July 2, 2024
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Agriculture, medical tech win big at AngelCon


The winning AngelCon 2022 teams, AcreCloud and NovoCuff, celebrating after their win.

San Luis Obispo-based AcreCloud won $135,0000 in cash at the fifth annual AngelCon April 21, hosted by The Cal Poly Center for Innovation for Entrepreneurship Small Business Development Center.

AcreCloud was one of two agriculture technology companies in this year’s six-group lineup, specializing in a farm-management platform that gives growers and contractors customized control over their operations, extensive auditing capabilities, and access to new products. It is similar to what Carpinteria-based Procore does for the construction industry.

Jim Cogan, the company’s co-founder and chief operating officer, said in a LinkedIn post that AcreCloud will now look to launch its new product ACREpay, which will ensure accurate pay for farmworkers, reduce administrative costs for farmers, and ensure regulatory compliance for farm labor contractors.

The finalists in this year’s AngelCon fought for a record-large sum for the event, as the Center for Innovation raised $205,000 from 28 total investors. The remainder of the money was awarded to the runner-up of the event, another SLO-based company, NovoCuff.

NovoCuff is a medical-device company that is designing a “minimally invasive, non-surgical device” to help prevent premature birth.

According to the company’s website, preterm labor is the leading cause of death for infants under the age of 1, with the World Health Organization saying there were about 1 million deaths related to preterm birth complications in 2015.

All six of the finalists have local ties to the Central Coast, with five of them either based in San Luis Obispo County or with operations there, and the other based in Santa Barbara.

The other companies that were competing included TRIC Robotics, which was awarded $1,350 for winning the audience’s choice award. TRIC provides farmers with a chemical-free alternative to pesticides and has worked closely with farms based in Santa Maria and SLO County.

Other competitors included ARTIFEX Technologies, which works in the construction industry, and is building a custom measuring tool that converts distance measurements taken on-site by construction professionals into computer-aided design-ready floor plans; NEXT Life Sciences develops and distributes medical technology that empowers people to choose when and if to have a child; and Milo Sensors, the only Santa Barbara-based company in this year’s event, a medical device company that has created a device called ION Wearable, “the first discrete continuous alcohol monitor, providing continuous support and accountability.”

“After two years of AngelCon being a virtual event, we were so thankful to have the companies, the investors and the business community available to finally attend in person,” Judy Mahan, CIE Economic Development Director, said in a press release. “The combination of Medtech and Agtech winning the event truly speaks to the innovation that our business community is fostering here in Central California.”