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Tech Coast Angels: Investments jump in 2010

And one company exec says 2011 is 'shaping up to continue on this upward trend.'

By Kristen SchottPublished: February 22, 2011 02:40 PM

Irvine-based Tech Coast Angels experienced an increase in investments in 2010 – and one company exec believes it's a good sign for the year ahead.

The angel investment network funded 31 deals last year, up from 24 in 2009. The transactions included 12 new transactions and 19 follow-on – or continuing – investments in a number of startup businesses. In total, TCA raised more than $40 million in funding for its entrepreneurial companies.

TCA is the largest network of its kind in the U.S., and its more than 250 members provide funding and guidance to more early-stage firms in Southern California than any other investment group.

"The entrepreneurial community in Southern California is growing dramatically, and Tech Coast Angels is committed to identifying the brightest, most innovative new companies and fostering their growth through both capital investment and mentoring leadership," said Mike Napoli, chairman of the network. "Already, 2011 is shaping up to continue on this upward trend."

TCA attributes its continued success to its work to speed up and simplify the angel-funding process for entrepreneurs, and the addition of new events and programs that help startups connect with the network's members, among other efforts, said Napoli.

"This past year was a dynamic time in our history," he said. "Coming out of an economic recession, we turned the tide and invested in more innovative, game-changing entrepreneurial companies and experienced several profitable exits."

Among its noteworthy deals last year: an initial public offering for Monrovia-based Green Dot Corp., which generated more than 100 times the return for early investors; SDL's $42.5 million purchase of Los Angeles-based Language Weaver Inc.; and an initial public offering for San Diego-based Trius Therapeutics. Companies funded by TCA in 2010 included Encino-based Cyber-Rain; La Jolla-based MicroPower Technologies; Long Beach-based Bikestation; and Irvine-based YouMail.

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