Minnesota Angel Network
is beta-testing and fine-tuning its process in anticipation of a public launch in July.Announced in January
, the network will help companies prepare for funding by angel investors and will connect the two groups.
now, seven companies are beta-testing the process, says Todd Leonard,
executive director of the Minnesota Angel Network. They represent
various industries, regions of the state, and even stages of
development--"from the whole spectrum of business," he says.
company types include software, internet sales, biotech/cleantech
firms, and animal health, and they include new startups, firms that have
been through the equity process previously, and operational companies
seeking outside funds for the first time.
"We're finding that
even very seasoned CEOs that actually have functional, operating
companies still are finding our educational process extremely helpful,"
It's that educational process, more than connecting companies with capital, that Leonard stresses the network is about.
primary concern is the educational side to this," he says. "The
investment is really an additional benefit that we have, in that we have
this relationship with those investors."
Investors are poised
for that relationship, however, according to Leonard, and the Minnesota
Angel Network is aligned with a number of other states with angel
investment networks--at least 18 other network funds that "represent a
significant amount of angel investment monies," he says. The network has
also partnered with Rain Source Capital and other networked funds in
Minnesota and elsewhere.
The network is also leveraging regional
economic development organizations across the state with which it
partners. While many may refer companies to the emerging program, those
that sponsor the network as donors will take an early-stage role,
facilitating intake and some of the training.
Those basic steps
include due diligence and gap analysis, readying companies and their
information for investors --an effort that mitigates risk for investors
and companies alike.
The angel network also now has a full-time
chief operating officer: David Wagy, a former senior director of finance for Medtronic and an angel investor.
Leonard says his own role is currently
focused on fundraising. The network's goal is to not use any funds
outside of donors, he says, and to be self-sustaining within its second
year of operations.
Source: Todd Leonard, Minnesota Angel Network
Writer: Jeremy Stratton