Local Angel investment applications due Friday

Winner at 3rd annual competition will win an estimated $200,000
John Lee, a founding partner of Folium Partners, celebrates after claiming a $155,000 prize in the 2011 Southern Oregon Angel Investment Conference. Friday is the deadline for applying for the 2013 award.Jamie Lusch

The clock is ticking and the deadline is near for entrepreneurs hoping to get a boost from the Southern Oregon Angel Network.

Entries are due Friday, Jan. 31, for the network's third annual competition, which culminates with the April 11 Southern Oregon Angel Conference at Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville.

Angel investing is still a mystery to many people, said Linda Ganim, a member of the first two Southern Oregon Angel Investor groups and managing member for 2013.

"While more and more people are aware of angel investing than three years ago, it's not something that's been in people's vocabulary. They've much more likely heard about venture capitalists and private equity."

Two years ago, Folium Partners of Ashland raised $300,000 from 27 private investors and one institution.

Last year, Montrue Technologies, another Ashland firm, raised $160,000 from 23 individuals and two institutions.

Organizers estimate this year's "launch-stage" winner — as opposed to businesses in the "concept stage" — could earn an investment of up to $200,000.

A separate concept grant worth $7,500 in services will go to the winner of a "concept-stage" competition.

So far, 22 individual investors and one institution are on board for this year's competition.

Developing a business plan can be daunting, Ganim said, but an outline can go a long way toward winning over bankers and investors.

"The important thing is a summary page," she said.

In evaluating business models, investors are looking for a quick overview of a start-up, she said. A five-minute scan can reveal short-term viability and longterm potential.

"They're looking at the financial model and the company's vision," Ganim said.

Steve Vincent, chairman of the Southern Oregon Angel Network, said 28 of the 31 entries in 2012 came in the final two days.

"Most of the entries come in right at the end," Vincent said. "Entrepreneurs are trying to perfect their business plans, so they wait until the last minute. It's not about procrastination, it's about trying to get their best work in front of the investors."

Applications may be submitted at www.soredi.org. Click on "Submit your business plan here" and follow the directions. An application fee must also be paid through the SOREDI website.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.

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