Four startups founded in Riverside County and developing with support of the UC Riverside Office of Technology Partnerships were finalists competing for up to $100,000 in the first Riverside Angel Summit, or RAS. The finalists are:
- GattaCo, Inc.: Developed in-home clinical quality blood/plasma sampling.
- SiLi-ion: Developed a silicon nanoparticle-driven lithium-ion battery.
- FarmSense, Inc.: Invented an intelligent insect sensor for agricultural pest management.
- Pharm Robotics: Developed a robotic inoculation process for cattle.
RAS launched this year as an effort to identify, promote, invest in, and develop the most groundbreaking and promising ventures from the region. The program officially kicked off on Sept. 6 and culminates on Dec. 22, when investors will select at least one winning team to receive their investment.
“RAS aims to highlight the quality of startup innovations that the Riverside region has to offer, as well as increase awareness and access to early investment from local angel investors. We created the summit to further build the Riverside and Inland Empire innovation ecosystem,” said Rosibel Ochoa, associate vice chancellor, technology partnerships at UC Riverside.
The UC Riverside team helped recruit angel investors and funding commitments, created the educational program for entrepreneurs and angel investors, and assisted with the development of the seed fund, Citrus Seeds LLC, a special-purpose fund dedicated to regional investors and startups. The UC Riverside team is funded in part by a U.S. Economic Development Administration 2019 Seed Fund Support Grant awarded to translate innovations into jobs through early-stage seed financing.
Fifty high quality, promising new ventures from several industries applied to participate in the summit. The range of industries included agriculture, farming, life sciences, medical devices, energy and climate, cybersecurity, and geospatial mapping.
Startup teams were trained and coached over two months through a series of eight workshops and other events. Topics included alternative funding options, pitch essentials, investment strategy, customer discovery, go-to-market tactics, investor criteria, capitalization tables and term sheets.
The investors, some of whom were angel-investing for the first time, were in turn guided by UCR entrepreneur-in-residence mentors on how to assess investment opportunities.
Three competitive pitch sessions led to investor selection of the four finalists competing for up to $100,000 in seed capital. Investors evaluated the team’s experience and qualifications; the problem, opportunity, and solution; the market size, competition, go-to-market strategy, business model, intellectual property, and finances, among others. Citrus Seeds Fund LLC investors are evaluating the four finalists to select one or more winners.
“Investor and founder feedback was very positive,” said Scott Brovsky, Director of EPIC Small Business Development Center. “The Riverside Angel Summit is a vital component of our entrepreneurial ecosystem that will help local startups stay and grow in the region, and will contribute to economic prosperity. We expect growth in the number of investors, fund size, and entrepreneur pool for 2022.”