Companies ranging from concept to $3 million in revenue vying for an investment of $200,000 to $1 million in funding from angel program, now in its third year


SAN DIEGO – January 6, 2021 –  San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC), a three-year-old University of San Diego (USD) School of Business program that activates accredited angel investors and engages promising early-stage companies, received a record 124 applications for its 2020/2021 fund season. Company applicants seek a path to funding through introductions to angel investors and educational events that culminate in a one-day conference where finalists pitch for an investment estimated to be $200,000, and could be as large as $1 million*.

This year’s SDAC III company applicants represent about 30 industries from across the country. Most are in the seed funding stage (90%), with the rest in Series A, B, or C. Applications from companies in education and healthcare are up from last year.

A supporter of SDAC, Vantage Point Advisors, says the organization’s strength is in how it guides early-stage companies through the steps needed to secure funding – from valuation and due diligence, to “the pitch” and more.

“Acquiring early-stage funding is challenging. It requires professional advice, a network capable of making introductions to investors, and knowledge. As a provider of valuation services for companies at every stage of funding, we support SDAC because it connects promising companies with angel investors, while providing a foundation of education and tools,” said Vantage Point Advisors President Todd Poling.

Aquacycl, a startup developing BioElectricochemical Treatment Technology (BETT®) for onsite wastewater treatment, was the SDAC I winner of $295,000 in funding. Orianna Bretschger, founder and CEO, says SDAC has been invaluable to her company’s success so far.

“SDAC brought in law firms, valuation experts, marketing professionals, and experienced investors to present workshops about valuation, understanding convertible notes, priced rounds, due diligence, marketing. It was a whole new language and one we needed to learn to secure funding,” said Bretschger.

“We also gained invaluable introductions to investors and advice on how to best communicate with them. In the end, we not only ended up with the $295,000, but a network with which we can simply pick up the phone and ask advice.”

By summer, Bretchger says Aquacycl raised $2 million more in seed funding and is working on the due diligence for a series A round. “The SDAC program gave us the roadmap and trusted network we needed.”

SDAC’s combination of entrepreneurial education, $1 million in investments to winning companies, and its low angel fund investment threshold of about $6,000, has made it one of the largest angel investor programs in the country.

The size and certainty of the fund generates healthy deal flow and is supported by 20+ partner organizations in the startup ecosystem in San Diego. SDAC also partners with top California universities including its host University of San Diego (USD), San Diego State University (SDSU), and University of California San Diego (UCSD). SDAC’s top non-academic sponsors for 2020 are Mintz, Clearpoint Agency, and Vantage Point Advisors. Full list of sponsors can be found here.


*Actual investment depends on the number of units purchased by participating investors.


Media Contact: 

Hilary McCarthy
774 364 1440

Download SDAC III applicants press release – Business Wire