Innovative Syndication Raises Money at the Midwest Regional Meeting

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

One of my favorite parts of working with ACA members is attending the Regional and Special Interest Meetings where angels gather to learn about investing trends and encourage collaborative investing. ACA Regional Meetings connect new and experienced angels to each other for investor education, networking, and to syndicate angel deals in real-time. There is no substitute to the momentum that can be created by having angel investors in the same room debating smart investing practices and sharing investment opportunities. And sometimes, angels themselves become the innovators for getting deals done.  

Such is the case of the recent ACA Midwest Regional: Best of the Midwest – planned and hosted by Nebraska Angels in Omaha last week.  Held in a turn of the century warehouse turned community art and innovation center – Kaneko – the meeting began with a view of the Nebraska Angels history after turning near collapse in 2008 to a thriving group of nearly 70 investors with a Midwest-wide syndication portfolio – and recent exits. In her welcome Laura Classen, Executive Director of Nebraska Angels, encouraged the attendees to use the meeting to make networking among fellow investors and syndication a priority in order to support the innovative companies, create strong investment portfolios and overcome geographical barriers.

Five companies nominated by attending investors and representing a wide spectrum of sectors presented. One company detects the potential for long term damage from concussion symptoms, another provides an integrated and automated eCommerce platform for subscription services, and yet another provides a mobile recording studio for collaborative creation of rap music.  These three joined another two in providing consistently strong presentations and growth opportunities. 

In fact, the companies were strong enough that several Nebraska Angels decided to seed an “event LLC.”  They named the vehicle Series Dillashaw in honor of the local law firm sponsoring all accounting and administrative fees and invites all accredited investor attendees – and their respective angel groups – to invest a minimum of $5000 and have the full amount divided equally among the five companies.  As John Nordin of Chicago-based Cornerstone Angels, noted, “This is a no brainer. I get a diversified portfolio with $1000 in each of five interesting companies.” Starting with a $50,000 seed investment by members of Nebraska Angels, the LLC grew to over $130k before the event concluded the next afternoon.

Noted Classen, “We want to build a stronger Midwest ecosystem by creating new and efficient ways to invest. This LLC is a novel and collaborative way to fund exciting business and provide instant portfolio coverage of Midwest companies to angels. Our goal always has been and continues to be building bonds among regional investors and the LLC provides a real outcome toward Midwest syndication.”

Series Dillashaw will remain open for 60 days from the Midwest Regional Meeting and I can’t wait to follow the progress of these companies and the 2017 Midwest Regional Meeting: Best of the Midwest portfolio.