Memorial Fund Will Support Entrepreneurism in San Diego Region

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The San Diego Network of Tech Coast Angels (TCA), the largest angel group in the United States, announced that the organization has established the John G. Watson Foundation to support entrepreneurism in the San Diego region. The 501(c)(3) Foundation is enabled by a $1 million gift to TCA San Diego from the family of John G. Watson.

“John loved investing, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit that he discovered when he arrived in San Diego,” said Gillian Ison, John’s sister. “We believe that a foundation supporting entrepreneurism is the best way to honor his memory and his life.”

The Foundation will use investment earnings from the Watson family gift to fund specific TCA-San Diego charitable and educational activities and programs that support and promote innovation in entrepreneurism and that are intended to reduce unemployment and underemployment.  To this end, the Foundation will be heavily involved with the annual San Diego Quick Pitch event.

“John had an extraordinary ability to evaluate investment opportunities and enjoyed the Quick Pitch evaluation and selection process,” said Stephen Flaim, president, San Diego Tech Coast Angels. “In 2009, he organized one of our most successful TCA San Diego Quick Pitch events ever, so it is fitting that the new Foundation will support this annual activity.”

John Watson joined the TCA San Diego network in 2008 following a long and distinguished career in pharmaceutical and life sciences. Over the course of 35 years, he served in various marketing, managerial and executive positions at companies including Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth Laboratories, and ICN Pharmaceuticals. John served as COO of both Vestar Inc. and Galagen Inc., before becoming CEO and president of Ionian Technologies in San Diego.

Shortly after his 2008 retirement, John joined TCA San Diego. He was elected to the network’s Board of Directors the following year. In addition to his TCA activities, John regularly volunteered in the San Diego/La Jolla community and enjoyed athletic activities, including ocean swimming, hiking, biking, and skiing.

An English native, John earned a bachelor of science degree in economics from Cambridge University before coming to the United States to study as a Fulbright Scholar at Indiana University, where he earned a master’s degree in marketing and finance.