Novice and experienced angel investors are invited to join USD’s seed funding program that has invested $4.1M in 14 promising early-stage companies since 2019

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AISan Diego Angel Conference (SDAC), a five-year-old University of San Diego (USD) Knauss School of Business Free Enterprise Institute program that activates accredited angel investors and engages promising early-stage companies, opened its 2023 fund. New and experienced angel investors are invited to learn more at

The low investment threshold of $7,000 and $5,500 for additional units is ideal for first-time angel investors who gain knowledge on how to evaluate investment-worthy startups and conduct due diligence. Experienced angel investors expand their network and gain access to robust deal flow. Through a series of optional investor education workshops and events, investors learn how to:

  • Analyze a company and its pitch
  • Perform due diligence
  • Close a deal
  • Manage post investment activities
  • Develop deal flow
  • Build awareness of bias and impact investing
  • Cultivate a network
  • Participate in syndicates with other angel investors

USD also invites SDAC angel investors to be part of its President’s Club, which includes a series of cultural and high-value networking opportunities.

SDAC is a seven-month program supported by USD that mentors over 100 early-stage companies through events and workshops that culminate in a one-day conference and pitch competition in April. With the winning company receiving about $200,000* and significant investments to the runners up in varied amounts each year, SDAC has become one of the largest programs in the country. See SDAC’s portfolio of investments.

Tripti Thakur, finance professional turned angel investor, says she joined SDAC two years ago to be part of democratized venture investing. “SDAC pulls together a divergent group of investors to fund world-changing ideas,” says Thakur. “It’s a ground-floor opportunity to get into an angel fund and judge business concepts on their merit and ability of the founders to build a profitable company. SDAC is welcoming, inclusive, and has taught me to be a better investor. Some of the startups we’ve funded have gone on to quickly raise millions more. It’s exciting to be at the genesis of their success.”

Investors can be as active or passive as they choose – participating in free angel investing workshops or investing in the fund passively. Regardless of experience level, investors gain a valuable network and benefit from knowledge shared among the group as they participate in fund decision-making. Contact SDAC V Fund Managers, Stacy Pena and Mysty Rusk to learn more here.

SDAC partners with over 25 organizations including top California universities: University of San Diego (USD), San Diego State University (SDSU), and University of California, San Diego (UCSD), to drive deal flow and mentor and support startups. SDAC has awarded more than $4.1M directly over four years. Program sponsors include USD, Mintz, SDSU, First Republic Bank, Coeptus Law, Aquillius, Clearpoint Agency, and UCSD.

SDAC Founder Mysty Rusk says, “Our objectives are to activate accredited investors, generate strong deal flow and ‘Get to yes!’. Due to our partnerships with leading California universities and dozens of venture funding and innovation ecosystem partners, we’re currently reviewing over 100 exciting early-stage companies that are seeking seed funding.”

*Actual amount invested depends on total dollars raised. Historically, investors have exceeded both the investment amount and number of companies funded.


Hilary McCarthy
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