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Winners of Pismo Ventures' National Venture Plan Competition


Inaugural Event Provided Startup Businesses Unprecedented Access to Venture and Investment Industry Experts Pismo Ventures

IRVINE, Calif. December 15, 2020 – Terecircuits, GroGuru and ExpressCells named as winners in inaugural National Venture Plan Competition (NVPC) by Pismo Ventures, which provided unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime access for 197 startups to more than 160 investors, from 42 VCs and Angel investment groups serving as competition judges.

“Our goal was to provide a truly unique competition for startup businesses unlike any that has happened before, launching an event like this, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic makes it even more impactful,” said JJ Richa, CEO of Pismo Ventures and the founder of the NVPC. The competition started as an alternative to traditional venture competitions, where the value is in the competition awards. Pismo Ventures created an event filled with value and benefits for competitors from the beginning to well beyond completion of the competition through connections fostered with judges and an industry-leading expert webinar series made available to all participants. “What made our event special was the opportunity for all contestants and spectators to connect with high-level investors, normally it would take years to foster,” said Richa. “A huge thank you to our sponsors, judges and investor groups. This event would not have been successful without their participation.”

All virtual and online, the NVPC started on July 22, 2020 with 197 contestants from categories including, B2B, B2C, software, hardware, life sciences, medical, healthcare, Cleantech, FinTech, AI, blockchain, robotics, digital solutions, media, e-sports, government, military, education, sports, etc. Contestants competed in three rounds.

The top 100 startups advanced from the first round, the second round advanced the top 10 contestants to the third round who were allowed 12-minute live pitches, followed by a 12-minute Q&A session with event judges, leading to the announcement of the competition winners.

1st Place: Terecircuits, provides next gen materials and processes for advanced display manufacturing. “I want to thank both the judges and the organizers for running a top-notch competition. From the webinars to the insightful feedback, this was well worth the investment for all the participants. The finalists were all supremely qualified, and I am humbled that the judges selected Terecircuits for the top honor.” Wayne Rickard, CEO.

2nd Place: GroGuru – Specializes in strategic irrigation management for commercial farming. “GroGuru was honored to be selected as the winner in the Cleantech category and second overall. NVPC provided priceless education and great exposure for future potential investments.” Patrick Henry, CEO.

3rd Place: ExpressCells – Leverages proprietary gene-editing tools creating custom knock-in cell lines. “ExpressCells was thrilled to be part of the NVPC. We received great feedback from the judges and the program could lead to significant investment in our company.” Matthew Handel, CEO.

Investors judging the NVPC agreed it was a huge success for an inaugural event. Many found it was well organized and brought together quality companies worthy of their investment. Investors have already committed time and resources to working with participants. “Tech Coast Angels was pleased to participate to stimulate its deal flow, to connect with investors across the nation, and to boost exposure of its existing portfolio companies,” said David Friedman, TCA OC, President. For more information, visit

About Pismo Ventures

Pismo Ventures is a venture studio that invests resources, provides proven business strategies, develops high-end technology solutions, and facilitates funding for startups. Our approach and experience help startups minimize risk and increase their likelihood of success. For more information, visit, join our newsletter and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

SOURCE: Pismo Ventures 

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