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Stone Gathers a Crowd and Funds With Beer Offering

The region is crazy with new business activities. As of early last week, Stone Brewing Co. had raised close to $1.9 million from about 11,160-plus funders at crowdfunding site Indiegogo.com to underwrite its inventive “Stone Groundbreaking Collaborations” pre-sale event. Think of the campaign as a kind of futures market for rare beers. In return for donations which start around $30, participants receive vouchers for a bottle of the new brews. Fans have until Aug. 29 to donate, so there’s still time to get cash to the kitty … San Diego businesses lose $444 million each year because their websites are slow to load, according to a just-released index from Silicon Valley hosting firm NephoScale.com. San Diego came in at No. 16 on a list of the 25 top cities ranked in descending order of losses due to lagging connect speeds. NephoScale examined the average page load times on local e-commerce websites and compared them with industry best practice load times in crafting the index. The Big Apple (New York City) ranked No. 1 with $3.2 billion in lost revenue (Yikes!) with Indianapolis pulling up the rear at No. 25 with $230 million in lost sales … Two very high profile, but novice “entrepreneurs” have teamed up to market a colorful T-shirt based on the Golden State’s famous state flag with a bear. San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll and public radio personality Martha Barnette — co-host of “A Way with Words” — launched San Diego Republic this month to market the shirts featuring a panda in place of grizzly bear. The shirts are now on sale at Simply Local in Seaport Village. You can also buy online at sandiegorepublic.com. The pair is donating proceeds to environmental and wildlife concerns … San Diego members of Tech Coast Angels have written $7.3 million in checks for the first six months of the year, double the amount written in all of 2013, according to recent news release. The monies went to 15 new companies, many in the life sciences. San Diego Chapter President Jeff Dara said the average deal totaled $485,000. Dara also noted that the group is now preparing for its eighth annual Quick Pitch Competition, scheduled for Sept. 25 at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley. That’s always an event not to be missed, as it provides a window on the next generation of San Diego companies … Finally: Ben Umber, a 2012 graduate of The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center program at San Diego State University, is one of two co-founders of Playfreeway.com, a gaming app for mobile devices that reward winners with prizes supplied by participating advertisers. The company is self-funded. Umber said the app reached 1 million plays within the first month of its launch earlier this summer. Co-founder Bryan Hawkins is based in Santa Monica, while Umber is based in San Diego. Till next week.

Contributing Editor Tom York pens the SDBJ Insider. You can reach him via email at tyork@sdbj.com or tom.york@gmail.com.

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