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Tech Coast Angels expands its business strategies to Italy

The Irvine-based investment group will share its methods at the upcoming TechNest conference.

by larry urishPublished: June 15, 2011

The successful practices of Irvine-based Tech Coast Angels (TCA), an angel investment group that teaches future entrepreneurs throughout Southern California about business operations and strategies, will be shared with the Old World, as TCA plans to take its model to Southern Italy through an agreement with Bridges to Italy, an Italian-American nonprofit.

To help facilitate this partnership, TCA Chairman Mike Napoli will discuss “Fundraising: Is Your Company Ready for U.S. Investors?” at TechNest, a conference at the University of Calabria (located in Rende, Italy) slated to take place Monday, June 20. The gathering was created to assist angel investors (individuals who furnish start-up money in exchange for future financial considerations) and other sources of capital in making inroads into Southern Italy’s high-tech business sector.

Tech Coast Angels, composed of some 250 members in five local groups located throughout the Southland, last year funded more than 30 new high-tech companies and invested an estimated $40 million.

Napoli’s talk will focus on such specialties as green energy, biotech and information technology, among other areas, as they relate to entrepreneurial funding options. He will share his knowledge by focusing on business models utilized by 15 research firms from throughout Southern Italy.

"I'm thrilled to speak with the top entrepreneurs and investors in Southern Italy and have the opportunity to help them understand the American funding process, the ways that start-ups are judged by investors and the issues angel investors look at in the U.S., so that I can help (conference) attendees improve their funding potential," said Napoli.

Everyone at TechNest is a member of Brains in Motion, created by Bridges to Italy to teach business efforts that have been successful in the U.S. The winner of a Brains in Motion competition, chosen by Tech Coast Angels members, will have the opportunity to present his or her business plans at networking events hosted by all five of TCA’s Southern California groups.

“Although venture capital and expertise are the key drivers of high-tech sector growth in the U.S., approaching top American investors is still a complicated process, especially for entrepreneurs based overseas," said Bianca Dellepiane, the founder and president of Bridges to Italy. “Complications grow exponentially for innovators based in Southern Italy, where networking opportunities are fewer, compared with elsewhere in Italy and (the rest of) Europe.”

In addition to Napoli, speakers at the TechNest conference will include Riccardo Barberi, technology transfer officer at the University of Calabria; Giovanni Latorre, the university’s provost; Renato Pastore, the president of Confindustria, an organization composed of Italian employers; and Domenico Quaglio, president of Bridges to Italy’s local branch.

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