February 6, 2024 BACK
Learn what's happening tomorrow at the meeting as well as with local events, and read up on the attempt to train angels that Pasadena Angels is engaged in.
This Month's Contents
1) Companies Presenting at Breakfast Meeting
2) Willamette University is Training Angels
3) PA + ASN Calendar of Events - February 2024
4) Announcements (News & External Events)
1) Startups Presenting at Breakfast
Wed Feb 7 from 7:00-9:30am
We had 6 companies present at our Wed 1/31 Screening Meeting. Kneevoice, Inc. and AquaRealTime Inc. advanced to the Wed 2/7/2024 Breakfast Meeting at the Valley Hunt Club, Pasadena.
COMPANY: Kneevoice, Inc,
CEO/Founder: Gustavo de Greiff, CEO - Los Angeles, CA
Kneevoice is a first of its kind MedTech platform applied to orthopedics that is noninvasive, no-radio, no-pharma. The Kneevoice device can give you a true diagnosis of the status of the patellofemoral joint by detecting and analyzing sounds and vibration. Presented Pre-Submission to FDA in February 2023, Second Pre-Submission in July 2023 target for final submission by the end of the year or early 2024. On the Legal side - Strong IP for use already granted and published for the US and Europe including England, design patents in US, Europe, UK, Japan, China, India and Korea.
2) Willamette University is Training Angels
COMPANY: AquaRealTime Inc.
CEO/Founder: Christopher Lee, CEO - Denver, CO
Pollution of lakes, rivers and oceans by organic contaminants causes $50B of damages annually. AquaRealTime delivers a critical early warning and monitoring system for waterways leveraging a scalable network of IOT sensors, satellite data, and predictive analytics. Water asset stakeholders are in an unprecedented battle with organic contamination. Early detection is a critical part of dealing with the problem, but current monitoring tools are too cumbersome and expensive to be effective at scale.
Quinna Sypher and Michael Burke are second year MBA students at Willamette University. In September 2023, they were newbies participating in real life investment decisions with the Pasadena Angels before their year-long course in angel investing had technically even begun.
With a background in finance, Michael had some preconceived notions about what angel investors would focus on, but the experience has included both confirmations of their academic lessons as well as unexpected revelations. In Michael’s case, he was expecting debates about ARR, CAC and maybe GTM strategies, maybe MVPs and TAMs and SAMs. They heard those, but they also heard a lot of discussion of intangibles, opinions and judgment.
How much can you learn about angel investing in a classroom? I suppose that might depend on what you think angel investing is. Professor Rob Wiltbank has a passion for teaching angel investing to the MBA students at Willamette University, and he’s making a good case that there’s a lot that can be learned from a course, although much of what students learn isn’t technically in the classroom.
For several years, Willamette MBA students have been participating in the Pasadena Angels’ Wednesday breakfast meetings where founders pitch their companies. Up and down the west coast, seven other angel groups entertain different pairs of MBA students at their pitch evaluations. And, the students aren’t just listening. They are evaluating and investing serious money.
They monitor a portfolio of investments and evaluate potential new ones. Each pair of students joins an angel group like Pasadena Angels and participates from September through May. They bring promising opportunities back to their fellow students and pitch them with the hope of making one or two investments during the course of the academic year.
So, I asked them the obvious question: horse or jockey? They were both wise enough not to be baited into accepting the premise of the question. It’s both, of course, but they had thoughtful insights into the question. Both of them emphasized the importance of effectual thinking.
Professor Wiltbank is big on the idea. It’s about applying adaptive thinking to problem solving, and there are a number of creatively-named principles involved: the lemonade principle and the crazy quilt principle among them.
They also described their approach to evaluating pitches. Before you hear the pitch, boil your queries down to two key questions, the answers to which will determine your investment decision. Then, during the pitch, focus on getting those questions answered. Also, evaluate the entrepreneurs themselves and their ability for effectual thinking. How have they adapted and how would they handle a pivot?
Quinna has been able to attend the pre-screen meetings, which has enabled her to see the difference between the pitches before and after a Pasadena Angel liaison has coached the presenters. She has observed rough pitches turn into compelling presentations. She says that just being able to compare those two has been enlightening. Observing the differences in what is emphasized and the order of the information presented reveals what the angel investors value as well as how to communicate effectively to them.
