Angel Capital Association Announces Award Finalists For Startup Innovation And Ingenuity


Which of the thousands of startups funded by the 12,000+ members of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), the world's leading professional association for angel investors, will win the coveted Luis Villalobos Award?  It will be one of these three just announced finalists: ActX (Seattle), GroundMetrics (San Diego), and RetroSense Therapeutics (Ann Arbor, MI).  These companies will be honored and the winner will be announced in a special awards ceremony on April 15th at the world’s largest gathering of angel investors, the 2015 ACA Summit taking place in San Diego. The award is named in memory of Luis Villalobos, who angel investors nationwide admired for actively investing in and mentoring ingenious, creative and innovative startups.

“These finalists are at the top of their game and represent the pinnacle of startup innovation and ingenuity,” said ACA Executive Director Marianne Hudson. “Each company is representative of the strong leadership driving the type of innovation that ACA’s 12,000+ angel investor members look for when selecting companies to financially support and mentor.”

ActX offers an Allscripts integrated solution available today that delivers the actionable, evidence based information physicians need, in a way they can trust. The ActX Service is designed for the workflow of busy practices. With ActX, physicians can partner with patients to give them better-informed care, based on genetics.

Dan Rosen, Alliance of Angels, explained his ActX nomination, “Andy Ury, founder and CEO, exemplifies the innovative spirit of the award. He understood the impact of genetic analysis and combined that with his medical background and knowledge of electronic medical records (EMR), to create a new service that will benefit society and could potentially be life-saving because it takes genetic information and makes it actionable.”

GroundMetrics, a world leader in land-based electromagnetic technologies, provides advanced survey and monitoring services directly to oil, gas, and geothermal companies, as well as carbon sequestration organizations. The company’s sensor systems provide high fidelity data and full-field models that are unlocking new applications in the energy market.

Nominated by Tech Coast Angels member Jonathan Moss who explained, “The Company’s patented technology improves drilling accuracy and increases oil recovery from existing wells with sensors that are 100 times better than older designs. The result is an industry first –oil can be produced safely while completing underground surveys. Previous methods necessitated closing production and in some cases physically taking the oil well offline.  In addition to other innovations, the company designed and built what an industry expert recently described as, the best inversion capability in the world.”

RetroSense Therapeutics, is a biotechnology company developing life-enhancing gene therapies designed to restore vision in patients suffering from blindness due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and advanced dry age-related macular degeneration (advanced dry-AMD). There are currently no FDA approved drugs to improve or restore vision in patients with these retinal degenerative conditions.

On why RetroSense Therapeutics received their nomination, Ken Kousky of Blue Water Angels said, “Advanced gene therapy is not an easy field for angel investors or underfunded entrepreneurs, but Sean Ainsworth and the founders of the company have simply stayed focused on their campaign to restore sight.  If the VCs said they wanted more data before they would fund, the company didn’t stop, they went forward with angels. This is extraordinary for optogenetics, a field that assumes a long slow costly clinical process for angels to be this close to actual proof of concept.”

In addition to the Luis Villalobos award, on April 15th ACA will also announce the coveted Hans Severiens Award, honoring the individual whose work has most advanced the field of angel investing.

About Angel Capital Association (ACA)

The Angel Capital Association is the leading professional and trade association focused on fueling the success of accredited angel investors and portfolio companies in high-growth, early-stage ventures. ACA is the voice of the angel industry, providing comprehensive services in support of members working in angel groups, through portals and individually. ACA provides professional development, public policy advocacy and significant benefits and resources to its membership of 220 angel groups and more than 12,000 individual accredited investors. www.angelcapitalassociation.org; @ACAAngelCapital; ACAAngelSummit.

About Luis Villalobos

Luis Villalobos founded the Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest and most respected angel organizations in the world, in 1997. Companies funded by Tech Coast Angels have raised more than $1 billion to date. He was a true “leading light” in the angel field, making 57 personal investments, educating numerous angels, and particularly in educating and mentoring entrepreneurs before he passed away in late 2009. He was a sought-after expert and speaker about sophisticated angel investment. Luis appreciated ingenuity and entrepreneurial thinking in every aspect of life, and always looked to invest in and mentor the most innovative companies.

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