Bands of Angels

October 8, 2010

The October 2010 issue of Florida Trend includes an excellent feature on a critical piece of the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: local groups of investors providing funding to emerging companies.

These “Bands of Angels” all work with early stage companies, and therefore have a higher tolerance for risk, but tend to operate in slightly different ways.  Some meet regularly, some don’t; some pool their capital, some leave the investing decision to each individual; some focus on industries or region or type of entrepreneur, and some by “what they know.”

Angels provide more than capital and expertise – their networks and reputations assist with introductions to additional sources of financing.  Rhys Williams of New World Angels in Boca Raton (whose recent testimony before the United States Senate on the importance of early stage investing can be found here)  explains:

For entrepreneurs, it’s the smartest money you can get.  You could be getting 40 investors committed to your success who use their networks to grow the company and who will help you find the next round of capital.

Sean Christiansen of Catapult Capital in Orlando describes how local sources of this type of funding are vital to the future of Florida.  Viable local capital can prevent high-growth companies from relocating to be close to their source of funding:

Historically, Florida has lost companies because they went to venture capital firms who prefer local businesses, and most of those [venture] firms were not in Florida.

The Florida Trend article also includes insights from Tim Cartwright of Tamiami Angel Fund in Naples, Barbara Boxer of Women Angels in Miami, Allan Keen of Winter Park Angels in Winter Park, and Alan Rossiter of Springboard Capital in Jacksonville.

Developing the state’s and region’s entrepreneurs and the infrastructure that supports them are favorite topics of ours.  Here are convenient links to the Florida Angel Funds mentioned in “Bands of Angels“:

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