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CONNECT

Innovative companies encouraged to submit in the thirteen competition categories from May 1 through September 1

CONNECT, a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors, announced today that nominations will open for the annual Most Innovative New Product (MIP) Awards on May 1. The MIP Awards is a CONNECT signature event, held annually in December, honoring the celebrities of innovation along with groundbreaking new products launched within the past year.

“In the past few years we’ve seen a proliferation of new types of products and new sectors under development in San Diego’s thriving innovation community,” said Greg McKee, CEO of CONNECT. “To reflect this growth, we’ve expanded our categories of innovation awards and the criteria for this year’s Most Innovative New Product Awards to ensure that we are showcasing the broadest spectrum of cutting-edge new products in life sciences and technology. Expanding MIP in this manner further serves our mission by providing an excellent competition and visibility for the companies and products who enter MIP.”

Both the categories and the judging criteria have been updated for the 2016 Most Innovative New Product Awards this year. Nominations will be accepted in the following thirteen categories: Bluetech; Cleantech, Sustainability, & Energy; Cyber Security; Defense, Aerospace, & Transportation; Information Communication Technologies; Life Science Diagnostics & Research Tools; Life Science Products – Clinical Stage; Medical Devices; Mobile Apps; Pharmaceutical Drugs & Biologic Therapies; Robotics & Unmanned Vehicles; Software & Digital Media; and Sport & Active Life Style Technologies. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony dinner on December 1, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.

The new eligibility requirements are as follows:
– The product must have been first introduced after January 1, 2014 and never before selected as an MIP Award finalist.
– The product must have generated revenue from sales (exception for free mobile apps and companies submitting for the Life Science Products – Clinical Stage category).
– If selected as a Semi-Finalist, a senior company representative must attend and present at the Final Judging Panel (October 2016 TBA).
– If selected as a Finalist, a senior company representative must attend the awards dinner on December 1, 2016.

For more information or to submit a nomination online, please visit the CONNECT event page for MIP Submissions after May 1.

ABOUT CONNECT
CONNECT is a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. By creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and C-suite executives have access to the people, capital, and technology resources they need for success, CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies since 1985. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful organizations linking entrepreneurs and C-suite executives with the resources they need for the commercialization of innovative products and services; our program has been modeled in more than 50 regions around the world.

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– Four San Diego-based startups accepted to program for fundraising assistance –

CONNECT-hi-resSAN DIEGO (March 8, 2016) – CONNECT, a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that helps create and scale companies in the technology and life sciences sectors, has announced that four local startups – Fragmob, GRI Bio, Guru, and Jaan Biotherapeutics – have been accepted into its brand new CapitalMatch program. Born out of CONNECT’s commitment to support San Diego’s innovation economy and a real need in the community, CapitalMatch aims to facilitate introductions between investors and investment-ready companies in the tech and life science sectors. CapitalMatch is paving the way for local startups to receive the funding they need to thrive.

“Our goal with CapitalMatch is to develop relationships with a large network of investors across the country. We work to understand their investment interests and then introduce them to the vetted San Diego companies that meet their investment criteria,” said Shawn Richardson, Senior Director, Match Programs at CONNECT. “We believe that being a part of the CapitalMatch program will be impactful for Fragmob, GRI Bio, Guru, and Jaan Biotherapeutics as they raise capital in the coming months.”

Fragmob, GRI Bio, Guru, and Jaan Biotherapeutics are the first companies to pass the vetting process of the CapitalMatch program. As CapitalMatch companies, they will now be supported with a variety of introductions and interactions with suitable potential investors.

CONNECT is pleased to introduce the first CapitalMatch companies:
· Fragmob: An international mobile sales automation software provider, Fragmob instigates action through technology that enables Direct Selling companies to realize the benefits of a powerful mobile solution. The Fragmob mobile platform drives Direct Selling sales reps towards the most focused, effective actions for their business in real-time and delivers actionable metrics so clients and users can achieve higher sales in less time. Raised funding will provide working capital as Fragmob builds its team to meet the growth in new clients and execute upon a strong sales pipeline.
· GRI Bio: GRI Bio is a clinical stage drug development company targeting NKT cells to treat various inflammatory diseases including liver disease and autoimmune conditions. Its lead asset, GRI-0621 is currently in a Phase IIA study with a targeted indication of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The Company is currently seeking equity financing to fund a Phase IIB, proof of concept trial that would complete in late 2017.
· Guru: Guru is revolutionizing the way visitors experience museums acting as the technological bridge to the 21st century audience. Utilizing beacon technology, Guru creates a customized app for each museum that turns the ever-present smartphone into a personal concierge, expert tour guide, map and interactive tool that connects the visitor with the museum. Guru is in the process of raising $750,000 with $500,000 still open.
· Jaan Biotherapeutics: Jaan Biotherapeutics L.L.C. (JBT) is a life science company that is focused in developing first-in-class therapies that regenerate damaged heart muscle and could potentially treat heart disease, the largest single cause of death in the world. Heart disease does not discriminate by gender or race and is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Their fundraising efforts will assist in developing new treatments for heart disease.

