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IRVINE, Calif. – May 3, 2018— Tech Coast Angels (TCA) held an “Extreme Coaching” event on April 27-28 at University of California, Irvine’s Applied Innovation Campus.  Thirty-four (34) CEO entrepreneurs were coached by a team of seven experienced angel investors (including past TCA chairmen Don Kasle and John Harbison, acting as team captains) to perfect a 60-second pitch.

The event was organized by Ora Villalobos, whose husband Luis Villalobos conceived of and led TCA’s first Fast Pitch Competition in 2002. John Harbison provided opening remarks, noting the angel network’s commitment to the startup ecosystem, which includes providing mentoring and constructive feedback to young companies in Orange County. After Don Kasle delivered his classic presentation on “How to Make an Effective Fast Pitch,” the entrepreneurs gave their pitch up to four times to a panel of seven judges. The two-day event concluded with an awards banquet held in the late afternoon of April 28.

“It is always amazing for me to see the amount of improvement in such a short time; how willing the entrepreneurs are to learn and how diligently they work to elevate themselves and each other,” said Ms. Villalobos. “The camaraderie among the entrepreneurs, their true desire to see everyone progress, along with our investors’ genuine interest and encouragement, is so inspiring–even when it’s a competition.” 

“Fast Pitch is all about quickly and succinctly conveying the essence of your company, and the objective is to entice the investor into wanting to take a meeting and learn more. It’s an essential tool of every successful entrepreneur who requires capital, and we are thrilled to help these entrepreneurs improve their effectiveness,” said Don Kasle.  John Harbison added, “It was rewarding to see the improvement over two days, including the incorporation of ideas from the judges on refinements to the business model and approach that should help them be more successful.”

Winners in each category were:

Best Pitch:Finance Exchange, a white label lender platform for the equipment financing market.  Chad Hutchinson, co-founder and president of Finance Exchange, said, “This was my first fast pitch experience and I was impressed with the entire event. It certainly exceeded my expectations and I came away with a much better understanding of how to utilize a fast pitch to get that next meeting. It was also exciting to see other entrepreneurs pitch and make dramatic changes after getting valuable feedback from the coaches. I am not aware of any other event where you can pitch to seven different judges with a wide range of experience, that then give you coaching that really makes an impact. The judges really cared about helping each participant and the final results from coaching were impressive.” 

Most Fundable:  Seasonally Fresh, providing an essential and sustainable distribution and marketplace infrastructure for the food industry.  Cynthia Kirkeby, CVO of Seasonally Fresh, said, “The Extreme Coaching event was amazing! It was incredibly helpful to have the panel review my pitch and explain how I could improve it.  Listening to the feedback being given to other teams let me make small adjustments along the way, and then the ability to re-pitch after I made my changes let me see the improvement in my pitch immediately. Huge thanks to the TCA members for their time helping Seasonally Fresh take the next step in our pitching!” 

Most Disruptive:  METAseismic, creating metamaterials that limit destructive seismic energy. Said Naomi Bonessio with METAseismic:”It was a transformational experience. I am so thankful for all the insightful comments the judges gave me to refine my pitch. It was challenging and rewarding at the same time.”

Most Scalable:  iiDG / Garble:  a data encryption solution that protects sensitive data. Founder Demetrius Brown said, “The Tech Coast Angels Extreme Coaching event provided more than just details on how to develop a pitch, it also came with coaches who possess a wealth of knowledge to produce the perfect pitch!” 

Most Improved (2 winners):  antlse, Inc., a private/hybrid cloud server to host data, and
Efyian, an easy-to-use infectious disease device that provides central lab test accuracy

Bernie Blume, CEO of antsle, said, “TCA extreme exceeded my expectations by far. All the coaches had no other agenda than helping us improve our pitches, which I greatly appreciated. Awesome event!”

Angelika Niemz of Efyian said, “I truly appreciate the constructive actionable feedback and supportive environment, which enabled us to significantly improve our fast pitch, in addition to the networking opportunities provided by this well-organized event.”

To learn more about, or apply for future, Tech Coast Angels’ coaching and pitching events in Orange County, please contact Robyn Wright at