• TCA Portfolio Companies Press

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Tech Coast Angels Issues 2017 Annual Report

Southern California Angel Network Invested $14.2 Million into 43 companies;

Achieves Fourth Highest Investment Total in its 20-Year History

For PR Web, click here

IRVINE, Calif. – May 30, 2018 –Tech Coast Angels (TCA) issued its 2017 annual report (click here)) today. The angel network invested $14.2 million in a total of 43 companies. Life sciences was the largest industry in 2017, both in terms of companies receiving invested and investment amount – with half of the initial investments and one third of the total investments in life sciences. Other prominent industries were software and internet/apps, and these three industries corresponded to 68% of the total companies receiving investment, and 73% of investment amount.

“This is the seventh consecutive year that TCA investments have exceeded $10 million and the fifth consecutive year that our investments have been above $13 million – the longest sustained level of investment in our twenty-year history,” said Christopher Hameetman, Chairman of Tech Coast Angels.

The average investment in new portfolio companies in 2017 was $388,000, beating 2016’s $291,000 for average investment, and new companies comprised 57% of the total invested in 2017, down slightly from 62% in 2016, but up from 35% in 2015 and 41 % in 2014. The average for follow-on investments was $275,000, up from $196,000 in 2016.  Valuations of companies in 2017 were similar to 2016: 70% of the investments in 2017 were in companies valued at less than $6M compared to 69% in 2016, while 17% of companies were above $10  million in 2017 versus 16% in 2016.

“While our focus is still on early stage companies, 69% of our investments were in companies already in revenue,” said Hameetman. “We see this as a trend driven by many reasons – friends and family investments are taking really young companies further due to lower technology costs, companies are entering the market earlier with ‘minimum viable products’ before seeking funding, and investors expect companies that have launched products or services to be closer to breakeven in case of a downturn.”

TCA had five exits in 2017: two acquisitions, one buyout, and two companies that went public. As of December 2017, TCA has actualized 70 exits since its founding in 1997, and of the 351 investments made in the angel network’s 20-year history, 54% are still active.

“We continue to seek strong early-stage companies, both natively in Southern California and through the Angel Syndication Network, which now boasts over 40 prominent angel groups throughout the country, each nominating their best deals to share,” concluded Hameetman. “While our focus will always remain Southern California, this syndication provides a great opportunity for superb young companies from all over the US, some in places where angel investment is not as prevalent as here, with over 1,500 angels and over $1 billion in direct investment.”

TCA’s 2017 annual report includes a summary of the angel network’s activity in 2017, including charts that segment TCA’s investments by industry, and provides an investment outlook for 2018.  

May 30, 2018


Tech Coast Angels Hosts “Extreme Coaching” Event

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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 [email protected]

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