GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Angels launched a new affiliate in Flint, further expanding its presence across Michigan.
Flint Angels became the third affiliate for the Grand Rapids-based Grand Angels formed under the Michigan Capital Network umbrella. The organization previously formed Ka-Zoo Angels in Kalamazoo and Woodward Angels in Detroit.
The new Flint Angels began with 10 members in the Flint area and continues to recruit more, said Grand Angels President Tim Parker. He hopes to enlist up to another 10 investors to join Flint Angels by the end of the year.
Formation of Flint Angels is somewhat personal for Parker. He grew up in the Flint area and “always had a desire to help my home community, knowing that it’s since been through the wringer with the automotive industry and other things.”
Parker had been getting to know Phil Hagerman, the co-founder and retired CEO of Flint-based Diplomat Pharmacy Inc., and David Ollila, who runs the Ferris Wheel, a business innovation incubator.
They got together in September and started talking about the gaps in entrepreneurial support in Flint. Early-stage capital “is definitely a gap that they see and so we saw a good way to be able to help them” with a new angel investor group, Parker said.
“We saw this as another community that can use that support,” he said, calling the new affiliate a “little bit of my personal interests in combination with a good business need there.”
Grand Angels and its affiliates, along with the venture capital fund Grand Angels Venture Fund III LLC, have invested $3.6 million in 13 deals so far in 2019. Another $825,000 came from investors who are not members of the angel network but participated in deals, Parker said.
Angel investors across Michigan in 2018 invested $52 million into 84 startup companies, up from the $41 million that angels invested into 37 startups in 2017, according to the 2019 research report published by the Michigan Venture Capital Association.
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