Despite the pandemic and all of its challenges, the 125 investors in the VisionTech Angels network continue to write checks. The Indianapolis-based early stage investment group’s latest investment was $210,000 in University of Notre Dame-affiliated startup Resonado, which brings its bridge-round haul to nearly $1 million. VisionTech Executive Director Ben Pidgeon says 2020 has created strong opportunities for startups looking to disrupt the market.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Pidgeon said VisionTech expects to finish the year with a record $2.5 million in investments.
“I would credit the activity to a couple of things, actually,” said Pidgeon. “One of the things is that our investor base is very active. We get into a diligence process after we’ve determined that there’s interest in pursuing something and a number of our investors usually raise their hand to participate in that diligence process. They get to vote on the deal and kind of form an opinion through a scorecard. So it’s a really neat model.”
VisionTech Angels was founded in 2009 and has chapters throughout Indiana, including Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Greater Lafayette, and Indianapolis. The group’s website says combined investments typically range from $200,000 to $500,000.
Pidgeon says VisionTech looks at 400 deals per year. He says the investment in Resonado, which has developed a unique flat speaker technology, is the type of investment that is different than what it initially seems.
“You look at that many number of deals and you try to figure out if it’s either an oxygen, aspirin or jewelry. If a product’s an oxygen, you pay for it because you can’t live without it. If it’s aspirin, it removes a major pain point. If it’s jewelry, you pay for it because you want it and on the surface, Resonado looks like a jewelry, but when you start to look at the opportunity and listen to the story that (CEO) Brian (Cho) tells, it becomes an aspirin because of the design capabilities that Resonado now enables.”
For example, Pidgeon says Resonado’s flat speakers could eliminate a pain point for automotive manufacturers who have to make car doors larger to accommodate traditional speakers.
VisionTech says more than half of the network’s 125 investors took part in Resonado’s virtual pitch in June and about one-third of those made investments.