At Willamette, the course in angel investing starts with academics: research, fundamentals, rigorous analysis. Then it proceeds to the more intangible concepts and hands-on experience: evaluating pitches, doing due diligence, following up on their own portfolio, and ultimately pitching each other with the best opportunities and finally closing an investment. At the end of the year, they make a final presentation to the fund’s board of directors.
Can you teach angel investing via a course? If it were only about calculating ARRs, TAMs, etc. and using SAFEs and spreadsheets, then of course. And, the fact that angel networks have implemented training of their own is a testament to the fact that some aspects are amenable to formal learning.
But, those elements of angel investing don’t address the real essence, which lies in the judgment to make the right calls, such as: Are the founders adaptive? Do they have integrity? Will the product resonate with customers? These questions are clearly less amenable to classroom frameworks, but that is not to say that academic concepts have nothing to contribute. Concepts like “effectual thinking” can contribute to how investors think about opportunities, but keen judgment and the ability to apply decades of business experience to help solve a portfolio company’s problems are hard to teach.
3) PA + ASN Calendar of Events - February 2024
Wed 2/7 Company Evaluation Breakfast Meeting, Valley Hunt Club 7:00am to 9:30am, zoom link
Thu 2/15 ASN Trending Thursdays, 9:00am to 10:30am. Early interest startups from our ASN partners. These are companies that passed final round pitches and entering DD or in the middle of DD
Tue 2/20 Two Pre-Screening meeting Panels, before Noon
Wed 2/21 Two Pre-Screening meeting Panels, before Noon
Wed 2/28 Screening Meeting, 8:00am to 10:00am, zoom link
Wed 3/6 Company Evaluation Breakfast Meeting, VHC 7:00am to 9:30am, zoom link
Thu 3/7 ASN Screening - Open to all TCA members. ASN Screenings have up to 3 startups presenting, with 30 min allocated to each startup. 12 min pitch followed by Q&A
4) Announcements (News & External Events)
PA Fund III (2 year Fund): Capital Call Opened January 2024. Target $2M.
Company Investment Sizes: $100 - $150K, 15 - 20 deals
Existing Members: February 15, target to submit funds to include current month’s companies
New Members: Longer investment period, $10K.
Management Fee: No management fee. There is a one time 5% Expense Charge
Min Unit: $10K
Interested in investing, please contact: Co-chairs; Kiem Tjong & Marcus Filipovich
Due Diligence Discussion before Vote for Fund III
Founded as Tech Coast Angels in 1997, Tech Coast Angels Venture Group (TCA VG) has invested approximately $300 million in more than 525 companies, attracting an additional $2.2 billion in capital. With 400+ accredited investors in TCA LA, TCA OC, TCA Inland Empire, Pasadena Angels, and MEDA Angels, TCA VG is a key seed and early-stage funding source. Members, including founders and business leaders, deliver more than capital — providing counsel, mentorship, and access to extensive networks. Connect with TCA VG on its website (www.tcaventuregroup.com), X/Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
LACI’s Founders Business Accelerator (FBA) Cohort 10 is now OPEN for Applications until February 13, 2024
LACI's Founders Business Accelerator (FBA) is a transformative 6-month virtual program aimed at enhancing the economic, community, and environmental impact of small businesses and micro-enterprises in the City of Los Angeles.
Participants benefit from a comprehensive strategy development process tailored to navigate the evolving business landscape, all provided at no cost.
The program offers valuable training and individual support from LACI’s accomplished Executives-In-Residence and industry experts. Gain insights on strengthening your business plan, accessing vital resources, and accelerating your path to success. Don't miss this opportunity to elevate your business in the vibrant city of Los Angeles!
You're invited to the Startup Game Changer Summit V4.0!
As a PA / TCA Member you can join us free on
Wednesday February 21, from 12:30 PM to 6 PM in Garden Grove.
At the in-person Startup Game Changer Summit 4.0, you'll hear from renowned speakers and discover the latest startup trends, strategies, and insights.
Startup Pitches: Two startup pitching sessions featuring 12 innovative startups competing for the attention of top investors. Witness a diverse array of startups as they take the stage to pitch their groundbreaking ideas to a panel of investors and attendees.
