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In Memoriam: Luis Villalobos, Tech Coast Angels

Luis Villalobos, co-founder of Tech Coast Angels, has passed away at the age of 70 after a brief illness.

Villalobos had been undergoing treatment for a lung infection in Southern California.

Villalobos is often credited for supporting the area’s angel investment community, having launched Tech Coast Angels in 1997 and serving as its first president. The organization now boasts five chapters from Santa Barbara to San Diego with more than 250 members.

Villalobos held 12 U.S. and international patents as an inventor and was presented with the Hans Severiens Award at the Angel Capital Association’s Annual Summit in Chicago in 2007. The award is named after the late co-founder of the Band of Angels, an angel investment organization in Northern California that Villalobos modeled Tech Coast Angels after.

During his time as an investor, Villalobos, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School, backed 57 early stage companies, including several that launched IPOs, such as Gadzoox Networks and PetSmart. He also mentored at least a dozen company CEOs, and served on the boards of more than a dozen companies, such as Big Stage, YouMail, Vigilistics, EmailDirect and others. He also served on the board of the Angel Capital Association.

Luis gave tirelessly of his time and knowledge to entrepreneurs and fellow investors, showing his deep commitment to encouraging and supporting the growth of angel groups and startup ventures,” said Richard Sudek, president of Tech Coast Angels. “He’ll be sorely missed by us all and our thoughts are with his family.”

Villalobos is survived by his wife and a sister.

Tech Coast Angels is planning a celebration of Villalobos’ life sometime in early November. —Alastair Goldfisher