North Bay Angels invest as individuals rather than using a fund, and has an interest over wide variety of industries including biotech, energy, software, and transportation.
Name of Angel Group: North Bay Angels
Location: Healdsburg, CA
Board of Directors Member: Michele Chaboudy, Director, MacAbbey & Associates
This article is part of our Startup Investor Spotlight Series featuring Angel Networks / Funds and VC Funds. We hope these spotlights will inform and inspire the entrepreneur concerning funding options and opportunities.
There are numerous operating models being pursued by angel networks / funds and VC funds. How does yours work? How does it differentiate you?
We invest as individuals rather than using a fund. Many angel groups use the same method of investment. However, we do have a network, started by North Bay Angels, called InSync, that includes 12+ regional angel groups covering Northern California and Silicon Valley. We have a separate Gust and Proseeder platform for those startups that are in this network. A startup must apply through one of the individual groups before it can be included in InSync. A startup can be presented to the network if one of the lead investors from a member angel group places it on the Gust or Proseeder platform.
In what industries do you invest? Are there specific industries, sectors or types of opportunities in which you don’t invest?
North Bay Angels invest in a wide variety of industries. This includes, but is not limited to, medical devices, biotech, energy, software, transportation, security, real estate, agriculture and food/beverage/wine. Essentially, we are open to any industry.
Does your organization have any geographic preferences upon which you build your portfolio?
North Bay Angels first look to startups in the northern California region, but will review those outside the area. This depends on some local connection or particular interest.
What key attributes do you look for when selecting companies for investment?
We look for a realistic valuation, scalability and competent, passionate founders.
At what stage(s) of the startups’ development do you prefer to invest?
Early stage startups who are operating on friends and family investment plus self-funding. We look to invest in a range from $500K up to $1.5M.
Tell us more about your team. Do you work with companies beyond the provision of funding? If so, how do you support them?
Yes, North Bay Angels does work with companies beyond funding. We support our portfolio companies by becoming Board members, Advisory Board members and mentors. There is a wide range of participation depending upon expertise, interest and time available by individual members. Our members are also involved with local startup pitch events.
Are there key startups which serve as examples of the types of investments you like to pursue?
One example would be Altwork, providing a unique work station for high-intensity computer users that allows working from many positions, not just sitting. What specifically differentiates them? The positioning allowed by the work station encourages all types of body changes during the work day, not just standing or sitting in a different position, with the objective to prevent, reduce or eliminate joint pain.
Another unique startup that we have funded is Crater.co, offering technology for the moving industry to help reduce costs. Its first product is an in-home estimator that automatically calculates moving estimates with a cell phone camera. Crater’s strengths are the co-founders’ industry background in technology and moving companies as well as an outstanding team.
What trends in the startup world are you most excited about?
North Bay Angels is excited about the increasing number of women founders who are able to acquire funding. We have women-only conferences and angel groups in California. Another trend would be the increasing number of incubators and accelerators dedicated to helping startups launch products and get funding. Many of these have started within the last three years.
What else would you like to share?
Probably the most interesting story would be the creation of our InSync Network, looking at each angel group member and how they benefit from the collaboration.
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