Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted six brilliant tech-driven startups in a pitch competition on April 21 to win $100,000+ in equity-backed funding.

2022’s fund ultimately raised a total of $205,000 and chose to invest in two startups. AcreCloud was awarded $135,000 in equity investment as the winner of AngelCon 2022. The runner up, Novocuff, also received an investment totaling $70,000. View AngelCon 2022 press relase here

AngelCon is a culminating event that brings together Central California tech-based startups who receive training and mentorship through the SBDC and dedicated angel investors who participate in the evaluation, due diligence, and selection process of AngelCon applicants leading up to the live event. Participating startups are seeking investment in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt to help grow their businesses.

This annual event is propelled by a dedicated group of angel investors interested in investing in early-stage startups in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. These investors have strong involvement in the evaluation, due diligence, and selection process of AngelCon applicants leading up to the live event.

Startups

Applications for AngelCon 2023 will open  January 17th, 2023.

This event provides a chance for startups to win equity funding of $100,000+. Previous winners have collectively won $570,000 and received approximately $1.6M in follow-up investments.

Investors

Angel Investors propel early-stage startups by investing money in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. The SBDC has generated an investment fund financed by local individual investors.

Contribute to our local economy by becoming an active investor and learn to spot groundbreaking new business ventures and innovative technology.

Sponsors

We are looking for strategic partners who are serving or connected to the San Luis Obispo innovation ecosystem. The perfect fit is an organization who serves high growth businesses, is looking for a way to increase community engagement, and wants to contribute in a meaningful way.

Please reach out to angelconference@gmail.com.

Timeline of Events

Past Winners of AngelCon

AcreCloud, 2022 Winner

AcreCloud’s farm-management platform offers growers and contractors customized control over their operations, extensive auditing capabilities, and access to new products.

Learn More
Novocuff, 2022 Runner-Up

Novocuff is designing a minimally invasive, non-surgical device that will help prevent preterm birth.

Learn More
Tallyfor Inc, 2021

The first collaborative, cloud-native app in a $2.8B market: US business income tax. Tallyfor is cloud software that helps move data from source transactions to IRS filing. Tallyfor enhances online accounting software with the ability to complete business taxes.

Learn More
Atlas Alpha, 2020

Atlas Alpha leverages social networks into profitable marketplaces, fueled by forum experts through a proprietary Application Programming Interface (API) based solution. Atlas began their journey in the board game industry and to date and has over 125,000 monthly active users, resulting in $200,000 monthly sales for their partner retailers.

Learn More
De Oro Devices, 2019

De Oro Devices makes mobility assistive devices to help people walk confidently.They use research-backed sensory cues to help people with mobility disorders walk with improved step symmetry, step length, and confidence.

Learn More

About the 2022 Conference

In 2022, the CIE Small Business Development Center (SBDC) held its fifth annual Central California Angel Conference. Working with a group of 24 investors who participated in Fund 5, we raised $205,000. From September 2021 through April 2022, the group met monthly to prepare for selecting top-tier startups for investment.

At the 2022 pitch competition:

  • Six startup finalists pitched
  • 170+ local business community members attended
  • $135,000 was invested in AcreCloud, Investment Choice Winner
  • $70,000 was invested in Novocuff, Investment Choice Runner-Up
  • $1,300 was awarded to TRIC Robotics, Audience Choice Award Winner

Thank you to our sponsors

Applications for AngelCon 2023 are open January 17th – March 17th, 2023.

We are seeking a diverse set of companies to be considered for funding. Innovators, risk takers and disruptors alike are encouraged to compete for $100,000+ in equity-backed funding. 

Previous winners have collectively won $570,000 and received approximately $1.6M in follow-up investments.

Your startups must:

  • Demonstrate a completed proof of concept with an MVP and/or early revenue.
  • Have potential for scalability and high growth.
  • Have a team with the ability to execute.
  • Be based in Central CA or affiliated with the Cal Poly CIE Incubator or SBDC program.

Startup Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it too late to apply?

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Applications for AngelCon 2023 are open January 17th – March 17th, 2023. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to receive notifications.

 

Who are ideal applicants for the conference?

