mogl now charges each partner a flat $200 a month per customer—but only if the customer spends at least $200 at the restaurant.

Including the recent funding, Mogl has raised a total of roughly $26 million. Sysco, the multinational food conglomerate based in Houston, TX, became a new investor in the latest round. Existing investors Avalon Ventures, Sigma Partners, Austin Ventures, and Correlation Ventures also participated.