Where Tech Coast Angels Tread, And Why

12/24/08Follow @xconomy

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to make two investments a year for about $25,000 apiece, and get involved with due diligence and joining company boards. The group will put in as little as $200,000 into a company, or as much as $1.5 million to $2 million, Florio says. Like a venture capital firm, the group puts a heavy emphasis on outlining short-term milestones companies need to reach to create the sort of value that will lead to the next round of investment.

“We think our money, contacts, and expertise will enable companies to raise that next round of venture capital,” Florio says.

About one-fourth of the members of the group turn over each year for one reason or another, usually because they run short on time, Florio says.

Apparently, there’s an ample supply of people willing to fill those openings, because of all the veterans from Qualcomm, Hybritech, other pioneering companies from the San Diego area, Florio says. There are probably 30 to 40 people like himself, retired from Eli Lilly, in the San Diego area alone, looking to stay active. Combined with the research centers at the University of California, San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, and San Diego State University, he doesn’t see any shortage of promising ideas for angel investment, or people willing and able to back them.

“You really have a collaborative environment here,” Florio says. “It’s much more collaborative than other places I’ve been.” He added, “For us, this is really about making something happen in the community. We want to see San Diego grow, and we want to be a part of it.”

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