The Luis Villalobos Award

Award Program    2022 Nomination Details    Winners 

Investor Nomination  Company Application

Honoring innovative companies funded by ACA members

The Luis Villalobos Award recognizes the most ingenious and innovative ideas recently financed by members of the Angel Capital Association. Two category winners will be selected to attend the ACA Summit and honored live and throughout the event. The award is presented to the winning CEOs during the annual awards ceremony at the 2022 ACA Summit (May 17-19, 2022). Companies in all investment sectors are invited to participate and will be considered for one of two Category Winner opportunities. The categories are:

  • Technology, Services, & Consumer: (Hardware & Software, Social Media, Web 2.0., Fintech, AgTech, etc.)
  • Life Sciences (Pharma, Med devices, HealthCare IT, Digital or Mobile Health, etc.)

This award honors Luis Villalobos, who 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 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.

Award winners have a strong track record of innovation and growth.  A testament to this is the significant acquisitions of three winners in August and September of 2016.  More information about the exits of winners in 2012, 2014, and 2015 is here, along with details from the investors' views for Assurex Health, EyeVerify, and RetroSense Therapeutics.



2022 Luis Villalobos Award Program

Two winning companies are selected and invited to attend the ACA Summit.  Both companies will be honored and the award will be presented at a special ceremony on during the ACA Summit - May 17-19, 2022.    

Benefits to 2022 Winning Companies: 

  • Comped (1) registration to the full 2022 ACA Summit (May 17-19, 2022)
  • Introduction of the company and your innovation to the full ACA 2022 in-person Summit audience on May 18, 2022
  • Access to an exhibit space throughout the event to facilitate connections & meetings with the investor attendees
  • PR for the company & nominating investor/s heralding the innovation and selection as a 2022 Luis Villalobos Award Winner.

Participation Costs: 

  • There are no costs to participate in this awards program.  
  • As noted above each Category winner is provided a complementary registration to attend the event, two nights at the venue hotel, and up to $500 in travel stipend

 

Nomination Details

The award is open to companies that have received funding from an ACA member / angel group between 2018 and 2022 and that are in operation when the application is submitted.  Companies in all investment sectors are invited to participate and will be considered for one of two Category Winner opportunities. The categories are:

  • Technology, Services, & Consumer: (Hardware & Software, Social Media, Web 2.0., Fintech, AgTech, etc.)
  • Life Sciences (Pharma, Med devices, HealthCare IT, Digital or Mobile Health, etc.)

Both the ACA member / group and company complete a short nomination form and is complete when both are received to Sarah Dickey via the nomination forms below or directly

Please provide: 

1) ACA Luis Villalobos Award - Angel Nomination  

AND

2) ACA Luis Villalobos Award - Company Application 

Timeline: 

  • Nominations are due by 5pm Central time on Friday, March 25, 2022
  • Companies may be contacted for a short discussion with the selection committee
  • Winning companies will be notified the week of April 11, 2022
  • Companies will be honored live during the May 17-19, 2022 ACA Summit

No nominations will be accepted after March 25, 5 pm Central.


2022 Winners

ACA Honors Angel-Financed Innovation with the Prestigious Luis Villalobos Award

Atlantic City, NJ (May 18, 2022) – Recognizing the most ingenious and innovative ideas recently financed by members of the Angel Capital Association, the prestigious Luis Villalobos Award was recently awarded to two companies disrupting their fields. Recognized were Healionics, a company making dialysis safer for those in kidney failure in the Life Sciences category, and Tilt, a company revolutionizing employee leave management in the workplace, in the Technology, Services and Consumer category.

“Tilt is a particularly compelling investment, given the founders’ direct experience with the problem they are trying to solve and now their model is extremely relevant, given the Great Resignation has companies seeking new ways to retain and manage employees,” said Cathy Connett, CEO of Sofia Fund, Tilt investor and nominator for the award.

The two category-winning CEOs were honored live during the annual awards ceremony at ACA’s 2022 Summit, the leading annual event for angel investors.

“In 2018, Healionics pitched to Mid Atlantic Bio Angels and we very quickly realized the strength of Mike Connolly and his team and their focus on tackling a very important unmet need in the dialysis area. When approved, their product will provide patients with an improved quality of life and lead to significant healthcare savings,” said Yaniv Sneor, Founder of Mid Atlantic Bio Angels and nominator for Healionics’ award.

2022 ACA Luis Villalobos Award Life Sciences Winner: Healionics

“Our team at Healionics is very grateful to be honored by this award as we pursue our goal of improving the lives of patients suffering from kidney failure,” said Mike Connolly, CEO & Chairman. 

Healionics aims to provide safer, more reliable bloodstream access for kidney failure patients needing regular dialysis. Their STARgraft synthetic blood vessel is designed to resist the infection and occlusion problems of current devices and thereby reduce the exorbitant treatment costs and high rates of illness and death among these patients. Human clinical studies of STARgraft are in progress. In addition, Healionics’ platform STAR biomaterial enables a diverse pipeline of future products.

2022 ACA Luis Villalobos Award Technology Winner: Tilt

“Tilt is passionate about delivering tech with a human touch to deliver a positive leave of absence experience for all, and we're beyond ecstatic to be supported by our investors and recognized by the ACA with the Luis Villalobos Award,” said Jen Henderson, CEO & Founder of Tilt.

Tilt’s approach to managing leaves for employers and employees dramatically reduces the friction, blind spots, stigmas and unintended legal risks prevalent in today’s archaic leave of absence processes. In addition to the Sofia Fund, Tilt’s investors included several other ACA member groups including Rockies Venture Club, Nebraska Angels and Portland Seed Fund.

This award represents one of the many ways the ACA and its members fuel the success of innovative start-ups and honors Luis Villalobos, founder of Tech Coast Angels.

To learn more about Healionics.

To learn more about Tilt.

2022


Past Winners

 

2021
2021
 
2020
2020