SAN DIEGO and IRVINE, Calif. – December 4, 2019 — Tech Coast Angels – San Diego (TCA-SD) today announced its most recent $1M+ investments in two local companies, Mercato and Discover Echo (formerly Echo Labs). With more than $12M total invested so far in 2019, TCA-SD just closed funding rounds of $1.1M in Mercato and $1M in Echo Labs. This increases the number of million-dollar investments to four by TCA-SD in 2019, with DTx Pharma and Atlazo funded earlier this year.
All of these deals were led by TCA-SD’s recently-unveiled annual ACE Fund. ACE Fund 19 invested $2.2M in 16 companies including local startups GoSite, Lennd and Lynx Bio (in addition to DTx Pharma and Atlazo).
“When TCA invests in a company, our annual fund leads with up to $500K, followed by individual investments by our members,” said Dean Rosenberg, TCA-SD President and ACE Fund Manager. “The TCA annual fund is successful because it provides entrepreneurs with fast money and investors with capital-efficient diversification.”
Ashok Kamal, TCA-SD Executive Director, added, “ACE is an Annual Fund model – raising and deploying fresh capital to early stage companies each year. Therefore, a $4M Annual Fund is like having another $40M early-stage VC in San Diego.”
The latest ACE Fund investments are for new and existing TCA portfolio companies. The new annual fund, ACE Fund 20, closed in October with $3.7M to be invested by the end of 2020.
Mercato is the SaaS e-commerce platform for independent grocers that previously announced $3M in funding for this round from investors such as Greycroft, Loeb.NYC, Blackbird Ventures, and Correlation Ventures. TCA’s participation brings Mercato’s total round to over $4M. Mercato’s CEO, Bobby Brannigan, recognized TCA’s contribution in terms of both capital and connections: “It’s great having a San Diego investor that operates at the level of a top venture capitalist offering smart money to fuel our growth.”
Discover Echo, which sells next-generation microscopes to pharma companies and academic institutions, raised its third round of funding from TCA, bringing its total from the group to over $4M out of over $15M in historical funding. Discover Echo first raised its seed round in 2016, led by TCA after the company won 2016’s Quick Pitch competition, organized by TCA at Qualcomm.