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Apply now to PitchFest 2016!

APPLICATION DEADLINE  – Due October 21 at 5:00 p.m.

This is your chance to tell your story and gain valuable exposure – as well as cash and assistance from some of San Diego’s leading professional firms.

Make your pitch and take your chances!  Start-ups in San Diego are encouraged to apply to compete for fun and profit based upon their business plans, innovation, investor appeal and accomplishments.

A group of San Diego’s leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, professionals and investors will pick semi-finalists who will present to a panel of VC judges. The VCs determine which start-ups will make the pitch to our audience for fun and prizes!


On December 13th, the finalists will make their pitch to an audience of more than 400 who will decide the winners!  

Recent PitchFest winners have included Portfolium and Companion Medical You can be next!

To be eligible, you must not have raised more than $2.0M in capital and/or received $3.0M in grant funding. This event is open to companies in all fields. San Diego companies are preferred, we will consider companies from throughout Southern California.

Applications are due by Friday, October 21, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

SDVG and PitchFest are generously sponsored by:



Please note: PitchFest is an event for educational and entertainment purposes only and no company’s presentation should be construed as an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.  



Union Tribune: Feetz, SkySafe Among San Diego’s Cool Companies


By Mike Freeman
[email protected]  | Twitter @TechDiego

See original article here.

After a few frustrating hours shoe shopping, Lucy Beard walked into a Starbucks and ordered a grande mocha light with two pumps.

As she waited, it dawned on her that she could easily buy an elaborately customized cup of coffee. But she couldn’t purchase a pair of shoes customized to fit her feet.

That led Bread, a data scientist, to co-found Feetz. The startup uses 3D printers and a smartphone app to make customized shoes that take into account 22 dimensions of foot size and are accurate down to one or two millimeters.

“One in five people say (they) have trouble finding shoes that fit,” said Beard. “We have launched with customers. We have raised millions of dollars. Entrepreneur.com named us one of the companies to watch that is disrupting the whole footwear industry.”

Feetz is among 31 local start-ups make the Cool Companies by the San Diego Venture Group.


In August, the companies will meet privately with a couple of dozen Silicon Valley venture capitalists to pitch their businesses.

This is the second year that the San Diego Venture Group has arranged for a group of Silicon Valley venture capitalists to meet local startups. The 31 companies were selected from a list of 140 applicants because they were considered far enough along to receive initial or follow on rounds of investment.

“People complain about San Diego not being Silicon Valley, but I look at that a little differently,” said Mike Krenn, head of the San Diego Venture Group. “We are the closest tech city to that big pot of money and better positioned than any other city to the resources that are there. And we should leverage that.”

Krenn said last year’s event was successful not only in fund raising for the companies but also “in elevating the perception of our start-up community with these important investors.”

On June 7, 20 of the 31 Cool Companies will display their technology at Farmer & The Seahorse restaurant in Torrey Pines from 4 pm to 6:30 pm. The event is free to San Diego Venture Group members and $50 for non-members.

Among this year’s group is SkySafe, which has developed security technology that can take control of rogue drones. Founded by a team from MIT, the military and security research community, the company has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Co-Founder Grant Jordan, who worked with drones in the Air Force, said SkySafe’s radio frequency technology provides enforceable controls for the drone industry. It detects, identifies, tracks and takes control of drones when needed. The seven employee company is targeting airports, stadiums, prisons and critical infrastructure for use of its technology.

Other Cool Companies include: Approved, Brojure, Certona, CircleShout, Cloudbeds, CourseKey, CureMatch, Dermala, Forge Therapeutics, Fragmob, Leading Biosciences, LeadCrunch, LoanHero, Lymber, MindTouch, Ossic, Phluido, Robo 3D, Secured Universe, SparkFin, SweetLabs, Tourmaline Labs, Underground Elephant, Wildcat Discovery Technologies, Wrapify, XY Findables, Xycrobe Therapeutics, Zebit and Zingle.

