USD Angel Conference Boosts Local Entrepreneurs

Monday, March 18, 2019TOPICS: Conferences and WorkshopsInnovation and Entrepreneurship

An entrepreneur stands on a stage to pitch his idea at the San Diego Angel Conference
begin quoteThere are a lot of passionate investors and entrepreneurs in San Diego. What’s exciting is that you put them all in a room, it’s a catalyst for new products and services that are going to better peoples' lives.

Investor angels earned their "wings" and a promising entrepreneur went home with $200,000 in venture capital. 

No wonder there was a buzz of excitement in the air at the inaugural San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC) hosted by The Brink Small Business Development Center at the University of San Diego on Friday, March 15. 

"Angels say there aren't enough good deals and entrepreneurs say there aren't enough investors writing checks," said Mysty Rusk, director of the Brink. "We want to change that."

The event paired seasoned community-minded investors with novice, first-time investors, pooling their money to create a $200,000 fund. 

Over several months, seven finalists were selected from an initial 91 companies to give their best 10-minute pitches to the SDAC fund investors. The goal was to get the new investors' skills "up really quickly to help them write bigger checks more often in the future," Rusk said.

New investors learned due diligence, evaluation, negotiation and other critical skills. Each investor also received an Angel Capital Association (ACA) membership. 

A crowd of 300 of movers and shakers from San Diego's venture capital community attended the event that also included networking, a panel discussion and a keynote by serial entrepreneur Fredy Machado.

Mike Krenn, CEO of the San Diego Venture Group emceed the event that was sponsored by MINTZ, Bio-Signs, Pacific Western Bank, Delphi, Veteran Launch, and the County of San Diego.

USD School of Business Dean Jaime Gómez told attendees the school supported the event as part of its commitment to “sustainable wealth” that not only helps create new companies and jobs but also “peace and prosperity.”

When it was over, Aquacycl, a female-led firm whose innovative waste-water treatment technology for brewery, beverage and other firms that is up to 95 percent cheaper than existing methods, had won both the People's Choice Award and the $200,000.

Aquacycl CEO Orianna Bretschger said she was "very honored to win,” competing against six other “fantastic” companies. “This is a big boost for us.”

Other finalists included Nanome Inc, Groguru, Hydrostasis, LENDIT Inc., Navega Therapeutics, and VIVID Genomics.

"The energy was huge," said new angel Paul B. Dohrenwend, who hopes to invest in healthcare, software and other start-ups in the near future.

"The process of learning how to evaluate a company and then seeing if seasoned investors agreed was a valuable one," he said. "There are a lot of passionate investors and entrepreneurs in San Diego," he added. “What’s exciting is that you put them all in a room, it’s a catalyst for new products and services that are going to better peoples' lives whether it’s a new crop development or a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease."

The San Diego Business Journal also covered the event, as well as the winning startup team

Next year’s San Diego Angel Conference has already been scheduled for Saturday, March 28. For more information, go to https://www.sandiego.edu/sdac.

 

 

Contact:

Renata Ramirez
renataramirez@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4658