Eric Dobson says last 18 months have been great for Angel Capital Group

ACG 2By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

It’s been a great 18 months for Knoxville-based Angel Capital Group (ACG), and it started with a business model change made in April 2015.

“It’s working better than we had expected,” ACG Chief Executive Officer Eric Dobson says of the decision that started when he combined ACG with RAIN Source Capital, a Minnesota-based fund operator.

As reported in this article from early 2015, the move combined RAIN Source Capital’s success in organizing high-performing angel funds, not just chapters, with ACG’s back office, technology-based expertise including its due diligence model called Venture 360.

Couple that action with the fact that angels are having to assume more of the load for early stage capital and ACG’s aggressive embracing of deal syndication, and you have a recipe for success.

Dobson cites these accomplishments:

  • ACG made the largest investment in its history this year and more deals in Tennessee than in any prior 12-month period. They include General Graphene (largest investment in ACG’s history), Care 24-7 (second largest in history), Arkis Biosciences (third largest), Heilo, DataFlyte, AirFlare, and ReviewBox. The last two were participants in the coding cohort in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s “The Works” accelerator.
  • Total investments were three times the amount invested in any previous 12-monthg period.
  • ACG added two new angel chapters/funds in 2016 and expects to add a number of new ones in 2017 in cities where it already has individual investors.

“The reality is that angels are having to take these deals longer,” Dobson explains, adding that this is because venture funds are delaying their initial investment in start-ups. “Early stage venture capital has all but dried-up across the industry, so angels and angel groups must plan to make more than one investment, and often a larger one, in a high-growth company so that it can reach organic growth or a venture round of capital.”

Recognizing the changing landscape helped Dobson and the ACG team modify their strategies, something that is evident in the results.

“That’s why this syndicate of angels makes so much sense,” he says. “We were really early on this syndication curve,” a fact that includes deals across the ACG network as well as with other funds. “Externally, we choose our partners carefully, starting with geography and sector.”

This collaboration strategy is one of the reasons Dobson pushed to host last month’s Angel Capital Association “2016 Angel Insights Exchange” in Nashville. “The golden rule of syndication is reciprocation,” he explains.

Earlier this year, ACG launched two new initiatives – KEC Accelerator Fund to support the coding start-ups in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s “The Works” program and an EPIC Advanced Materials Fund.

ACG has three clubs in Knoxville, Nashville and Ft. Lauderdale and two city funds in Florence, AL and Ashland, KY. It will be relaunching three clubs as funds in 2017. They are in Charleston, SC, Denver, and Kansas City. In addition, ACG is exploring new funds in Boone, NC; Durango, CO; Red Wing, MN; Wilmer, MN; and Winston-Salem.

Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

eNews & Updates

Sign up to receive posts via email.

Connect With Us

Upcoming Events

  • Feb 19 2019 "Rise and Grind" Session 2: “A Survey of Capital Sources, Timing, and Costs”
    Room 402 of the Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville
  • Feb 20 2019 "Vol Court Speaker Series & Pitch Competition" Session #4
    TOPIC: “Entrepreneurial Crowdfunding.” Room 104, Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville
  • Feb 21 2019 Fairview Technology Center Open House
    11020 Solway Road, Knoxville
  • Feb 23 2019 Tennessee Inventors Association Monthly Meeting
    LMU Cedar Bluff Campus, 421 Park 40 North Boulevard, Knoxville
  • Feb 26 2019 Bunker Labs Knoxville Meet-up
    Awaken Coffee, 125 West Jackson Avenue, Knoxville
  • Feb 27 2019 "Vol Court Speaker Series & Pitch Competition" Session #5
    TOPIC: “What’s YOUR Story?” Room 104, Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville
  • Feb 28 2019 Session 5: Maryville College "Scots Innovation Challenge" Pitch Competition
    Lambert Recital Hall at the Clayton Center for the Performing Arts
  • Mar 02 2019 Knoxville City Hackathon
    Pyxl, 625 South Gay Street
  • Mar 03 2019 "What's the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch" Pitch Finale
    Scruffy City Hall, Market Square
  • Mar 03 2019 Knoxville City Hackathon Pitch Finale
    Scruffy City Hall, Market Square
  • Mar 05 2019 Knoxville Mayoral Candidate Forum
    Relix Theatre, 1208 North Central Street, Knoxville
  • Mar 06 2019 "Vol Court Speaker Series & Pitch Competition" Finale
    TOPIC: The pitch competition. Room 104, Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville

Links to Partners