One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is money. Accessing growth capital, securing investments, and generating revenue are issues that plague young and growing businesses alike.
The launch of the first annual OKGN Angel Summit would not be possible without the support of John Sechrest and the Seattle Angel Summit team as well as Richard Takai, Co-founder and Director of Ronin HR Inc.
“We have a lot of wealth here in the Okanagan,” says Takai. “But currently, not a lot of that capital is being deployed in the startup ecosystem”.
Thuy Tran, Programs Manager at Accelerate Okanagan, sees the result of issues related to access to capital popping up regularly within our startup ecosystem and believes the Summit will help to address this.
“The OKGN Angel Summit was designed to bridge the gap between companies looking for growth capital and investors looking for investable companies”, says Tran. “ We are so fortunate to have the support of people like John Sechrest and Richard Takai, who are committed to helping us make this happen.”
We recently caught up with Summit leads Thuy Tran and Richard Takai to learn more about how the Angel Summit works and who can get involved and why it’s more fun to learn when you’ve got some skin in the game.
Q. What inspired the creation of the OKGN Angel Summit?
Thuy: Accelerate Okanagan has been supporting startup companies and entrepreneurs for upwards of 8 years and we see the challenges these companies have when it comes to growth capital. If we want the growth of our startup community to continue to thrive, we also need to focus on building the capital ecosystem to support it. One can’t live without the other.
Richard: There is tremendous potential within the community to grow the sector and to potentially integrate technology into other industries, but access to capital is one of the keys to making this happen.
Q. What is the OKGN Angel Summit all about?
Thuy: The OKGN Angel Summit is for companies and new and experienced investors to engage in angel Investing. The 11-week program trains new angel investors through a guided process that gives participants a chance to actively learn how to vet companies, provide feedback, and perform due diligence while helping early-stage companies along the way. As a group, they learn angel investing by doing angel investing, from start to finish.
Richard: The program launches on January 28th, 2019 and will consist of twenty to forty investors each willing to invest 11 weeks and $5,000, to create a venture capital fund. Twenty to forty startups will go through the program, engage with the investors and receive feedback from the group. Additionally, companies who make it through to the semi-finals will receive mentorship from Accelerate Okanagan’s Executives in Residence.
At the end of the 11 weeks, the 6 finalists pitch to an audience of community members at the April 11, 2019 finale, with the winner receiving an investment from the fund. The goal is to invest a minimum of $100,000 in the winning startup.
Thuy: During the finale, the Angels highlight the process, and as a group will make their final decision on which company is the winner to receive the funds. This is a great chance to learn from experienced investors about operating outside of traditional investment sandbox.
Q. Who can participate?
Thuy: The OKGN Angel Summit is for new and experienced investors who are accredited, and have the curiosity and passion to want to learn about angel investing. The goal is not to focus on finding the next unicorn, but to learn the process on HOW to do structured angel investing, increase the numbers of angel investors in our region and grow the sophistication of angels as deal leads.
Richard: OKGN Angel Summit invests in early-stage companies looking for growth capital where an investment of $100 – $200k will make an impact in moving their business forward. Entrepreneurs that may apply are based within a day’s drive of Kelowna, operate in any industry, seek investment of $100k – $2M, and have the potential for a 10x return on investment in 5 years. This is a great program to improve your company, get valuable feedback, build relationships with investors and ultimately increase your chance of building a successful business.
OKGN Angel Summit is an event powered by the team at Accelerate Okanagan. Looking to connect? We LOVE connecting!
Connect with our Programs Manager, Thuy Tran, by using the contact form provided here.
Or visit us in person! Come find us on the second floor of the Innovation Centre, located in Kelowna, BC.