MUSKEGON — An angel investment group launching in Muskegon could provide a potential new source of capital for local entrepreneurs.
Twenty individual investors have committed $125,000 each over five years to Muskegon Angels.
Led by Mike Olthoff of Nichols Paper & Supply and Larry Hines of Hines Corp., Muskegon Angels will focus on “local growth, investment and assistance, specifically in the areas of advanced manufacturing, food processing, technology, and water-related innovations and businesses,” states an advisory for a news conference that organizers planned to hold this morning to announce formation of the angel group.
Articles of incorporation for Muskegon Angels, filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in December, state that the group will “invest in entrepreneurs with innovative ideas which can create jobs in the greater Muskegon, Michigan area. There will be a particular emphasis on investment in the area commonly referred to as downtown Muskegon.”
Muskegon Angels joins four existing angel networks in Michigan that seek out and vet deals for members who then invest individually in a company. Angels will also typically spend time mentoring the entrepreneurs behind the businesses in which they invest.
In 2011, the most recent year for which statewide data is available, angel investors put $9.5 million into 50 deals in Michigan, according to an annual report from the Michigan Venture Capital Association. The data show 2011 was one of the best years ever for angel investing in Michigan and easily surpassed the activity of the previous four years.
Locally, members of the Holland-based Grand Angels during 2012 made 13 investments in nine companies for nearly $2.5 million. Ten were follow-on investments into existing portfolio companies and three went to new deals. The 2012 activity compares with eight investments for $1.9 million in 2011 for Grand Angels.
Muskegon Angels will operate out of Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in downtown and with the assistance of GVSU’s the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grand Valley and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.