Tech Coast Angels Makes First Investment From New Fund

2/14/11Follow @bvbigelow

Southern California’s Tech Coast Angels said today its new Angel Capital Entrepreneurial (ACE) Fund 1, which was formed last year as an alternative investment vehicle for early stage startups, has made its first investment—in Vokle, an Internet startup in the Los Angeles area.

The fund is not announcing how much capital it has raised so far, according to former Tech Coast Angels (TCA) chairman Dave Berkus, who spearheaded the effort. “We are working to add accredited or institutional investors from outside of TCA,” Berkus writes in an e-mail to me today. “The Fund successfully closed its TCA round (although members may still invest, but must be approved [on a] case-by-case by the Fund’s executive committee).”

As Berkus explained in a presentation to San Diego’s TCA last July, the fund is overseen by a board of trustees elected from the TCA membership. Entrepreneurs and startup founders seeking funding are screened and brought before the membership by an elected, five-member deal committee. The fund invested $80,000 as a “trial” investment in Vokle, which Berkus says is the only startup to get ACE funding so far.

Santa Monica, CA-based Vokle, founded in 2008, has developed an online event platform that allows anyone to produce a live, town hall-style video event with multiple video participants.

“We expect the Fund to make between 10-12 investments (at higher amounts) retaining reserves for secondaries,” Berkus says. “This number may increase based upon success in a subsequent raise with outside investors.”

One of the purposes of the ACE Fund 1, Berkus says in a statement from the TCA, is that it “gives us more fire power and the ability to move quickly on what we evaluate as excellent business opportunities.” In fact, he says the Fund’s investment in Vokle was completed in seven days.

TCA members can pool their resources and invest collectively through the ACE Fund 1 in the same deals that are presented at chapter meetings. In other words, TCA members can invest individually in a startup, as they always have, or collectively through the ACE Fund 1.

The TCA says entrepreneurs interested in obtaining funding from the ACE Fund 1 should follow the standard TCA application process, which calls for going to the TCA website and following the steps.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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