June 18, 2014
Dear Impact Angel Group Members,
We are making some exciting changes to enhance the value of our organization and we would like to keep you apprised of our progress and strategic thinking. We will share more details at our next member meetings on July 22 in Denver and July 25 in Boulder, but if you have any questions or feedback on the following, please contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.944.8173.
Since becoming a formal membership organization in August of 2013, our members have committed over $1 million to opportunities presented by the Impact Angel Group. This includes commitments to invest in 12 companies, four funds and two follow-on investments. We’ve educated 20 new angel investors and launched our first annual fund which has greatly increased our credibility among both entrepreneurs and angel investors.
We believe we are providing value to our investor members in four key areas:
1) Angel investor education
2) Providing network connections to entrepreneurs and angel investors
3) Angel investment deal flow
4) Angel investment coordination (i.e.: coordinating due diligence and investor interest)
We want to continue to offer this value and improve our services in all of these areas. Over the next twelve months, we would like to focus on improvements through the following:
1) Enhance our member experience. We would like to offer more:
- Opportunities for members to experience the passion of entrepreneurship through direct interaction with pre-screened entrepreneurs
- Networking opportunities with other members
- Fun activities such as happy hours, hikes and board member for an hour opportunities (recognizing that most angel investors invest because of the experience rather than the financial thesis)
2) Improve deal flow quality. We will improve the quality of the investments we present through increased marketing outreach and partnerships with other investors.
3) Make better investments through team due diligence. Since the team is the most important criteria for making an angel investment, we will improve our ability to vet teams directly and strengthen our relationships with local and national “qualified reference checkers” including accelerator programs, fund managers and highly-active angel investors.
4) Make more of an impact. We would like to increase the impact of our organization by better defining and messaging the impact we’d like to make, providing more impact education to both entrepreneurs and angel investors and potentially making higher-impact investments outside of Colorado.
5) Ensure financial sustainability. In order to become financially sustainable, we will focus on increasing revenue through both membership and sponsorship.
Immediate Organizational Changes:
1) We are starting to consider investment opportunities outside of Colorado. When we started the Impact Angel Group, we felt the most important impact we could make was to help rebuild our local angel community to the level of vibrancy enjoyed prior to 2008. However, because our hard work has improved the angel community and there are now many other organizations working on this issue, this is no longer the most important impact we can make. We would like to begin to look outside our state for higher-impact opportunities to both increase our deal flow quality and help to differentiate our organization from other local angel groups.
2) We are developing a strategic plan. The Impact Angel Group has been presented with several partnership and future growth opportunities. We will be focusing the next 90 days on the development of a strategic plan to determine how to capitalize on these opportunities and prepare the organization for future growth.
3) We are investing in operational efficiency. Over the next 90 days, we will also be investing in operational efficiencies to improve our general business and investment management processes in order to support the organization’s future growth.
4) We are re-organizing our staff. We are re-examining our staffing structure to maximize the talents and interests of our staff, members, interns and volunteers. Our initial changes include:
- Colleen Kazemi has joined us as our Interim Director of Operations: Impact Angel Group member Colleen Kazemi will be working with us through the summer to help with several strategic tasks related to our growth. For the past 15+ years, Colleen has worked with and for Fortune 500 digital technology companies as a senior-level strategist, staffing leader, project manager, client advocate and operational leader. Colleen is very active in the Denver/Boulder startup community and we are very excited to have her on board.
- A special thank you to Sheila Lamont: Sheila has been a very valuable member of our organization. However, we have determined that some of these new steps forward will not allow us to take advantage of many of her strengths and talents. To ensure maximized utilization of her talents, we have decided to support her in finding another role in our startup community.
- We are hiring a Managing Director: Elizabeth’s talents and interests are more suited for the formation stage of the organization. She will stay involved with the organization, but is likely not the best person to manage the operations and the staff required to move the organization forward. We are in the process of recruiting a Managing Director and will post the job opening in the near future. Colleen Kazemi is a candidate for this position.
Additional changes we are exploring:
5) We are considering becoming a chapter of a national organization. Since we are no longer focusing specifically on Colorado-based companies, we are considering becoming a chapter of a national organization in order to improve our national deal flow and ability to recruit angel investors as syndication partners. We are currently in talks with two national angel groups interested in starting chapters in Colorado. If we become a chapter of a national organization, they will be heavily involved with the Managing Director hire and we will decide whether to become a chapter of a national organization before we make the final hiring decision.
6) We are considering an increased focus on women-led companies as a way to make an impact. We may increase our focus on women-led companies for three reasons. First, there are far fewer women backed by venture investment than would be expected. Because data indicates that gender diversity increases business performance, narrowing the gender gap could be an effective way to impact our economy. Second, data overwhelmingly shows that venture-backed, female-run companies produce higher returns. Third, more than 90 percent of companies that focus on tackling social problems have at least one woman on their leadership team. Since it appears investing in women could be an effective way to make an impact and produce returns, we are considering integrating this into our mission.
We are excited about the future of the Impact Angel Group and look forward to sharing more details with you in our member meetings in July. In the meantime, please contact us at any time with questions and feedback, and if you would like to play a more active role in this strategic planning process, please let us know. Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Impact Angel Group.
Managing Director, The Impact Angel Group