Monday, December 31, 2012

Boise Angel Alliance Year in Review

The Boise Angel Alliance had the most active year in 2012 since we created our first angel fund in 2007.

There are many individual angels in the valley. So far as I am aware, there is only one formal angel organization, the Boise Angel Alliance. The purpose of the Alliance is to encourage the availability of capital for entrepreneurs.  It has created two funds, the Boise Angel Fund and the Treasure Valley Angel Fund.  The below data are drawn from the records of the two funds.

The Boise Angel Fund made its last angel investment in 2012, and is now fully committed. The new Treasure Valley Angel Fund was formed and as of this writing has $1.1 million of committed capital and continues to raise additional capital. 

We had our first successful “exit” in 2012. An exit is angel-speak for selling or otherwise disposing of an investment.  We invested $45,000 in a Spokane based company along side the angels there.  We were paid about $188,000 for our stock and have the potential for additional proceeds.  We have had one unsuccessful exit, a bankruptcy where we lost our entire $25,000 investment. 

In 2012 the funds invested $500,000 in five companies.  This is the most that has been invested in one year since the first fund came into being in 2006.  Simple math would suggest that the funds invested an average of $100,000 per deal. But that ignores the leadership of the funds. 

Once we commit an investment to a company, we then try to help raise additional capital. That additional capital may come from our own members, other groups in the Northwest with whom we have trusting relationships, and other angels that may study our efforts and decide to invest along side our investment. The total capital raised by those five companies in these rounds was $1,395,000 or about two dollars additional capital for every dollar invested by the funds. 

The five companies are:

CoreConcepts.  This is a local manufacturer and distributor of high performance outdoor clothing sold through specialty retailers.

MealTicket.  Meal Ticket enables food manufacturers to promote products directly to restaurants and other food service providers.

Sawtooth Ideas. Sawtooth provides an online marketplace where designers of woodworking plans can sell plans, along with innovative software that turns traditional two-dimensional plans into three-dimensional, dynamic plans.

Social GoodNetwork.  They enable consumers to shop on line and do good, by capturing referral commissions and allowing the shopper to designate a portion to charity.

VoxbrightTechnologies. Voxbright develops voice recognition software for cable television and Internet TV platforms.

The angels also provide mentoring and advice to the companies before and after the investment transaction.  One of our members serves as a director in four of the five companies.  Our collective membership of about fifty individuals is actively involved in promoting and assisting the companies wherever we can.  For example, I purchased and proudly wear clothes from Core Concepts.  My family and I shop on line through Social Good Network.

These companies will have an impact on our local economy.  At the time of our investments, they employed about 15 people.  Over time we expect that their employment will grow significantly.

Since 2007, our two funds have invested a total of $1,385,000.  Those companies have raised more than $19 million in the rounds in which we participated.  The Boise-based companies as December 31, 2012  had created about 110 new jobs.  

We recognize that these two funds can meet only a small portion of the demand for risk capital by our local entrepreneurs.  Many entrepreneurs were turned down.  Undoubtedly some of them were worthy of investment. We encourage others in a position to do so to consider investing a portion of their capital in valley entrepreneurs.  The Boise Angel Alliance stands ready to assist.  Both entrepreneurs seeking funding and those considering investing can learn more through Alliance website.
Dr. Kevin Learned is on special assignment with the Division of Research and Economic Development at Boise State. He was the co-founder of Learned-Mahn, Inc., which he believes was the first commercial software company in Idaho.  He is past president of the Boise Angel Alliance and an investor in its funds, the Boise Angel Fund and the Treasure Valley Angel Fund.  He can be reached at, 208-426-3573