Echo’s of the Theory
In summer 2016 over a dozen of us met for a 2 day strategy retreat on how to best serve and support the lives of entrepreneurs and investors in Canada. We want to further drive innovation, wealth creation in the local and national economy and extend this further than we’ve already been doing in developing countries.
Many of the pieces were already in place with different levels of maturity: the Valhalla Angels chapters; educational services for startups and investors, a positive international reputation for education, mentoring and investment; with new areas recently developed (i.e., our M&A team), and an angel fund... The component to flush out was the overarching strategy to align the existing and new groups together. Out of this came our approach and our mission statement.
Fast forward to Aug of 2017 and Valhalla Private Capital is launched ahead of schedule; “Investor-led Business Growth. From Cradle to Exit and Back” - creating a virtuous cycle (https://tinyurl.com/valhallapc ).
From Cradle to Exit and Back summarizes our goal: assisting entrepreneurs, helping them grow and realize a liquidity moment (or two) for themselves and their investors; having them return as investors and or mentors / advisors and contribute back to the community or, of course, start up another company.
So where is the Echo?
Davis McGregor is one such entrepreneur turned investor member with Valhalla Angels and is now an advisor for startups. “Without the insights, training [Valhalla Angels Base Camp] and advice from the team at Valhalla Angels, my 4 year journey from idea to exit would have been a much more arduous one” stated Davis. “It is a pleasure being on the investor side of the table and contributing back to our startup community”.
This past January, at our monthly Angels Forums, one of the pitches was delivered from a serial entrepreneur out of Buffalo. Jonathan Strimling with UltraCell Insulation pitched in Edmonton, Calgary and Kelowna. He is looking to open up manufacturing facilities in Canada (Jonathan’s target customers will be within 500 km of the facility which means multiple sites are needed in Canada and the US with the first site being Boston).
Over the 3 days he spent with us he learned more about our approach and stated “this is entirely unique, I’ve never seen this anywhere else, and it makes sense with our evolving economy.” As for his company, he commented “We need a collaborative network of advisors with broad experience to compete internationally in our local markets (Canada and the US). Working with an angel group that is plugged into a fund, training, M&A, all under one roof, is a unique opportunity for us.”
South of the border, in a recent in-depth report* released in October 2017, they discovered from interviewing over 1,600 angels that “angels may be creating entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurs are also creating angels”: 55% of angel investors were a founder or CEO of their own startup and such individuals write bigger cheques and make more investments.
Sounds like we are on the right path!
If anyone can share or comes across a similar Canadian study I would love to highlight that here.
* The American Angel Campaign: commissioned by the Angel Capital Association with the John Huston Fund for Angel Professionalism. http://www.theamericanangel.org/ Oct 2017www.ultracellinsulation.com