For more information on CONNECT, please visit www.connect.org. To see how your investment-ready company may get involved with CONNECT’s CapitalMatch program, please contact Shawn Richardson at srichardson@connect.org.
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ABOUT CONNECT
CONNECT is a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. By creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and C-suite executives have access to the people, capital, and technology resources they need for success, CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies since 1985. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful organizations linking entrepreneurs and C-suite executives with the resources they need for the commercialization of innovative products and services; our program has been modeled in more than 50 regions around the world.

– Brand new FrameWorks workshop series focused on preparing start-ups to pitch for capital –

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 3, 2016) – CONNECT, a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that helps create and scale companies in the technology and life sciences sectors, has announced the start of its FrameWorks CapitalMatch education track. The FrameWorks CapitalMatch series will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and their mentors to learn more about the fundamentals of executing early stage investment deals. The introductory workshop, Angel Investing Basics for the Start-up Community, will provide content essential for start-ups seeking capital by the Angel Resource Institute and will be held on Wednesday, February 24 at CONNECT’s headquarters in University City.

“Presenting this new education series is a natural next step for us as we work to identify and create ways to support the fundraising efforts of start-ups in San Diego,” said Shawn Richardson, Senior Director, Match Programs at CONNECT. “So many of our Springboard companies, mentors, and entrepreneurs in residence (EIRs) are in the program getting ready to raise capital, so we are proud to be able to provide relevant and instructive information to prepare them for the discussions and issues they will experience in their capital raising efforts.”

Angel Investing Basics for the Start-up Community, presented by Troy Knauss and Susan Preston of the Angel Resource Institute, is designed for entrepreneurs and their mentors who want to be prepared for raising early-stage investment capital. This full-day seminar provides a sweeping overview of how the angel investing process works. The workshop is an interactive classroom style format that includes presentations, a panel discussion, and case studies.

Angel Investing Basics for the Start-up Community covers the following topics:

An overview of angel investing
Due diligence
Valuation of early stage companies
Term sheets
How to connect to angels

Event details are as follows:

When:
· Wednesday, February 24, 2016
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where:
CONNECT
4790 Eastgate Mall, Suite 125
San Diego, CA 92121

Cost:
· Pre-registration (available until February 22, 11:59pm): $500; $250 for current and graduated Springboard companies and current CONNECT ERIs
· Registration (after February 23): $500 for all

Additional topics that will be covered in the 2016 series include Pitching to Investors, Valuation of Early Stage Companies, Trends in Raising Capital, Due Diligence, Term Sheets, Capitalization Tables, Post Investment and Boardroom, and Early Stage Exits. All courses will be taught by the Angel Resource Institute, which was started by the Kaufman Foundation.

To register for the event, click here. For more information on CONNECT, please visit www.connect.org.

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ABOUT CONNECT
CONNECT is a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. By creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and C-suite executives have access to the people, capital, and technology resources they need for success, CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies since 1985. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful organizations linking entrepreneurs and C-suite executives with the resources they need for the commercialization of innovative products and services; our program has been modeled in more than 50 regions around the world.

ABOUT THE ANGEL RESOURCE INSTITUTE (ARI)
Founded in 2006 as part of the evolution of earlier efforts to encourage and support angel investing by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and leaders of angel groups across the United States. The real value of ARI’s content comes from the Kauffman Foundation and the collective experience and best practices of thousands of individual investors and angel investment groups. They also leverage our strong partnership with the Angel Capital Association (ACA) and their 190 members who represent 8,000 individual investors.

Startup Class for Chula Vista 7th Graders Kicks Off With Tours and Demos by Local Entrepreneurs
StartupCircle

February 15, 2013 – San Diego, CA –  With a first-of-its-kind Startup Class for middle school, 56 students from High Tech Middle Chula Vista school began the 7-week course by visiting with local CEOs and Startup Founders in downtown San Diego.