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AngelCon is seeking a diverse set of companies to be considered for funding. We are looking for innovators, risk takers and disruptors alike to compete for $100,000+ in angel funding. Applicants should fit with the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate a completed proof of concept with an MVP and/or early revenue.
  • Have potential for scalability and high growth.
  • Have a team with the ability to execute.
  • Be based in Central CA or affiliated with the Cal Poly CIE Incubator or SBDC program.

 

What happens after I apply?

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The application deadline is only the start of preparing materials for review by the angels.There are three rounds in the application process, see “Startups” tab for full timeline.

Round 1: Online application – investors review and choose 12 Semi-finalists

Round 2: Top 12 Semi-finalists pitch to investors. Investors choose 6 finalists 

Round 3: Top 6 finalists pitch at a live event. Audience Choice and Investment winner will be chosen.

Following your Round 1 submission, the Cal Poly CIE SBDC will notify you via email if your startup was chosen and provide dates for Pitch Prep Bootcamp, a month-long intensive process led by SBDC consultants to enhance your profile and pitch before Round 2. 

 

What is Pitch Prep Bootcamp and do I have to attend?

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The Pitch Prep Bootcamp program is a month-long intensive process led by a team of expert SBDC consultants. The program includes in-depth executive summary and pitch deck review, as well as weekly intensive coaching sessions for pitching. Consultants will help you prepare for Round 2: Pitch to Investors).

Pitch Prep Bootcamp is not mandatory, but highly recommended to improve your chances of moving forward in the process. 

 

Why is there an application fee and what does it cover?

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The application fee covers the processing cost of the application and a ticket to the final event. All Semifinalist applicants are also allowed but not required to attend the Pitch Prep Bootcamp Entrepreneurs Track workshop series. Application fee is $99. The application fee is nonrefundable.

All applicants can expect:

  • Investors to review their application 
  • A debrief if/when eliminated
  • 1 ticket to the final event
    • *finalists receive 2 tickets

 

Is the application fee refundable?

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The $99 application fee is non-refundable.

All applicants who upload their information to Submittable will have their profiles shared with the investors. They will review before their first selection round the end of February. All but 12 applicants will get cut in this first round. If you don’t make the first round, the $99 application fee includes a single ticket to AngelCon.

 

 

Can I apply again, if I applied in previous years?

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We welcome previous applicants to apply again unless we have previously invested in your company.

 

What type of investment will be made and what are the terms?

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The type of investment is usually a convertible note or equity. In the other angel conferences that we are aware of, there is an even split between these two types of investments. The type of investment is negotiated between each of the finalists with the Fund Managers. 

The terms are negotiated between each of the finalists with the Fund Manager in the days before the conference. The goal is to get to a set of terms that are fair and mutually beneficial to both the companies, and the investors.

 

How much equity is the $100K+ investment for? Is it negotiable or already set?

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The terms are negotiated with the finalists in the last few weeks before the live event. Historically about 1/2 of the deals are straight equity and about 1/2 have been convertible notes. We have every reason to expect that the terms will be fair and reasonable for both the entrepreneurs and investors.

 

How could participating in an angel conference impact or influence my IP or the potential for future IP?

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It is always good to discuss these kinds of issues with appropriate legal counsel, which you should do for a more definitive answer. Generally, this question applies narrowly to companies that are basing their IP strategy on patents, and that have not filed a provision, yet.

Disclosing a patentable idea, patent or any IP or potential IP is not a demand/requirement of any applicants participating in an angel conference or with angel investors in the early stages of an investment conversation. Startups should be somewhat cautious in what they present and we recommend you do not include anything that could be considered IP. Deeper discovery in the due diligence phase may require additional conversation about confidentiality or a non-disclosure agreement, which should be navigated using proper legal counsel or further consideration of potential consequences.

Angel Investors propel early-stage startups by investing money in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. The SBDC has generated an investment fund financed by local individual investors. Investors have strong involvement in the evaluation, due diligence, and selection process of AngelCon applicants leading up to the live event.

Contribute to our local economy by becoming an active investor and learn to spot  groundbreaking new business ventures and innovative technology.

Interested in joining Fund 6? Investor Informational Session will be held on Oct. 7th. Please email  to be put on the interest list.

Investor Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an angel investor?