Expert Panels: Gain invaluable knowledge from thought-provoking discussions about fundraising and growth strategies, led by industry experts, covering the latest trends, challenges, and strategies in the startup ecosystem.
Investor Gathering: Connect with dozens of investors and angel groups actively seeking innovative startups to invest in.
Networking Opportunities: Forge meaningful connections with fellow founders, investors, and industry leaders, fostering collaboration and potential partnerships.
Inspiration and Empowerment: Immerse yourself in a vibrant atmosphere of innovation, inspiration, and entrepreneurial spirit.
Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, the Startup Game Changer Summit v4.0 has something for everyone, including Happy Hour afterward at Steelcraft Garden Grove. Network with fellow game changers, exchange ideas and forge valuable connections that can propel your startup forward.
Don't miss this opportunity to learn, grow, support our local entrepreneurs, and be part of Southern California's startup revolution. Please mark your calendars for February 21 to join us at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center for the Startup Game Changer Summit v4.0.
For more information about the agenda and speakers, please see the above Flyer and visit the website at https://startupgamechanger.org/summit/
FREE FOR ACCREDITED INVESTORS
We'd like to have as many investors there as possible to help offer valuable feedback to the entrepreneurs who attend.
If you (or your investor friends) want to meet some new founders, and help teach them how succeed today, we're happy to invite you as a FREE GUEST.
Just visit https://startupgamechanger.org/summit/ and look for the Investor Registration tickets. Register there and we'll get back to you right away.
We have limited space, so please RSVP as soon as you can!
Learn More at: https://startupgamechanger.org/summit/
Pitch Opportunities, Exhibitor Tables, and GA Tickets Available Too:
If you know a good local startup who deserves more exposure to investors, please share this information with them. There are exhibitor tables, 12 presenting slots for good companies to pitch, and general attendance tickets, too.
We're going to have a great turnout once again and your expertise would be much appreciated.
We hope you'll join us!
- Scott Fox & Your Friends at the OC Startup Council
p.s. In case it's helpful, the discount code OCSC offers 20% off tickets for all startup founders tickets and/or general admission tickets, too. You're welcome to share that with anyone you work with who may want to attend or exhibit also.
Jan '24: Annual Update
Nov '23: Mustapha Baha
Sept: Noria with Yoram Cohen
June: RealKey (Christopher Hussain) and Stender Sweeney
May: Terry Kay
Apr: Irrigreen (Shane Dyer) and Mandy Wang
Mar: EventHub (Michael Bleau) and Don Hall
Feb: Everyset (EB, Ebrahim Bhaiji) and Richard Chino
Nov '22: Cactivate (Wentao Xiao) and Gene Stein
Oct: C360 Technologies (Evan Wimer) and Kenji Funahashi
Sep: Woody Sears (Autio) and Mike Krebs
Jul: Open Sesame (Steve Lyons) and James Schaefer
Jun: HavenLock (Alex Bertelli) and Anil Jha
May: Discotech (Ian Chen) and Gary Awad
Apr: Sashee Chandran, Seatrec and Susan Marki
Mar: Yezin Taha, Spine Align and Jamie Bennett
Feb: Phoenix Gonzalez, Repurpose and Marcus Filipovich
Jan: Ksenia Yudina, BeTheBeast and Larry Uhl
Nov '21: Roy LaManna, TotSquad and John Keatley
Oct: Dr. Chorom Pak of LynxBio and former president Al Schneider
Sep: Luk Network, Brandon Cavalier and Nancy Dandridge
Jul: Electrum, Jose Gomez and Julie Pantiskas
Jun: Ready, Set, Food, Dr. Mirianas Chachisvilis and Joseph Pitruzzelli
May: MagicLinks, Christopher Hussain and Janice Orlando
Interested in becoming a Pasadena Angel? Click here:
Interested in volunteering for the Pasadena Angels? Help needed from qualified college students in business analytics. Please click here: https://www.pasadenaangels.com/volunteer-application
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We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Pasadena Angels Monthly Newsletter. Any suggestions for future pieces, questions or comments? Please email me at email@example.com
Dave de Csepel
Chairman, Pasadena Angels