ACA Recognizes Angel-Financed Innovation with the Prestigious Luis Villalobos Award at the Largest Summit of Angel Investing Post Pandemic

For Immediate Release 

Columbus, OH (May 20, 2024) – Recognizing the most ingenious and innovative companies recently financed by members of the Angel Capital Association, the prestigious Luis Villalobos Award was given on May 13, 2024, to two outstanding portfolio companies. Receiving the award were Ready. Set. Food!, an early allergen introduction system taking the Tech Category, and Deep Blue, a company transforming soft tissue surgery by developing next generation surgical devices to prevent soft tissue surgery failure in the Life Sciences Category.

“As investors, we were familiar with the issues involved with traditional mesh products. Despite initial skepticism, the knowledge of the team and understanding of how to tackle a complicated medical issue led us to participate in one of Deep Blue's earliest financing rounds, and then again in subsequent rounds. We are very proud that they are getting the recognition for their achievements and the enhanced patient care their products can provide," said Mark Friedman, co-founder of RTP Capital Associates and RTP Angel Fund.

The two category-winning companies were honored live during the annual awards ceremony at ACA’s 2024 Summit of Angel Investing, the leading annual event for angel investors.

Ready. Set. Food!, supported by the TCA Venture Group’s LA chapter, have been engaged with this angel investing group for more than five years. 

“We first invested in RSF not only because it checked the boxes for the important financial metrics, a dynamic management team, an innovative, proprietary product with strong intellectual property, and a large and growing global market opportunity, but also because its products would improve and potentially save lives.

When we first invested, RSF was effectively a one product company with a mission to protect babies from developing peanut, egg & milk allergies. Since then we've seen the company add additional products to grow with their consumers, with the introduction of various toddler snacks even adults love! Distribution has grown from online to also include major retailers as well as new moms who are Medicaid recipients,” said Ron Silverton, Executive Committee Member of the TCA Venture Group

This award honors Luis Villalobos, who founded the Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest and most respected angel organizations in the world, in 1997. Companies funded by Tech Coast Angels have raised more than $1 billion to date. He was a true “leading light” in the angel field, making 57 personal investments, educating numerous angels, and particularly in educating and mentoring entrepreneurs before he passed away in 2009. He was a sought-after expert and speaker about sophisticated angel investment. Luis appreciated ingenuity and entrepreneurial thinking in every aspect of life, and always looked to invest in and mentor the most innovative companies.

About the 2024 ACA Luis Villalobos Award Technology Winner: Ready. Set. Food!

Ready. Set. Food! is an allergen introduction system for babies. Their mission is to help babies have healthier futures, free from the limits of food allergies. They follow the latest USDA guidelines on food allergen introduction, and educate parents on the best way to achieve them in three guided stages. These stages offer exposure to peanut, egg, milk, cashew, almond, walnut, sesame, soy and wheat in foods.

2024 ACA Luis Villalobos Award Technology Winner: Deep Blue  

Deep Blue is transforming soft tissue surgery by developing next generation surgical devices to prevent soft tissue surgery failure. In the USA each year, 11% of 5M abdominal surgical site closings go on to become bulges called hernias and these need to be repaired. Further, ~611K abdominal hernia repairs suffer from a 32% long-term failure rate with a $10B annual cost. This failure in soft tissue surgery due to suture pull-through of tissue or mesh “cheesewiring” is unacceptably common, and is directly related to a lack of fast, reliable reinforcement that reduces tissue stress. This soft tissue surgery platform utilizes mesh extension sutures that distribute and reduce tension at the surgical site to reduce cheesewiring, reduce pain, and provide a quick, convenient surgical approach.

This award represents one of the many ways the ACA and its members fuel the success of innovative start-ups and honors Luis Villalobos, founder of TCA Venture Group (formerly Tech Coast Angels).

To learn more about Ready. Set. Food!, visit

To learn more about Deep Blue, visit

 For more information about the Luis Villalobos Award, visit

About the Angel Capital Association (ACA) 

The Angel Capital Association (ACA) is the professional association of angel investors across North America and offers education, best practices, data, public policy advocacy, and significant benefits and resources to its membership of more than 15,000 accredited investors, who invest individually or through its 250+ angel groups, accredited platforms, and family offices. Visit us online at . Contact: Dannielle Stewart, Marketing Director for the Angel Capital Association 720-496-3646, , for more information.