Knauss School of Business
Students at the University of San Diego’s Knauss School of Business. Courtesy of the university

The San Diego Angel Conference, a program at the University of San Diego’s Knauss School of Business, is launching a fund for its sixth angel conference program.

SDAC VI will offer guidance, education, resources, and valuable connections to early-stage companies seeking angel funding while engaging both first-time and experienced angel investors, according to a news release.

According to a news release, SDAC is collaborating with The Brink SBDC for the 15-week fall series.

This week, SDAC, along with partner San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange, will kick off the four-month-long program designed for early-stage company founders to develop and refine the fundamentals needed to seek angel investment.

During the series, founders will have weekly opportunities to network, gather resources, learn from experts and investors, and explore topics crucial for raising capital.

The E-Track concludes on Dec. 19 with companies competing for $200,000 in investments from 75 investors.

Additionally, SDAC will host an Alternative Funding Expo to explore non-traditional fundraising methods for new companies, including grants, crowdfunding, angel investing and venture capital.

Various funding organizations and accredited investors will be present to share information and engage with attendees.

SDAC is open to early-stage companies with the potential for a 10X return in five years.

New and experienced angel investors interested in joining the SDAC VI fund and participating in investor education, networking, and USD President’s Club events can find information and apply here. Investors will begin reviewing deals in February.

With 100 early-stage companies participating each year, SDAC says it has has become one of the nation’s largest angel investor conferences, investing $4.6 million in 17 portfolio companies over five years with more than $191 million in investments have been made to date.

Last year, Limber Prosthetics & Orthotics secured the top spot at SDAC V, receiving a $263,000 investment for a personalized 3-D-printed prosthetic leg.

Runners-up Relavo and Athletiverse were awarded funding amounts of $150,000 and $100,000, respectively.

According to Knauss Dean Tim Keane, SDAC “plays a pivotal role in connecting early-stage companies with angel investors, facilitating innovative solutions and wealth-building opportunities.”

The program is sponsored by C3 Bank, Mintz, Knobbe Martens, SDSU, Coeptus Law, Clearpoint Agency and UCSD, with investment amounts based on the total dollars raised.

The Brink SBDC, a specialty center of the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center Network, provides free one-on-one help to founders so that they can find capital to build their companies.

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And speaking of startups…La Jolla’s Arialys Therapeutics, which bills itself as a biotech pioneer in autoimmune neuropsychiatry therapies, has received $58 million in seed financing.

Investors include the company’s founding backers, Avalon BioVentures, Catalyst Pacific and MPM BioImpact, as well as Johnson & Johnson InnovationJJDC and Alexandria Venture Investments.

In a news release, the company said the funding will be used in the development of precision medicines aimed at blocking pathogenic autoantibodies in the central nervous system, expanding treatment options for neuropsychiatric disorders driven by autoimmunity.

Arialys CEO Jay Lichter said he was optimistic about recent scientific findings linking autoimmune activity to neuropsychiatric diseases.

He emphasized the company’s commitment to creating novel therapeutics and diagnostics by isolating and characterizing pathogenic autoantibodies in the CNS, potentially aiding millions of individuals afflicted by autoimmune-related neuropsychiatric disorders.

ART5803, Arialys’ lead therapeutic, is designed to combat autoimmune encephalitis, particularly ANRE, has shown promise in preclinical trials. By blocking NMDAR autoantibodies, ART5803 aims to reverse encephalitis and alleviate associated behavioral symptoms.

The FDA has granted orphan drug designation to the drug, ART5803 for ANRE treatment, a product originally acquired from Astellas Pharma.

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The use of parafluorofentanyl, an illicit synthetic opioid, is surging across the Western U.S., according to a news release from San Diego drug testing lab Millennium Health.

A company analysis of over 90,000 urine drug tests found that the use of the potent fentanyl analog has surged in the Western U.S.

The analysis showed that there were significant increases in the use of parafluorofentanyl in the Pacific (+61%) and Mountain (+170%) divisions between September 2022 and August 2023.

In contrast, there were significant decreases in the use in the West South Central, East North Central, East South Central, and South Atlantic divisions.

Millennium Health Chief Clinical Officer Angela G. Huskey warned of the recent Western surge, citing substantial increases in parafluorofentanyl-involved overdose deaths from 2020-2021.

She urged anyone concerned about illegal drug usage to seek help.

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The Forum Carlsbad, an outdoor shopping center in North County, has announced the addition of three stores to its tenant lineup. They are Nike by La Costa, Alo Yoga and McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

These new additions cater to the North County market, according to spokesman Ward Kampf. Nike by La Costa is now open, offering performance apparel, footwear and accessories in a 6,000-square-foot space.

Alo Yoga, a premium activewear brand, is also open and emphasizes a studio-to-street lifestyle.

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams opens this month. For more information, go to

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The 1000-plus room bay-front Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina will debut four new restaurants as part of a multi-million-dollar renovation.

Slated to open in early 2024 is Rumorosa, the first of the four new dining outlets. Rumorosa will highlight a fresh take on all-day drinking and dining infused with vibrant flavors and a touch of irreverence.

Planning is also underway for the forthcoming Brewery X craft beer pub, Sunglow Harborside Bar and Cabana Club, and Strada, a casual eatery and market.

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San Francisco Bay Area-based housing debt provider Techo Funding and Los Angeles-based nonprofit apartment building Impact Housing US say they have closed construction financing for a $57 million 324-unit multifamily project in San Diego.

The project at 6440 El Cajon Boulevard near San Diego State University will offer workforce housing for middle-income households earning between 60% and 120% of the area median income.

Impact Housing will supervise the project from sourcing and design to construction and management.

Impact Housing CEO Drew Orenstein emphasized his commitment to addressing San Diego’s housing needs, highlighting the benefits of building much-needed affordable housing close to the university and job centers.

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Finally another bit of encouraging news for the region’s retail economy…Seattle-based high-end clothing retailer Nordstrom is opening a 26,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack off-price in Clairemont Town Square next fall, according to a company news release.

With the addition of this new location and 10 other announced store openings, Nordstrom says it will operate 68 Nordstrom Rack stores and 22 Nordstrom stores operating in California.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to