Orange County Business Journal

Tech Coast Angels’ Investments Up

Jane Yu Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Irvine-based Tech Coast Angels today reported growth in the number of companies it provided with funding and the total amount of money it put into them last year.

The network of individual investors made a total of 37 investments in 2011, up 25% from the year earlier and almost 50% compared with 2009.

“We had 18 new investments in 2011,” Chairman Stephen Flaim said.

Tech Coast raised more than $45 million for its portfolio companies in 2011, up 80% from 2010, with about $11 million directly from members of the group.

The group counts roughly 300 members across five networks in Southern California.

Tech Coast invests in companies in a variety of industries, including biotechnology, retail, services, information technology, financial and consumer products.

Orange County companies that have received funding from Tech Coast include Irvine-based mobile phone application developer YouMail Inc., online lending software company ExtendCredit.com in Aliso Viejo, and Laguna Niguel-based SleepSafe Drivers Inc., which provides sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment for truckers.

“There are a lot of really innovative things going on here in Orange County with software, medical devices, Internet companies and so forth,” Flaim said. “Also a lot of companies have downsized, and there are a lot of good people who are basically free agents.”

The group has invested more than $119 million in entrepreneurial companies since beginning in 1997.

“If the quality of the deals that come to us in 2012 are the same as 2011, I would expect a continued growth,” Flaim said. “But there are people outside of TCA who are watching this too. It might be a bit more competitive for these good deals.”