Santa Cruz Tech Beat


South Swell Ventures Spearheads Support for Santa Cruz Tech Ecosystem and Organizes Central Coast Angels

By Sara Isenberg
Founder, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, Santa Cruz Tech Beat

December 2, 2013 — Santa Cruz, CA

It seemed a bit nervy to stand up in front of 150+ folks at the recent Santa Cruz Community Leadership Visit (CLV) tech session and ask for money but that’s exactly what I did.

On October 27, 2013, members of a technology ecosystem panel consisting of Andrew Mueller (Santa Cruz Tech Raising), Margaret Rosas (Santa Cruz Geeks), Doug Erickson (Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup), and Matthew Swinnerton (Event Santa Cruz) each spoke about their organization and then the panel held a Q&A session. (See my blog post two tech sessions at the CLV here.)


Bud Colligan, Founder and CEO of South Swell Ventures

During the Q&A session I stood up and remarked how each person on the panel – and myself as producer of Santa Cruz Tech Beat — was helping to advance the tech ecosystem in Santa Cruz and was doing so in a voluntary capacity. A member of the audience asked, “How much does the ecosystem need: $100? $1,000, $10,000?” To that I replied, “Well since you’re asking, $10,000.” I later learned the asker was Bud Colligan, Founder and CEO of South Swell Ventures, a venture capital firm in Santa Cruz. Naturally, I wrote to Bud that evening.

As a result of that exchange, we began a dialog that has resulted in South Swell Ventures providing some financial and administrative support for Santa Cruz Tech Raising, Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup, and Santa Cruz Tech Beat.


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“These organizations spend many hours marketing and executing our various events. The support of South Swell Ventures will enable us to amplify our efforts and build a larger tech community in Santa Cruz,” said Doug Erickson, founder of Santa Cruz New Tech Meet-Up.

South Swell Ventures is an investment firm focused on investing in entrepreneurs building sustainable technology, marine sciences, and farm tech companies in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

According to Colligan, “South Swell Ventures is investing in early stage companies along the Central Coast.  As part of the tech ecosystem, we all have an interest in seeing every part of it thrive.  It takes all of us pulling together to create the successful entrepreneurial ecosystem which combines research, talent, capital, mentoring, and cross-fertilization of ideas to build sustainable companies.

South Swell Ventures is an extension of Colligan’s personal investing that he has been doing independently and with Accel Partners for 15 years. His biggest success has been his own company, Macromedia, which went public on NASDAQ in 1993 and was sold to Adobe in 2005. Other successful investments include CNET Networks (sold to CBS), Brightmail (sold to Symantec), (a leader in online education), S3 Corporation, and a number of smaller companies. Colligan is also an investor in NextSpace.

Angel investors form group to help support Central Coast

Colligan is spearheading the formation of a new angel group in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties called Central Coast Angels (CCA). Composed of 20 tech leaders living on the Central Coast, the group will invest in technology, food, recreation, farm tech, genome bioinformatics, and marine science start-ups along the Central Coast. The group had its initial meeting in November and plans to meet again in December to finalize their charter and consider some companies/investments that members are recommending.

Still in formation, the group expects to develop their web presence in the next few months.

“Our group is excited to be providing capital and mentoring to early stage companies along the Central Coast,” Colligan said. “There is a strong desire among our group to create companies and grow jobs here.”

Stay tuned to Santa Cruz Tech Beat for further news about Central Coast Angels.


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