Finalist companies in the second annual SDAC are advancing solutions for agriculture, medicine, environment, and property management

SAN DIEGO, March 2, 2020 — From 105 applications submitted in December, the top six companies have been named finalists and will now compete for early-stage financing at the second annual San Diego Angel Conference taking place on March 28. Hosted by The Brink Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of San Diego, the goal of the San Diego Angel Conference is to connect early-stage angel investors with San Diego-based companies that are seeking funding to advance and scale innovative products and technologies. The conference is open to the public, and tickets are on sale here.

The finalists for 2020 are:

AgtoolsMartha MontoyaAgTech
GroGuruPatrick HenryAgTech
LifeVoxel.AIKovey KovalanMedTech
Noria Water TechnologiesSivan CohenCleanTech
SmartPropertyDamian EsparzaSoftware
Visicell MedicalMya ThuBiotech

“We are extremely excited about this year’s finalists that are solving big problems and advancing novel technologies for delivering clean water, increasing crop yield, empowering cell therapies, unlocking medical imaging, streamlining property management, and providing critical information in the global agricultural supply chain,” said Mysty Rusk, Director, The Brink SBDC at USD, and founder of the San Diego Angel Conference. “San Diego has not disappointed in the range of innovative technologies, visionary entrepreneurs, and supportive investors. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in other regions. We have companies tackling big problems, using innovation to change the world, and possibly save it.” 

In January, accredited investors started reviewing 105 applications and narrowed the field to these final six contenders, who will participate in the San Diego Angel Conference 2020. At the conference, the finalists are invited to pitch, the due diligence teams will present their findings, and one company will leave with an investment. The actual amount of the investment will depend on the final number of units purchased. As of March 1, the conference has raised over $300,000 — the largest amount available in San Diego for a pitch competition. The fund management team, led by Benton Moore, has set the cap at $1 million for San Diego Angel Conference 2020. 

“We have a passionate group of investors this year that have easily come together in fun and innovative ways to select these finalists,” said Moore. “What’s been the most interesting to see is that we have a wide range of first-time investors, who are learning about the investing process and starting their own investment portfolios, as well as fostering innovation and growth in our region. With a strong finalist lineup, we expect to see new investors join before funding this year’s conference winner.” 

An angel investor often provides initial funding for small startups or entrepreneurs, typically in exchange for ownership equity in the company. The financial support that angel investors provide fosters innovation which can translate into economic growth. Angel investors typically use their own money or pool money into a fund. The San Diego Angel Conference is a program that teaches angel investing to accredited Investors through the creation of a fund that chooses an investment at the end of a 10-week selection process. Last year’s fund invested $200,000 into a single startup. This year the fund will make an investment on March 28. To learn more, visit

Jason Scharf, a co-fund manager for this year’s conference, said, “As a first-time angel last year, I learned how to assess companies and choose an investment. This year, I have gotten a crash course on fund design, raising capital, and building deal flow. The San Diego Angel Conference is providing an unprecedented opportunity to learn about investing and accelerating the evolution of angel investors.”

Of the 34 first-time angel investors who participated in last year’s San Diego Angel Conference, a significant number have remained active in the community. Nearly two-thirds have returned for the 2020 conference, and a number of them have gone on to join other angel networks or funds, including Tech Coast Angels (TCA) San Diego and TCA Orange County, Portfolia, OSEA Angel Investors, and The Cove Fund. The San Diego Angel Conference works with SEC-accredited investors. 

About the San Diego Angel Conference

The San Diego Angel Conference aims to elevate the San Diego innovation ecosystem by connecting angel investors and fundable entrepreneurs. It was inspired by two misconceptions in the region. First, angels say there are not enough good deals in San Diego. Secondly, entrepreneurs say there aren’t enough investors writing checks. The conference is working to improve both of these issues, not just through the conference event itself, but through a series of workshops leading up to the main event. Those workshops focus on educating and mentoring both the entrepreneurs and angels. The San Diego Angel Conference and workshop series is open to the public for any member of the community interested in learning more about starting a company or investing in a new business. For more info, visit and connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

San Diego Angel Conference Contact: Mysty Rusk,, +1.619.260.4657
Media Contact: Jessica Yingling, Ph.D., Little Dog Communications Inc.,, +1.858.344.8091