Bridges the Gap for Scalable Ventures to Gain Access to
Capital, Resources and Networking
(Orlando, Fla) – Promising new high-growth ventures now have an opportunity to connect with investors in the state’s capitol region. News of the launch of the Tallahassee chapter of the Florida Angel Nexus (NEXUS) attracted nearly 60 potential investors and professionals, seeking to bridge the gap of financing early stage startups.
According to Blaire Martin, NEXUS Director, “The NEXUS is working with individual investors across the state and has received enough support and interest from the Tallahassee region to launch a dedicated chapter that will meet frequently – not only to evaluate opportunities from the Panhandle, but also to review scalable ventures from across the state.” She adds, “By joining the NEXUS, individuals have access to a statewide network of opportunities. They can get the efficiencies of being in a large angel network and therefore reduce risk.”
Angel investing is a solid asset class with returns averaging at 27% IRR or 2.6x in 3.5 years according to the Kauffman Foundation and the Angel Capital Education Foundation. Maximizing returns can be a difficult task for any individual to take on alone. Established in 2013 by Michael O’Donnell, NEXUS solves that problem, by creating a larger network of investors with very diverse backgrounds, and provides a larger centralized pipeline enabling individuals to meet specialized investment goals. To maximize returns, research shows that investors should do considerable due diligence, leverage subject matter expertise and build a diverse portfolio of 10 to 30 opportunities.
The Tallahassee Chapter is led by investors Matt Johnson and Jason Stamm. "What's been missing is the visibility and access to capital," said Johnson. "It's not that it's lacking entirely. There are many people in this community who fund companies and do a good job at it, but you don't always know who to contact to get access to those people."
According to Johnson, angel investors are vital players in the start-up ecosystem since traditional lenders don't usually take on high-risk investments. He hopes the local chapter that both he and Stamm are organizing will bridge the gap between entrepreneur with high-growth businesses and investors with cash.
Johnson added the chapter's newfound presence signals that investors believe there are enough high-quality companies to fund. "Nothing moves things forward like capital," he said. "You have to have these things to propel your business.” Sophisticated angel investors also provide companies with mentorship and networking connections that can save them time and money while moving from the early stages through growth to exit.
“As angel networks across the country grow, we see many launching funds to allow a professional team to build and manage their portfolio. It addresses the issue that many accredited investors and institutions do not have the time or capacity to build an early-stage portfolio of 10 to 30 diverse investments,” said O’Donnell, NEXUS co-founder and Executive Director of UCF’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The most active NEXUS members came together to launch the FAN Fund and raise up to $20M. Its focus is to invest in Florida’s seed/early stage deals across the technology and life science sectors.
According to Mitchel Laskey, FAN Fund Managing Director, “We are launching the FAN Fund to help entrepreneurs in building tech and life science companies here in Florida, economic development by creating jobs, and building a place for our grandchildren to stay and take leadership roles. Rather than have our entrepreneurs and companies leave the state, we want them to stay in Florida and retain the jobs and wealth they create – significantly impacting Florida’s economy.”
One of the most underutilized resources in Florida is the accredited investor population. Many experienced entrepreneurs, executives and individuals – who could be investors have not had a marketplace to engage their peers and scalable ventures that may be of interest.
“Research shows that angel networks with more than 75 people build larger, more diversified portfolios. No current network exists in Florida with more than 75 people. The growing NEXUS community is addressing this by launching chapters across the state and collaborating with the FAN Fund. These are two significant steps in filling the gap,” says O’Donnell.
The Florida Angel Nexus (“NEXUS”) supports angel investors and groups statewide by enabling collaboration to solve common challenges such as: deal flow, due diligence, portfolio management, and broader context. Leveraging the extensive network of industry experts, NEXUS enables investigations to better understand the market, product, and execution risk of investment opportunities. Selected companies gain exposure to a large number of investors across the state that co-invest to meet the company’s fundraising goals; the investor’s gain far more insights than they would generate on their own.
NEXUS's objective is for investors to achieve higher returns with less risk than typical angel groups by combining Florida’s community resources, including the vast university systems, with the business acumen of NEXUS's members and partners. It strives to improve Florida’s funding environment and to become a prominent investment corridor that attracts, creates, and retains the best talent and high-paying jobs for the state. For more information, visit www.floridaangelnexus.com.