Charlotte Angel Fund picking up steam, with four investments made so far

Note: This article was originally posted in the Charlotte Business Journal by Adam O'Daniel on March 18, 2015.

The Charlotte Angel Fund has made four investments from its first fund of capital — but is still looking for a company to back in Charlotte.

Administrator Greg Brown says the group has been pleased with its progress in raising cash for a $2 million fund announced in 2013. The group has 31 members, with each contributing at least $25,000 to the fund. The members must be accredited investors.

The group is also aggressively looking for local firms to back, but it considers the larger Carolinas region as part of its core territory.

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Investments and their missions include the following:

  • Greensboro-based Guerrilla RF has developed high performance radio frequency and microwave integrated circuit products enabling improved range and coverage area in wireless systems.
  • Research Triangle Park-based NIRvana Sciences is developing novel fluorescent dyes that advance the detection of cellular and biological material in diagnostic and imaging applications.
  • Durham-based Upswing helps colleges and universities retain students through online access to instructors, tutors, and mentors on a 24/7 basis.
  • Durham-based Baebies, a "microfluidics" company focused on newborn health screening.

The Charlotte Angel Fund meets on the second Wednesday every month for networking and to hear three investment opportunities pitch themselves to the group's members. The group then weighs its interest and later votes on whether to make a group investment. Individuals are also welcome to co-invest on deals.

Brown says the group is mostly made up of wealthy individuals who are new to angel investing. He sees it as a positive step toward creating a more startup-friendly culture in Charlotte, even if it means investors are sometimes slower to act.

"People want to learn what it's all about," he says. "But there's more activity and interest than we saw even just a few years ago."