Angel Funders Report 2021 - Flipbook - Page 42
Powerful Product Combined with a
World-Class Team Drives 5x Return
Pitch competitions, like those held at ACA events throughout the
year, are a great source for new and promising deals. Tech Coast
Angels’ San Diego network met the founder of Discover Echo at its
2016 Quick Pitch competition, kicking off a successful relationship
that resulted in a big payday the company and its investors.
Tech Coast Angels were very impressed with the technology and the team
behind Discover Echo’s Revolve microscope—the company was awarded
the Grand Prize at the competition, with a cash prize of $15,000.
TCA went on to generate one of the largest initial funding seed rounds in the
network’s history for Discover Echo (then called Echo Labs): $2 million in less
than two months, leveraging the deep life sciences expertise from TCA members
during due diligence. Dean Rosenberg (the TCA member that lead the diligence)
joined the Board to help guide the success of the company. “In the early days,
we were really excited about Eugene and his vision,” said Dean Rosenberg, who
also served as TCA deal lead across all three investment rounds. “As time went
on, we saw that vision turn to execution as Discover Echo’s expanded product
line was adopted by some of the most respected names in the industry.”
“The core of our team is based around sales experience in this industry.
When we saw this market opportunity, we were able to pull together a
great engineering team, which built a great product. Once we started to
showcase it, it was a very easy value proposition,” said CEO Eugene Cho in an
interview. “You have to have a real, keen understanding of how the product is
commercially viable, and have a commercialization strategy to be successful.”
Over the past five years, Discover Echo has gone from strength to
strength, launching two more innovative microscopy products and
raising two additional rounds of funding in 2018 and 2020. In total,
TCA members invested $2.9 million across the three financing rounds,
but helped raise a total of over $14 million in those rounds.
40 | Portfolio Companies
Introducing new, disruptive
products to an entrenched
market is hard enough—but
macro events also required
the team to navigate other
challenges, like the China tariffs
and the COVID pandemic."
“We were also impressed with Eugene and his
team. Introducing new, disruptive products
to an entrenched market is hard enough—
but macro events also required the team to
navigate other challenges, like the China tariffs
and the COVID pandemic,” said Rosenberg.
Cellink approached them in late 2020. At the
time, the company wasn’t for sale. “Eugene
and our board of directors almost dismissed
Cellink’s initial interest, but that interest turned
into action and we were able to complete a
transaction that was a win for all,” explained
Rosenberg, selling the company to Cellink
(now BICO Group AB) for $110M in July 2021.
TCA members who invested received an all-cash return, earning up
to 5x their investment. With a total of $2.9 million invested by TCA
members, that translates into a combined gain for TCA members
across all rounds of over $9.4 million (or 4.2x overall.) The company
will retain its local office San Diego office and Eugene Cho will
continue to drive the business, a sure sign for a bright future.
Angel Funders Report 2021 | 41