Young companies with a connection to Indiana University have a new source for startup capital and the money comes from within the IU family. The nonprofit IU Ventures has announced the creation of the IU Angel Network. The program is designed to help connect entrepreneurs with an “angel," someone who is looking for opportunities to invest in an early startup. But key to this program is the direct link to the university.
“To engage the IU alumni base and friends of the university to participate with their own capital — as well as their time, talents and expertise — in helping these new startups grow," said Tedd Green, executive in residence at IU Ventures.
Often the most difficult barrier for entrepreneurs is to obtain the pre-seed funding, money used for legal matters such as proof of concept, filing for IP protection and assembling a team. This program intends to help entrepreneurs gain access to those necessary funds. Likewise, the program intends to seek and screen qualified applicants.
"For angels, having an efficient and ongoing pipeline for prescreened deals at the very early stage creates new opportunities — especially when it’s combined with a professional network and the opportunity to partner with the vast resources of Indiana University," said Jane Martin, an IU alumna and retired venture capitalist.
Green says when investors with an IU affiliation join the IU Angel Network, they will connect with a growing collective of successful IU alumni to exchange ideas and review investment opportunities in a curated list of IU-affiliated startup ventures.
The launch of the IU Angel Network is the third leg of programming by IU Ventures to serve as a business catalyst. The organization also oversees the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund and a program called The Quarry, which helps connect IU researchers with potential investors.
"Now, with the addition of the IU Angel Network, whether you want to donate or give of your time or invest in IU-affiliated startups, we have all of those options available through IU Ventures. We are providing many different ways for people to engage," said IU Ventures President and CEO Anthony Armstrong.
IU Ventures hopes to have 25 to 30 angels on board with the program within a few months.
Green explains what the program is looking for in a candidate to receive help from the IU Angel Network.