Strengthening support for local entrepreneurs by increasing engagement of local investors
Dayton, OH, April 6, 2022 – Announced today, the Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC) is furthering its mission to power progress and prosperity in Dayton through the launch of EC Angels, a regional network of angel investors to strengthen support for local startups by increasing engagement of local investors. In turn, these accredited investors can provide capital and counsel to entrepreneurs who are growing and scaling their businesses.
“Dayton had a group of investors who saw pitches from local companies in the 1980s and 90s,” said Kim Frazier, director of growth initiatives at the Entrepreneurs’ Center and manager of EC Angels. “But as that group got older and retired, nothing really filled its place. We are very excited to provide this new generation of entrepreneurs and investors with a connection through EC Angels.”
The newly formed EC Angels will meet at least six times a year and will feature pitches from local startups and small businesses that are clients of the EC, including Small Business Development Center (SBDC) clients and companies that are in the Entrepreneurial Service Provider (ESP) program that is part of the Ohio Third Frontier and serves high-tech startups, as well as clients of other EC programs or its partners. Meetings will be held virtually but may feature some in-person events and education at the Hub, the hybrid space the EC shares with University of Dayton’s Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership downtown in the historic Arcade.
A foundation for EC Angels was set in 2018 when the EC established a chapter of Indianapolis-based VisionTech Angels with a dozen trail-blazing angel investors. Soon after its formation, these same investors also began seeing pitches and making investments directly into local companies. “VisionTech Angels is a good option for people looking to invest in bigger deals in promising startups,” said Frazier.
Members of the Dayton chapter of VisionTech Angels will automatically be members of EC Angels, as will investors in the recently formed Rotunda Fund. Local investors not affiliated with either one can sign up to be an EC Angel for an annual membership fee of $250. All members must meet the criteria to be accredited investors.
“The demand for a local angel investing chapter shows how much the entrepreneurial community has grown,” said Gayle Rominger, one of the early angel investors and member of the EC board. “We’ve seen more potential investors wanting to engage with these startups and small businesses too, which is game-changing for entrepreneurs, as they get access to capital and the needed strategic guidance that can help them scale.”
In 2021, the EC began a revenue-based fund for entrepreneurs called the Rotunda Fund, growth capital for companies that already have sales and are seeking to double their revenue in two to four years. The Rotunda Fund’s investment model attracted new angel investors to the EC.
“This Fund is a unique opportunity for Dayton’s entrepreneurs,” said Brian Kohr, an entrepreneur and investor who serves on the Investment Committee for the Rotunda Fund and is an EC Angel. “Connecting coachable entrepreneurs to investors who can provide access to funds required for growth without dilution, along with strategic advice, will give companies the fuel they need to grow and scale.”
While focusing on growing the angel investor network for now, Frazier hopes the EC Angels will make investments as a group in the upcoming months and years. “We’ve come a long way with our investors in the past four years, and I’m hoping that in four more, we’re even larger and more sophisticated. A strong investor network is exactly what growing entrepreneurs need, and it will help to propel Dayton into the future.”
Accredited investors interested in joining the EC Angels can reach Kim Frazier at [email protected].
About EC Angels
The Entrepreneurs’ Center Angels (ECA) facilitates the introduction of entrepreneurs to potential investors through presentations and other mechanisms. ECA consists of individual angel investors interested in financing privately held companies or ventures typically in an early stage of development. ECA is focused on potential investments in companies that are clients of the Entrepreneurs’ Center, including the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Project Enginuity, The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Technology Acceleration Project (TAP), and the Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) program, as well as companies through partner organizations or programs, including the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Dayton Partnership, Early Risers Academy, and more. Potential members of EC Angels must have prior investing experience. In the alternative, members should have a strong desire, willingness, and capability to learn substantive components of, and engage in, entrepreneurship and investment.
About Accredited Investors
To be an accredited investor, a person must have an annual income exceeding $200,000 ($300,000 for joint income) for the last two years or a net worth exceeding at least $1M not including personal residence.
About Entrepreneurs’ Center
The Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC) is a modern economic development organization that powers progress and prosperity through entrepreneurship. Annually, the EC works with over 1,000 brilliant entrepreneurs to start and grow companies, create jobs, generate revenue, and attract investment. The EC empowers main street and technology businesses through complimentary professional services including business planning, mentoring, training, networking, commercialization, and capital investment. The EC’s talented and experienced team of advisors, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and staff design and facilitate diverse, world-class business acceleration programs on behalf of corporations, higher education institutions, and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Defense from their headquarters at The Hub Powered by PNC Bank in the historic Dayton Arcade. Learn more at EC Innovates.
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