Category Archives: Announcements

Tech Coast Angels “Volunteering 2016”

For Summer 2016, I am volunteering for the Tech Coast Angels. Specifically, I am on the committee to bring aboard some local food companies to have a booth and sample their products.

The Tech Coast Angels

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is the largest angel investor group in the U.S., and has been fueling the growth of innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Southern California since 1997. TCA identifies, mentors and funds early stage companies to help get their ideas to market. The TCA has over 300 members that are experienced CEOs, senior executives, current and former entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other professionals. Members not only invest but frequently serve on boards and assist companies with relationships, strategy, supply chain, team building and additional fundraising.

TCA members have invested over $180 million in more than 300 companies and have helped attract more than $1.6 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. In 2014 alone, TCA invested over $16 million in 60 companies; in 2015 the total was $13.5 million in 58 companies. In fact, the most recent Halo Report rated TCA as #2 nationally in number of funded deals. A recent analysis by CB Insights ranked TCA #1 out of 370 angel groups on “Network Centrality” and #5 overall in “Investor Mosaic.”

Basically, the Tech Coast Angels are unique in the amount of funding and level of involvement they provide young companies. They are the quickest way to $1M in funding.

My Involvement

I’m a new volunteer to the Tech Coast Angels.

Annually, they have an event called the John G. Watson Quick Pitch Competition. There they invite entrepreneurs of the community to pitch their businesses and win money. Often times they are approached by members of the TCA for additional investments. That’s really cool. So, when they needed a volunteer, I was happy to join the team.

I am on the committee to bring aboard some local food companies to have a booth and sample their products. I think it’s very important that the TCA interact with local and growing companies. I am not getting paid.

My Experience I Bring

I have worked with several angel investors in Las Vegas Nevada to grow a fund and perform due diligence on companies. I did so as a way to help my fellow entrepreneur students at the University of Nevada. I’m proud to say I’ve helped several companies get funded and gained experience in fundraising.

Why Did I Get Involved with the Tech Coast Angels?

I got involved with the TCA because I know that supporting the startup community is in line with what I believe in, what I do, and what I have experience in.

I believe  businesses exist to solve a problem and provide employment. When the 2008 recession hit I saw a lot of people desperate for work and that cause became my mission. I wanted to help people find work by helping them start businesses.

I’m a generalist so I’ve worked in many roles to support young companies. I’ve learned that no entrepreneur is born knowing everything, there’s always something to do, and I wanted to be helpful and useful.

Startup and small businesses are the backbone of America. They generate the most new jobs each year vs. larger and older firms.  By helping young companies grow, I help people get jobs.

What Do I Get Out of Volunteering for the Tech Coast Angels?

I hope by working hard to complete the goals of the Tech Coast Angels’ John G. Watson Quick Pitch Competition committee I grow a stronger personal network, build friendships, make business contacts, and have fun. I do want to benefit from the relationships I make.

I want to keep my skills sharp. What I’m doing is essentially business development and a core skill for any businessman. This is an opportunity for me to develop and hone my abilities, while benefitting the startup community. It’s a win-win scenario.

Are You A Company I’ve Tried to Reach?

Wow! I’m happy you read this far. Yes, I want to help you. You’re also helping me, but you’re also helping you. Help me to help you to help the startup community. Email me back!

And as I mentioned, I’m not getting paid to volunteer.

How I Decided To Join a Surf Company in San Diego

Might as well go back to the beginning, way back.

It was the last moment of my high school life and no, I didn’t get the girl. The school hosts a massive party in the school gym to prevent teenage drinking. The party began at 7pm, but when night became day, my story begins. I always do this in raffles: I look around and annoyingly convince everyone that I am the winner.  The raffle’s third prize were gift certificates to Oscar’s Restaurant. Not me. The second prize, a TV, went to my friend Katie to take to college. As I looked down at my ticket I began to not care. I continued to gawk at my friends that I had the winning ticket. This time, for the first time, I was right.


In my hands I had a grey smallish sleeping bag-like thingy that contained a surfboard inside. Too tired, I was not very appreciative. I was bombarded with offers to sell and would have had it not been for Kevin Derikson telling me it was worth a lot more than one Benjamin. I actually thought he was lying. Looking back now this invaluable gift changed my life forever. The next three months I had choked on gallons of seawater being crushed by baby waves at La Jolla. The first time I had ventured alone I did not even have wax on. Yes, the surf gods were mighty embarrassed. My first real wave was a six second left 200 yards north of the pier on the last day before I headed to college.


By shear luck I ended up in Las Vegas a million miles away from the closest beach. The situation was Tattooine – crooks and outlaws reigned, and it was alway dry and boring. Having developed some engineering skills I proposed a project to bring surfing to this desert region. In 2012, my team won first place for the Ninth Island Wave Pool design.

The 9th Island Wave Pool removes the barriers of high-cost, long travel time and distance, and Great White Sharks. It facilitates the unforgettable joy of surfing for both the very young and the old that may not have the strength to swim into the roughest ocean conditions. Utilizing precision hydrofoils, rail acceleration, and unique geometric design of the retaining walls and floors the 9th Island Wave Pool aims to provide a two meter tall surfing wave that can vary in size and power. The circular Wave Pool is also designed for a minimal electrical energy requirement proving its sustainability and marketability to operating companies. The 9th Island Wave Pool: sustainable, commercially marketable, and entirely unforgettable.

8 News NOW

Bold move to ask for $15 Million to morning viewers. Challenge accepted.

I would spend the next couple years pitching the idea to angel investors in Las Vegas. I may have gotten over my head, but overhead surf is the dream, right? Go big or go lay on the beach. Part of my networking would land me with a group I work with today, the Mountain West Tech Accelerator. Over there I continued to work with startups and angel investors basically selling ideas for money. It’s been a blast, but home is calling. I am passionate about surfing. So passionate I would spend the rest of my life finding a way to put a real wave in the desert. But the heart wants what the heart wants. If I can be in San Diego, work, and be able to surf, any company to me is a surf company.

And that is how I decided to join a surf company.