John G. Watson Quick Pitch Competition Awards $75,000 to Three Savvy Entrepreneurs

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Tech Coast Angels, San Diego Venture Group and Cox Business co-sponsored the exciting annual event, which brought record funding and crowds to Qualcomm Hall

"This year's event was a showcase for San Diego's startup community to highlight companies tackling big problems with equally large opportunities...all three organizations are focused on supporting the community and economic development in the region." - Jared Ruth, Cox Business

Three impressive startups won $75,000 in prizes at the John G. Watson Quick Pitch Competition, held on October 24, 2018 at Qualcomm Hall. The winners, Neuralace Medical, Yembo, and Lynx Biosciences were selected from ten finalists, who had been earlier chosen out of a field of 280 applications. The event was presented by Tech Coast Angels – San Diego (TCA-SD), San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) and Cox Business (Cox).

“One of Tech Coast Angel’s primary objectives in doing this event each year is to engage the startup and investor community on multiple levels, and clearly the partnership with SDVG and Cox Business this year was instrumental in achieving this, said Victoria Lakers, SD-TCA Quick Pitch chair. “The power of TCA, SDVG and Cox Business coming together with a shared goal can be seen in the number of event records set this year; amount of money awarded, number of company applicants and the high quality of finalist companies, and the first time the event sold out. We also credit Cox with taking the production quality of the event to the next level.”

The first-place winner, Neuralace Medical, went home with $50,000. The San Diego-based company provides a non-opioid medical device for pain management. Its CEO and founder, Shiv Shukla, said, “TCA and SDVG provided overwhelming support and encouragement through the coaches and staff during the Quick Pitch preparation process. I want to give a special shout out to all my coaches who tirelessly listened to countless iterations of my pitch and were not afraid to be brutally honest with me. This was my first time pitching to such a large audience and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity!”

Second-place Yembo also won the event’s audience favorite award to capture a total $20,000 in prize money. Yembo, also from San Diego, builds AI computer vision technology to provide an inventory for professional moving services. Its founder and CEO, Siddharth Mohan, said “I had a rush of excitement when I walked on to the stage. It felt amazing presenting to a sold-out audience. I was very thrilled to win the audience award. Thank you to the entire Quick Pitch team for guiding us every step along the way."

The third-place prize of $5,000 went to LynxBio, another San Diego company developing precision diagnostic cancer therapies. Its founder and CEO, Dr. Chorom Pak, said “Quick Pitch was a great experience for us! A two-minute pitch is always a challenge! All of the finalists did a fantastic job, and I had a great time seeing old faces and getting to know new entrepreneurs. There really was a wonderful sense of camaraderie among the finalists throughout the event.”

But there were far more winners than the three top places at the event, as the evening allowed for finalists to present to the investment community and network with other entrepreneurs and influencers in San Diego. According to Mike Krenn, president of SDVG, “It’s pretty cool when a CEO of a start-up that wasn’t even one of the ten finalists emails you and says they got a customer and a potential investor at the event. That’s a big part of why we do this.”

“I remember a few years back, when VCs would tell us there’s no ‘community’ in San Diego ‘like LA’,” continued Krenn. “They’re not saying that anymore. It’s so fantastic to see this community come together - in big numbers with such quality, and so enthusiastically. And we’re only just getting started! Phase Two coming in 2019!”

Jared Ruth, director of product & marketing, Cox Business, added why he felt Quick Pitch 2018 was so successful. “This year's event was a showcase for San Diego's startup community to highlight companies tackling big problems with equally large opportunities,” Ruth said. “The alliance with San Diego Venture Group and Tech Coast Angels made so much sense for us because all three organizations are focused on supporting the community and economic development in the region. The opportunity to combine efforts, work with two great organizations and make a bigger impact for startups meshed perfectly with our mission."

To learn more about, or to apply for future Tech Coast Angels’ coaching and pitching events in San Diego, please contact Ashok Kamal, executive director of TCA-SD: ashok(at)

About Tech Coast Angels:
Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest and most active angel investor networks in the nation, and a leading source of funding for seed-stage and early-stage companies across all innovation industries in Southern California. TCA members are accredited investors who individually invest in startup companies, and as a group, TCA has invested up to $6M in a single company. Companies in which TCA invest go through well-structured, transparent, and time efficient screening and due diligence. TCA members are themselves founders and executive-level business leaders who have extensive knowledge in the investment process and world-class business practices. TCA members thus provide companies with more than just capital; they also contribute counsel, mentoring and access to an extensive network of investors, customers, strategic partners and management.

TCA is a catalyst in the growth of the thriving Southern California entrepreneurial ecosystem of innovation, funding mostly emerging technologies and life science companies. A recent Halo Report rated TCA as #2 nationally in a number of funded deals, and a recent analysis by CB Insights ranked TCA #1 out of 370 angel groups on “Network Centrality” and #5 overall in “Investor Mosaic.” Since its founding in 1997, TCA has invested over $200 million in more than 350 companies and has helped attract more than $1.6 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. For more information, please visit

About San Diego Venture Group:
Founded in 1986, SDVG is a non-profit organization designed to bring together people who are interested in new ventures and furthering individual companies, as well as our overall innovation community.

We are working hard to further San Diego’s status as a leading entrepreneurial and venture region. We regularly meet with startup companies and investors – both here and outside of San Diego. It is our mission to elevate the funding environment and growth prospects for our local startups. It is all about the companies, for the companies. We further work to support our venture capital eco-system by providing an informal and dynamic environment for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, community leaders, and business advisors to develop greater insights into the process of forming, funding, and scaling high growth companies.

About Cox Communications:
Cox Communications is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, Internet, telephone and home security and automation services over its own nationwide IP network. The third-largest U.S. cable company, Cox serves approximately 6 million residences and businesses. Cox Business is a facilities-based provider of voice, video and data solutions for commercial customers, and Cox Media is a full-service provider of national and local cable spot and digital media advertising. Cox is known for its pioneering efforts in broadband, voice and commercial services, industry-leading customer care and its outstanding workplaces. For 10 years, Cox has been recognized as a best operator for women by Women in Cable Telecommunications; Cox has ranked among DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity 13 times. More information about Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at and


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