The ANTrepreneur Center at the University of California, Irvine is collaborating with Tech Coast Angels (TCA) to launch a new program aimed at helping young entrepreneurs learn from the experiences of successful startup founders. TCA is one of the largest and most active angel groups in the country, with its roots in Southern California and with members and licensees throughout the U.S. Its five networks include TCA OC, TCA LA, TCA IE, Pasadena Angels, and MEDA Angels, the latter being a group out of Washington, D.C. with roots in academia and the medical profession. The ANTrepreneur Center is a resource center at UCI that offers a range of programs and services to support undergraduate student entrepreneurs and helps them bring their ideas to life. The Center provides mentorship, networking opportunities, funding support, and more to help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed as entrepreneurs.

The program will include a content series called “How Did You Do It?” that will feature short-form interviews with founders from TCA’s portfolio companies. In these interviews, founders will share high-value lessons for student entrepreneurs. Additionally, the program will host events to connect students and the community with TCA investors. These Face-to-Face with Investors events will be open to the public, enabling students to grow their networks and connect with other local entrepreneurs.

This collaboration is beneficial for both UCI and TCA. For TCA, the collaboration provides access to talented UCI students through the ANTrepreneur Center’s Micro-Internship Program, which reduces the time and effort required to recruit candidates to support TCA’s content creation goals. The ANTrepreneur Center will oversee the training of TCA micro-interns to ensure they deliver their work professionally and in a timely manner.

The collaboration also provides TCA with quarterly Face-to-Face events that will give investors the opportunity to interface regularly with entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and community members, and allow them to learn more about trending topics and technology interests. This will give TCA access to mentor early-stage student startups, which could lead to new investment opportunities.

For the ANTrepreneur Center, the collaboration has numerous benefits. High-profile micro-internships like this will attract talented and motivated students to the ANTrepreneur Center’s micro-internship platform. UCI student entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to learn business lessons from CEOs through TCA’s “How Did You Do It?” blog series. Finally, the quarterly Face-to-Face events with investors will provide significant value for early-stage entrepreneurs who are eager to learn more about how funding mechanisms work and get feedback on their ideas.

“The collaboration between UCI and TCA is a natural and beneficial one, as many student entrepreneurs seek investments but may not fully understand how investment vehicles work,” said Ryan Foland, Director of the ANTrepreneur Center. “By creating content around founders who have gone through funding and providing opportunities for students to meet with investors, the ANTrepreneur Center hopes to give students a more holistic understanding of what it takes to secure Angel funding.”

Image: ANTrepreneur Center Director Ryan Foland (left), TAC member Ray Chan (center), and UCI student ANTrepreneur Ayaan Dhir (right)

Ray Chan, TCA member and head of the marketing activities at TCA OC, also commented on the collaboration: “As a TCA member, I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the ANTrepreneur Center to support young entrepreneurs. TCA is committed to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs succeed.”

Overall, the collaboration between UCI and TCA promises to be a win-win for both organizations, as well as for the larger Orange County community. By leveraging the expertise of TCA’s portfolio founders and providing valuable learning opportunities for UCI student entrepreneurs, this collaboration has the potential to help fuel innovation and entrepreneurship in Orange County for years to come. Together, the ANTrepreneur Center and TCA are poised to make a lasting impact on the local business community, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of this collaboration in the years ahead.

For more information about the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, including programming, speaker series, Micro-Internships, funding, and more, visit our website. You can also learn more about our valuable collaborations with Blackstone LaunchPad, Tech Coast Angels, Tech Coast Venture Network, OC Startup Council, SoCal Celebrates Entrepreneurship, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Threads