The class was created by Michael Klein, 7th Grade Humanities Teacher at High Tech Middle Chula Vista, who designed the curriculum as a startup classroom with field trip experience to help students understand what it is like to create and operate a startup enterprise.  The class culminates in a student idea pitch competition on March 21 at the Festival del Sol Exhibition.

On Wednesday, Feb 13, the students visited Co-Merge Workplace and the headquarters of TakeLessons where they met with Founders, CEOs, Principals and even university interns, all operating leading San Diego startups.

The tour was organized by StartupCircle, a regional business organization, whose founder Robert Reyes, explained: “We are dedicated to helping local startups grow but also to growing the talent within our region.  This is why it is a priority for us to work with local educational centers from the universities, to middle schools and even the elementary students.  The entire circle of education, growth and collaboration must include our youth.”

Steven Cox, Founder and CEO of TakeLessons, explained personal and business concepts to the students like: “Failing is actually important!”

“It’s really tough to get it right the first time,” he said and shared how recognizing and accepting failure quickly is key to correcting your course and finding success.  He illustrated this “try and try again” approach through challenges he faced with his band, his past business endeavors and even the initial launch and growth of TakeLessons.

TakeLessons is in the news this month for raising an additional $4 million of venture capital funding, bringing the company’s total to $12 million since 2006.  The startup has paid out over $10 million to music teachers who serve students in more than 3,000 cities.  Steven was joined by TakeLessons Chief Revenue Officer, Alan Cole, who also included motivational tips along with business information for the students, before giving the students a tour of the offices overlooking Petco Park, the music room and chance to sign the Music Wall.

Founder and Managing Partner of Co-Merge Workplace, Michael Kenny, greeted the students at his facility, noting that many of the people the students would see working in the open space area were running successful startups and enterprises with nothing more than a laptop and a mobile phone!

After a tour of Co-Merge, the students broke out into groups to receive demos and presentations from the following startups:

Kathryn Cloward, Founder and CEO of Natural Kidz and Kandon Unlimited, a serial entrepreneur whose first startup, GuardianFoods, grew to over $16 million in sales in six years.  Kathryn shared her journey launching businesses after not believing as a child that she was “the creative type.”  She discussed emerging startup trends, such as crowdfunding, having just launched an Indiegogo campaign for her children’s book character ‘Kathryn the Grape‘ which aims to be the next Dora the Explorer.

Gabriela Dow, StartupCircle Partner and Chief Marketing Officer of Locbit, described how the one-year old startup with a 25-year old CEO has quickly risen to serve accounts like the PGA Tour.  She introduced UCSD student interns Esther Kim, Mithran Ramanathan and Alex Chun who described to the 7th graders the importance of internships and working for startups along the career path.

Founders from AquaLogix and Mila Flats also led sessions.  As Hugo Gonzales, Founder of Mila Flats explained, “the students impressed all entrepreneurs with their questions and pitch ideas.”

Many of the 7th graders took notes on their smart phones and asked about marketing strategies and funding sources, and described their ideas for launching new companies.  It was clear to everyone that participated in the tour that this StartupClass is off to a great start.

Even the parent chaperones were affected.  One wiped a tear from her eye after hearing Cloward’s motivational words for the young girls in particular.  “I remember how tough it was to launch my own business,” said the mother of a 7th grader, “and she put me right back there in those early days.”  She recalled not having a startup class or much support back then, but is thrilled to have her son now participate in this program.

Steve Cox reiterated the value of the experience for the startup founders as well.  “Our mission at TakeLessons is to make a positive lasting impact on the lives we touch.  Spending a morning with the kids from High Tech Chula Vista gave us the opportunity to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs and to inspire them to be extraordinary.”

“Programs like this are an amazing way for kids to realize their unique potential and we’re so glad we got to be a part of it,” he concluded.

Steven Cox, Take Lessons Founder, filmed by local news with Startup Class students.

Steven Cox, Take Lessons Founder, filmed by local news with Startup Class students.

Kathryn Cloward demos the "Kathryn the Grape" Indiegogo app campaign as 7th graders take notes on crowdfunding options using their mobile phones.

Kathryn Cloward demos the “Kathryn the Grape” Indiegogo app campaign as 7th graders take notes on crowdfunding options using their mobile phones.

Locbit interns Esther Kim and Alex Chun describe to students how the startup CEO and founder is only 25 years old and is serving clients like the PGA Tour.

Locbit interns Esther Kim and Alex Chun describe to students how the startup CEO and founder is only 25 years old and is serving clients like the PGA Tour.

Contact Gabriela Dow gabriela@startupcircle.com for copies of these and more photos, a copy of the class curriculum and interview requests.