Virtual San Diego Angel Conference Awards $400K Investment Total to Three Companies

Mysty Rusk, director of The Brink SDBC at USD, speaks during the virtual event, the second annual San Diego Angel Conference on March 28.The Second Annual San Diego Angel Conference took place online on March 28. Three companies combined to earn a total of $400,000 in investments.

The second annual San Diego Angel Conference, the largest pitch contest in Southern California, announced investments totaling $400,000 in three companies, AgToolsNoria Water Technologies, and Visicell Medical, during this past Saturday's event.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the conference was held digitally, with more than 690 registrants from all over the United States and the world, including Canada, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, and Myanmar. The virtual conference opened with remarks from James T. Harris III, D.Ed. President of the University of San Diego, Timothy Keane, Ph.D., Dean, USD School of Business, and Nathan Fletcher, County Supervisor for San Diego’s 4th Supervisorial District.

Hosted by The Brink Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at USD, the goal of the San Diego Angel Conference is to connect early-stage angel investors with Southern California companies that are seeking funding to advance and scale innovative products and technologies. Although today’s event was held digitally, the conference organizers are planning for a future post-investment celebration in San Diego and a demo day in the Bay Area.

“We thank all of the entrepreneurs who participated and our investors who chose maximum impact on innovation and committed approximately half a million dollars,” said Benton Moore, who leads the fund management team. “Global food supply, clean water, and disease eradication are ever important. We reframed this current crisis as an opportunity lens to view how strong leaders survive stress. Making three investments in March 2020 is a testament to our committed and robust startup ecosystem. The future is unwritten, but we all wrote a positive chapter today.”

AgTools is the winner of the San Diego Angel Conference 2020 and received an investment of $200,000. AgTools provides real time data and analysis to help farmers, buyers, and shippers of agricultural goods maximize their outcomes.

The runner-up companies, Noria Water Technologies and Visicell Medical each received an investment of $100,000. Noria Water Technologies provides real-time insights and recommendations on the critical membranes needed to optimize reverse osmosis in water filtration and purification. Visicell Medical, the “GPS for cell therapy,” provides non-toxic, simple, and cost-effective immune (CAR-T, NK) and stem cell labeling options to help researchers pinpoint the exact locations of these cells after they are administered into patients.

The other companies that presented were GroGuruLifeVoxel.AI and SmartProperty. During the conference, attendees voted and named GroGuru, the “People’s Choice” award.

“Despite being in the midst of this tremendous crisis, we were undeterred in supporting these entrepreneurs who are working to make the world a better place, and what was even more amazing is that by going digital, we were able to go international, with people participating from Canada, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Myanmar and all over the United States,” said Mysty Rusk, director of The Brink SBDC at USD, and founder of the San Diego Angel Conference.

“It’s clear that the San Diego Angel Conference is elevating investing in our community, and we thank everyone that has invested, participated, volunteered and sponsored for being bold and leaning in.”

At the first San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC), held last year, three companies received $535,000 in investment. In total, the SDAC accredited investors have invested more than $2.3 million in over 50 deals, and the 93 companies that competed in last year’s conference have raised more than $22 million.

Sponsors of this year’s conference were: Brex, Mintz, Little Dog Communications, Signal Rock Capital, ATS Wealth Management, Wagenknecht IP Law Group, Vantage Point Advisors, University Growth Fund, Spire, First Republic Bank, Iron Forge Development, Goldfish Consulting, Sayva Solutions, Pacific Western Bank, Law Office of Michael Kimball, Seasons Financial LLC, and Signal Rock Capital.

The third annual San Diego Angel Conference is scheduled for March 27, 2021.

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Mysty Rusk