San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC), a University of San Diego (USD) School of Business program that activates accredited angel investors and engages promising early-stage companies, awarded over $500,000 in funding to five companies with promising solutions – all with the goal of making the world a better place.
Advocat Technologies took top honors and $200,000 in funding for its artificial intelligence (AI) research and drafting solution for enterprise legal departments, with $300,000 split evenly among runners up ChargeNet Stations, Digital Proteomics, Fluid Power AI, and Verity.
Saturday’s conference, the culmination of months of educational events and mentoring for participating early-stage companies, as well as guidance for new angel investors, was broadcasted by SDAC on March 20 and drew an audience from across the country – some tuning in from as far as Alaska and Taiwan.
“We are grateful to the SDAC angels and honored to be among the innovative companies competing. This funding enables us to further develop our technology and ramp up marketing as we advance our mission to leverage AI to enable attorneys to do more in less time,” said Advocat Technologies CEO Pradnya Desh. “We are especially appreciative of the knowledge, tools, and connections we’ve built through SDAC – truly invaluable.”
SDAC received a record 125 applications for the 2020/21 season, with companies representing 15 states and 30 industries. Ultimately, seven finalists were selected to pitch the SDAC angel investors. Finalists included:
- Advocat Technologies – AI-guided legal intake, research, and drafting for Fortune 1,000 legal teams
- ChargeNet Stations – the electric vehicle (EV) charging experience of the future
- Digital Proteomics – machine learning for better therapeutic antibody discovery
- Fluid Power AI – internet of things (IoT) reliability and maintenance solution for any hydraulic system
- Hempress Hygienics – socially conscious feminine hygiene on a mission to provide women access to healthy, sustainable, high-performing products using hemp
- UpLyft – first FDA-compliant self-transfer system from bed to wheelchair for people with limited mobility
- Verity – sustainable packaging solutions to the beauty and personal care industry that minimize single-use plastics and waste
SDAC supporter Coeptus Law underscores that SDAC offers much more than funding opportunities to the innovation economy.
“SDAC has quickly built a reputation as one of the best ways for entrepreneurs and angel investors to receive coaching and connect, while also providing substantial investment for promising ventures,” said Coeptus Law Partner Brian Dirkmaat. “As a law firm focused on new ventures, our support of SDAC is an important part of our commitment to providing proactive advice, risk management, and value creation for startup and emerging growth companies and investors.”
The entrepreneurial education, investments to winning companies, and low angel fund investment threshold of about $6,000 have made SDAC one of the largest angel investor programs nationwide.
“The caliber of the early-stage companies this year was tremendous,” said Dave Churchville, an angel investor active in SDAC since year one who led a due diligence team this year. “My knowledge of angel investing continues to grow as I meet talented entrepreneurs with inspiring vision.”
The size and certainty of the fund generate a healthy deal flow and are supported by 20+ partner organizations in the startup ecosystem in San Diego. SDAC also partners with top California universities including host USD, San Diego State University (SDSU), and University of California San Diego (UCSD). SDAC’s top non-academic sponsors for 2020/21 include Mintz, Clearpoint Agency, and Vantage Point Advisors and others here.
“The goals of SDAC are to attract innovative early-stage companies, activate new angel investors, and make valuable business connections. This year we accomplished that, and more, with an incredibly diverse group of promising companies from across industries and development stages to present to our angel investors,” said SDAC III Fund Manager Amy Duncan. “We look forward to seeing the next class of SDAC entrepreneurs.”