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An angel investor is someone who invests money (capital) in a new business (start-up) in exchange for either debt (a loan that converts to shares of ownership in the future) or a piece of the company (shares of ownership/equity). When you invest with people you know or are related to that’s called a Friends and Family round. You will learn about rounds, and so much more, during the monthly AngelCon investor meetings. 

To be an “official” (accredited) angel investor, the SEC requires that you have a certain financial sophistication, whereby you understand the risks of investing in a start-up that may or may not succeed. (For more detail, see ‘Who can become an angel investor?’). An accredited investor is:

  • An individual who has a net worth, either individually or upon a joint basis with a spouse, of at least $1,000,000, or has had an individual income in excess of $200,000 for each of the two most recent years, or a joint income with spouse, or spousal equivalent, in excess of $300,000 in each of those years, and has a reasonable expectation of reaching the same income level in the current year. -OR-
  • An individual, who holds, in good standing, one of the following certifications or designations administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”):
  •  the Licensed General Securities Representative (Series 7), 
  • Licensed Investment Adviser Representative (Series 65), or 
  • Licensed Private Securities Offerings Representative (Series 82) -OR-
  • An individual, who is a “knowledgeable employee” within the meaning prescribed under Rule 3c-5(a)(4) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”) of a private fund exempt from registration pursuant to Rule 3(c)(1) or Rule 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act.

 More details can be found here

 

What do angel investors do?

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Besides providing capital, angel investors can assist a start-up in one of several other ways. An investor may have expertise/knowledge in a particular area that is meaningful to a company’s success. An investor might tap into their existing network of contacts to help a company by introducing them to people with expertise they need. An investor may be called upon by a contact in their network to help another company that they want to succeed. Over time you will become part of a community that helps one another.

 

Who can become an angel investor?

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You must qualify as an Accredited Investor to invest in companies beyond just friends’ and family companies. Accredited Investors must meet one of the criteria:

To qualify as an accredited investor based on your net worth, you must have a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding your primary residence); or

To qualify as an accredited investor based on your annual income, you must have had an annual income of $200,000 or greater (or $300,000 or greater combined income with your spouse) for the prior two years and have a reasonable expectation of the same or greater income in the current year.

To qualify as an accredited investor based on your work experience, you can be considered a “knowledgeable employee” who has a good understanding of the risks involved in angel investing.

The SEC states that the definition of accredited investor is “intended to encompass those persons whose financial sophistication and ability to sustain the risk of loss of investment or ability to fend for themselves render the protections of the Securities Act’s registration process unnecessary”.

 

What is an angel network?

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An angel network is an investment group made up of angel investors who pool their expertise to help select a group of early stage companies that are most likely to result in a successful return on investment.  This expertise may include providing feedback to companies that are presenting, participating in due diligence (researching the company team, market, financials, etc), and voting on the companies with the greatest likelihood of success. Investors invest independently from one another.

 

Does the AngelCon Fund have any minimum investment requirements or maximum capacities?

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In order to operate the Fund must have a minimum of 20 units purchased (see ‘What is a unit?’). An individual investor can have more than one unit. As an example, the Fund could have 26 investors with 7 units each or 91 investors with 2 units each, etc.

 

Are there fees in addition to my investment?

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There is one basic fee.

Service Fee of $1,000, which is part of the $6,000 per unit paid. This fee is earmarked to cover the cost of fund administration over the life of the Fund. Once all the units have been paid for, the Fund Manager establishes a budget for the maintenance for the lifetime of the Fund.

 

What are units?

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A unit is an investment of $5,000, plus a Service Fee of $1,000 ($6,000/unit total cost).  Investors can only invest by purchasing whole units (ie. One unit $6,000, two units $11,000, etc). The investment portion of the unit is what makes up the fund (see ‘What is a fund?’). 

Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is hosting its 6th Annual AngelCon – a competition in which local companies compete for $100,000+ in equity-backed funding.

We are looking for strategic partners who are serving or connected to the San Luis Obispo innovation ecosystem. The perfect fit is an organization who serves high growth businesses, is looking for a way to increase community engagement, and wants to contribute in a meaningful way.

Sponsorship packages can be customized to fit the unique needs of your organization, please reach out to angelconference@gmail.com today.

Thank you to our sponsors