By Amy Duncan, SDEE Communications Chair and SDAC III Fund Manager

If you’ve ever thought about becoming an entrepreneur or an angel investor, The San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC) is for you. SDAC is a pitch competition that connects entrepreneurs to accredited angel investors, with the goal to provide much needed funding. The conference is a three-month series of events in which founders apply, and through subsequent rounds of selection, finalists get invited to pitch investors and compete for investment. This year’s winner will be announced at the premier event on March 20.

The concept for the conference was conceived by Mysty Rusk, Executive Director, Free Enterprise Institute at University of San Diego (USD). USD runs The Brink SBDC (Small Business Development Center) that helps businesses start, grow, and get financing. E-track, a free training offered by The Brink, is a series of pitch prep activities to help founders prepare to raise money. Mysty’s idea was to activate angel investors to raise money that founders compete for in a pitch competition. The first SDAC was held in March 2019.

As Fund Manager of SDACs third conference, SDAC III, it’s been an exciting journey to review the 124 applications and work with angel investors to select the 7 finalists. We began by simply reviewing the pitch decks and 1-minute videos submitted by the entrepreneurs. We selected 30 quarterfinalists to present a 3-minute pitch; fifteen semifinalists to present a 10-minute pitch; and seven finalists were selected for the final stretch.

To pick a winner, the angel investors have divided into teams to perform in-depth due diligence on each company. At the same time, these accredited investors are writing checks and contributing to the fund. Our goal was to raise $200,000 to award to the winner, but we have surpassed that and are still finding new investors. The past two conferences combined raised over $1 million making additional funds available for other finalists.

I invite you to attend this year’s conference, held virtually on March 20. You’ll get to see pitches from the seven finalists and hear reviews from the due diligence team leads. Now’s your chance to see what’s it’s all about. Get your tickets today.