After three seasons of matching promising businesses with willing investors, the Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network is ready to take on a fourth.
The network is calling for the next round of business plans to compete for an estimated $200,000 investment at the April 30 Angel Network Conference. Investors are inviting launch-stage companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs to submit their plans by Feb. 28.
Applications should be submitted via the Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. website at www.soredi.org.
Steve Vincent, angel network founder and chairman, anticipates another strong showing from the region's entrepreneurial community.
"Angel investors don't look for any kind of quick return," Vincent said. "You place your capital and you better be really patient. The challenge is that they have to sit on these investments for anywhere from five to 10 years before they see any liquidity."
Since 2011, 52 angel investors have participated in three investments totaling $680,000, beginning with Folium Partners of Ashland, which received $300,000 for its e-book and audiobook apps. That was followed by Montrue Technologies of Ashland, collecting $160,000 in 2012 for an emergency room information system, and JettStream of Bend, which earned backing of $220,000 earlier this year for its dispenser used to administer medicine for children with asthma.
Vincent said Folium and Montrue are following through on their strategic business plans, marketing their software products.
"It's far too soon for anyone to have a guess as to the outcome of JettStream," he said.
Investors expect between 20 and 30 companies will submit business plans to complete in the Launch Stage Company category. After about six weeks of review and due diligence, five companies will be invited to compete for the investment.
Vincent said investors are looking for companies that have developed a completed business plan and have largely overcome any technology and logistical issues. Such companies may be engaged in beta testing or a limited rollout and are ready to launch into a market. They may also already be earning revenue or are in operation but need capital to grow.
"It's incredible that we have local investors actively participating in an economic development initiative aimed at organically growing our economy from within," Vincent said. "It's obvious that access to capital continues to be an obstacle for start-ups.
"Many entrepreneurs exhaust friends and family, credit cards or home equity lines of credit before playing out. So this effort is about facilitating a match between investors and entrepreneurs."
The conference will again offer a $7,500 Concept Stage Company award. The previous two winners include Ladder Tite of Grants Pass and JOMA Films of Ashland. The award includes a $2,500 cash grant and in-kind business development services.
Vincent said he has tracked the Bend Venture Conference, now in its ninth year. For the most part, the winners haven't vaulted to fame and fortune.
"Only two companies have made it to the place where they've been able to produce an IPO or someone came along and bought it," Vincent said.
But the good news, he said, is that all of the companies from the previous eight years are still in business."