Angel Investing

Kevin Learned: Boise Angel Alliance investments help 16 companies

KEVIN LEARNED Director of the Venture College at Boise State and an experienced angel investor.

March 19, 2014 

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Kevin Learned

The Boise Angel Alliance (www.boise angelalliance.com) turns 10 this year.

In 2004, Mary Andrews, who at the time was with the Idaho Department of Commerce; Phil Reed of Highway 12 Ventures; Steve Simpson, retired CEO of Extended Systems; and Phil Bradley, CFO of ProClarity, thought the time was right to organize those in the Valley who were in a position to invest in early stage ventures.

The alliance has two purposes. One is to enable local people who can afford to invest in early stage companies to do so using best practices. As new investors join, those who have experience share what they have learned. Some of our members attend regional and national angel meetings, bringing back practices from money-center angels.

The second purpose is to make capital available to our entrepreneurs.

In the early years, only a handful of investors showed up at the meetings, and not much money got invested. But thanks to the vision of the founders, today more than 100 investors are actively engaged with the alliance.

Here's what has been accomplished (data are for April 2007 through December 2013):

•Total invested in the Treasure Valley: $1.7 million

•Number of Treasure Valley companies funded: 15

•Jobs created since investment: 220

We also invested about $250,000 outside the Treasure Valley alongside other angel groups in five deals.

It's a lot of work to invest thoughtfully. In the seven years we have actively been accepting applications, we have reviewed 363 investment inquiries. Of these, 85 received serious consideration. We invested in about 25 percent of those.

The number of angel-appropriate deals in the Treasure Valley is increasing. We invested $650,000 in 2013 in five deals. About 30 percent of our investments in the last seven years were made in 2013. We've already closed one investment in 2014, bringing our total to 16 companies.

Here are the Valley companies in which we have invested:

Baseline

Conex

Core Concepts

CradlePoint

DB3 Mobile - Meal Ticket

Fit Wrapz

Gogo Labs

Health Fundr (2014 investment)

IdeaRoom Technology

Inovus

Loan Tek

Nurture - Happy Family (sold 2013)

Paksense

Prosperity Organic Foods

Social Good Network

Voxbright

I am happy to report that every one of the above companies is still in business.

We obviously don't make many investments. Our processes and expectations are stringent. However, we hope that all companies that come in touch with the alliance gain value, regardless of whether or not we invest.

We have a mentoring committee that advises companies regarding their strategies. We have partnered with the Idaho Small Business Development Center and the Boise State TECenter to coach entrepreneurs seeking funding on their pitches. Our committees try to give feedback whenever they meet with an entrepreneur.

If you are an accredited investor interested in participating with us, or an entrepreneur seeking funding, additional information is available on the website.

kevinlearned@boisestate.edu, kevinlearned.blogspot.com, 426-5540

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