We made the announcement the other night at our quarterly CapitalLounge event, but here it is again for those that missed it.
AngelLounge is the angel investor community component of Startuplounge. It is currently comprised of 80+ vetted angel investors in Georgia. The member list reads like a who’s who.
The good news is that not only have we not even scratched the surface of Atlanta, but we are also reaching out to other parts of the state as well, including Savannah, Columbus, Douglasville, Rome, etc.
“This makes AngelLounge the largest organized angel group in Georgia, and quite possibly in the Southeast.”
The group meets each month in an almost “unconference” like setting. The goals are to have an open forum for the discussion of topics relating to angel investing, to encourage cross-pollination among investors as it pertains to deal flow, to create new angel investors by bringing in high net worth individuals seeking to explore early stage investing as a vehicle, and to create a logical funnel for these investors into the early-stage scene in Georgia.
One of the key pain points that has been constantly brought up at the meetings is the lack of exposure to investment opportunities (“deal flow”). As evidenced by the over 160 companies that attended our CapitalLounge event the other night (over half of which were new to the event), there is clearly “stuff going on”. So, putting our entrepreneurial hat on – we listened to the customer, and came up with a solution. Actually, two solutions – a short term and a long term solution.
The short term solution is available today (the better, long-term solution is in development).
We have rolled out an automated deal referral and distribution system. To distribute information on your deal, simply head to StartupLounge.com. If you haven’t done so, you’ll need to create a free community account in order to participate.
This is different from investment matching sites such as GoBig Network etc. because this isn’t just matching business plans with a blind database.
The AngelLounge members have organized themselves into vertical markets ranging from IT to consumer products to alternative energy to biotech. Each industry vertical has an angel investor volunteering to serve as an IAC (Industry Angel Coordinator). Any entrepreneur within the StartupLounge community can go online, upload their one pager or executive summary, and select the industries that fit the deal. The deal will be distributed on their behalf to the appropriate IACs.
Every deal will get seen by the network, period – no bottlenecks – no middleman – no gatekeepers.
The role of the IAC is simply to ensure that the information received is actually a fit for the industry (or industries) that the entrepreneur selected. If it isn’t a fit for that IAC (e.g. the entrepreneur selected the wrong industry by mistake), the IAC simply forwards the deal to the appropriate IAC. Assuming an industry match, the deal is then distributed to the angel members who have expressed an interest in seeing deals in that particular market.
Each angel is free to follow-up with the entrepreneur on their own – this is not a pledge fund, or a fund of any sort, for that matter. This is merely a mechanism to get deal flow going among local angels.
The angels have committed to delivering an initial response to the entrepreneur within within one (1) week. This takes us out of the role of gatekeeper and lets you deliver your opportunity directly multiple investors that actively want to see your deal.
This makes StartupLounge/AngelLounge the largest organized angel network in Georgia, and quite possibly in the Southeast. This group is growing like mad, and there is little doubt in my mind that we’ll reach 100 members by Q1, and quite possibly double in size in 2009.
A special thanks to Jeff McConnell, Chris Demetree, and the others who logged a lot of time brainstorming the system. Also thanks to Charlie Paparelli (Paparelli Ventures) who puts a boatload of effort into driving the overall effort with AngelLounge.
BTW, if you are interested in joining AngelLounge as an investor member, contact me. There is no fee to join (why should there be?), but there is an interview process.