Founded in 2013 in San Diego, Feetz has been based in Tennessee for the past two years after being lured there by government incentives, said Beard.

But six weeks ago, Feetz moved back to San Diego to be closer to its California-based investors and to access a larger talent pool of software and hardware engineers. It currently employs less than 20 workers. It raised $1.5 million last year and expects to announce a second, undisclosed funding round later this month.

The company designed its own 3D printers and uses environmentally sustainable materials to make its shoes. It has developed a free software app where customers take three pictures of their feet against a standard piece of paper. Feetz combines that data with height, weight, walking style and other information to make custom shoes. It has patents, trademarks and copyrights to protect its intellectual property.

It’s going slow for now, offering the $199 shoes to just 100 customers who have signed up. The company will use the experience from this initial phase to expand its offerings over time, said Beard.

“We are doing it in slow tranches because it is so disruptive that we are learning about the customers and they are learning about us,” she said. “It is translating the language of fit, learning the language of fit.”

[email protected] Twitter @TechDiego


Venture outlook for 2015 – Daily Transcript reports

SD’s venture scene strong but not without pitfalls

By KATHERINE CONNOR, The Daily Transcript

The key takeaway from San Diego Venture Group’s 2015 Venture Outlook is that the region has been performing fairly well by most measures compared to the overall venture capital industry, though there have been several downward trends over the last decade to keep an eye on.

David Coats, founder and managing director of Correlation Ventures, shared some data that’s never been publicly released before from the firm’s self-proclaimed most complete database of the U.S. venture capital market, which he said contains 98 percent of all VC financings since 1987.

Based on this data, San Diego companies have received about 5 percent of all the venture capital money that has been invested into U.S. companies over the last decade — $12 billion of the $242 billion total. That figure hit 6 percent in 2013 after falling to a low of 3 percent from 2007 through 2009.

And San Diego puts that money to work better than the industry as a whole. San Diego companies produced an average realized return for venture firms of 1.9 times investment, compared to the industry average of 1.7 times over the last decade. “Perhaps this is within the margin of error, but I’m calling it a win for San Diego,” Coats said.

That number hit three times investment in 2013 in San Diego, but the industry average has been catching up.

“If you look at the graph a little closer, there is a warning sign there though,” Coats said. “Our outperformance occurred primarily during the first half of the decade, and we underperformed slightly during the second half.”

San Diego deals in the top 10 percentile based on valuation also outperformed the industry, with a 4.5 times average over the last decade compared to a nationwide four times rate. Coats said this would be reversed when it comes to the top 1 percent of deals, since San Diego’s market doesn’t have many huge winners like Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) or Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR).

Another warning sign for San Diego is the region’s low capital efficiency, or amount required and raised by firms seeking VC money. This can be explained, in part, by the region’s unusually high concentration of biopharmaceutical companies, with 42 percent of all capital over the last decade going to this sector compared to 15 percent industry-wide.

“Last decade the average San Diego company raised $38 million prior to exit, compared to the industry average of $26 million — and that difference has grown over the last decade,” Coats said.

When they do exit, San Diego companies’ values are, on average, less than the overall industry’s at $94 million compared to $104 million, though Coats said when looking at only the top 10 percent of exits, San Diego actually beats the nationwide figure with $315 million compared to $240 million.

Interestingly, San Diego’s VC-backed exiting companies went public at a rate two times the industry average, at 12 percent during the last decade. Venture-funded firms that went out of business account for 43 percent of all exits in San Diego, compared to 40 percent nationwide.

Perhaps the most concerning data point deals with dollars raised: while $33 billion was raised industry-wide in 2014 — nearly double that of 2013 — Coats said San Diego-based VC firms accounted for very little of that.

A panel of VCs discussed several additional trends in the venture space and debated whether 2015 will see the busting of the industry’s third bubble — check back tomorrow for a recap of that discussion.