Multi-talented local resident helps give deserving entrepreneurs a chance

By Kathy Day

As a man who helps new entrepreneurs with good ideas get a kickstart in business, Doug Giese passes on some sage advice that someone once gave him.

Starting a business, he said, is like being a Mississippi riverboat gambler: It’s a closed community. They don’t bet everything on one roll of the dice and if they don’t play fair, no one will play with them.

The same is true when starting a company, he said.

Doug Giese with Baby Okapi.

“Conserve cash, don’t be crazy and get a real good board of directors,” said the Rancho Santa Fe resident who is on the board of Tech Coast Angels ( and is a founder and vice president of its seed track program.

The organization, the largest investor network of its kind in the country, assists early-stage companies with capital and guidance, while its seed program focuses on those with proven technology that generally don’t qualify for traditional angel or venture capital funding.

Giese is also involved with a start-up company, Agile Nanotech Inc., that’s applying technology from UCLA’s nanotechnology lab to use infrared light to look into muscles to determine oxygen levels. He said the concept is something that could be of great value to “higher-end athletes who want more specific performance data.”

The company is working the Human Performance Laboratory at San Diego State University and a consultant from UC Davis to advance the idea and expects to file for a provisional patent in three to six months, he added.

An engineer who says his parents embody the American story, Giese married Debbie, his high school sweetheart from Palos Verdes High School. His family moved there after his dad, who grew on a wheat farm and dropped out of school in eighth grade, married his mom, who was raised on a cattle ranch.

“After they married, he got a Ph.D. in electrical engineering,” he recalled, noting they first settled in Gardena before moving to Rolling Hills.

His own educational track took him to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical and electrical engineering, along with a master’s and Ph.D. in electrical engineering.

Giese’s first job out of college was with TRW in Redondo Beach where he was involved with the early stages of artificial intelligence and the LANDSAT imaging systems.

But the couple “didn’t like L.A.,” Geise said, so when the company opened its San Diego division he came here to manage the software group.

But he “got the bug to start his own company,” and with three friends launched AP Labs, which developed complex signaling processes and rugged computers and consulted mostly with the military on such projects as submarines B2 bomber.

After selling his share of the company in 2002, he joined Tech Coast Angels.

While Giese says as “an engineer I’m not too crazy,” he enjoys ocean sailing and once sailed single-handed in a storm from Los Angeles to San Diego on a 22-foot boat. He also likes driving his Jeep off road – slowly — in the Southern California deserts.

His wife, Debbie, who camped and did the off-road trips with Doug when their son and daughter  – now college grads – were younger, is not too keen about sailing, he noted, especially because of her memories of that trip to San Diego.

Facing rough conditions near Catalina, he said, he recalled being told that “if you can’t do anything else, just go below and rest.” So he battened down the hatches, dropped anchor and tried to sleep.

The next morning, sails shredded and his radio direction finder broken, he set out again even though he couldn’t see land or sky to aid his navigation. At one point, he “got a brief glimpse of Oceanside.”

Meanwhile, he said, Debbie called the Coast Guard and asked if she should be concerned. They answered, “Yes, be very concerned.” Although they didn’t launch a search that night because of the conditions, the next day they sent out a helicopter.

“They held out a sign that said ‘Are you Doug Giese,’” he recalled. “I said, ‘Yes and my house is right over there.” He finished the trip.

During that night at sea, Giese said, he kept thinking “that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. It’s cold and raining …”

Today, he said, if he did it again, he’d be sure that he had a working radio and a cell phone.

Related posts:

  1. Del Mar: Local entrepreneurs’ website helps students save on textbooks
  2. After the Finish Line fundraisers help give former racehorses a second chance
  3. Local resident’s nonprofit helps kids build values, self-esteem
  4. Local resident’s Scripps Aviation offers ‘competitive’ charter rates, helps aircraft owners save money
  5. Locals help give big cats a second chance

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Jul 26, 2012. Filed under Life, North Coast Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6





  • New Rancho Santa Fe Library Branch Manager welcomes community input
    Rancho Santa Fe Library’s new Branch Manager Haley Kwon has been charmed by the village’s “sweet, down-home” character, the simple pleasure of visiting the local library and people’s enjoyment of a slower speed of time. “It’s a small town and the library is a place for people to connect,” Kwon said. “People have a different sense of time here, they come in t […]
  • Robotics booming at Rancho Santa Fe School
    By Karen Billing At R. Roger Rowe School, 44 percent of first graders are participating in the robotics program this year. The school is fielding 44 robotics teams, including 31 percent of second grade, 23 percent of third grade, 35 percent of fourth grade and 39 percent of fifth grade. In the middle school, there are two FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams and fi […]
  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices honored with Stevie Gold Award
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was recently named Startup of the Year in the 2014 American Business Awards, earning the brokerage the Stevie Gold award. The award was presented at the Fairmont Millennium Park Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is among a select few organizations to be entrusted with the Berkshire Hathaway name,” co […]