Research Triangle gets new angel fund Triangle Angel Partners

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There’s a new angel investment fund in North Carolina’s Research Triangle with capital to feed early stage life science and technology companies.

Triangle Angel Partners, or TAP, has formed with participation from more than 40 investors in the Triangle and raised $2.3 million, WRALTechWire reports. Financial backers include Rich Lee, the former CEO of data center operator Hosted Solutions, which was acquired by telecommunications company Windstream Communications for $310 million in 2010. Other TAP members include executives, Ph.Ds, entrepreneurs and professional investors.

TAP will invest in companies in the Research Triangle region. Beyond financing, the group pledges to provide counseling and mentoring as well as connections to the venture capital community of the Southeast. TAP lists its investment criteria as follows:

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Management Team

We look for teams of high-quality entrepreneurs with a track record of leadership and performance, either in the company’s specific industry or in prior entrepreneurial ventures. We also look at your team’s passion for and commitment to the new business idea, and your ability to inspire confidence among future stakeholders, including employees, potential customers and investors. As we will be working together as partners, your team’s credibility is essential. In addition, your team must be open to and comfortable with receiving input provided by angel investors.

Market Opportunity

Your company must demonstrate a strategy to claim significant share of the target market. There are plenty of great business ideas, but not all businesses will generate returns that justify angel investor and venture capital financing. Therefore, providing a solution to a problem with a large potential market is essential.

Use of Proceeds

Funds must be used to accelerate your company’s achievement of key milestones that increase the company’s value. We generally fund activities that include research and product development, building a sales and marketing infrastructure, and hiring key executives.

Growth Potential

We look for companies that can grow quickly and manage the scale necessary to succeed. Your company must demonstrate a plan to generate significant profits beyond the initial product idea. Do you have a strategy to achieve multiple sources of revenue? We also require well-conceived financial projections, based on sound assumptions, demonstrating consistent profits and cash-flow growth.

Competitive Advantage

Your company must have some proprietary features that distinguish you from potential competitors or provide barriers to entry that prevent other companies from capturing your customers with a similar offering. Attributes that convey competitive advantage include intellectual property protection, exclusive licenses, exclusive marketing and distribution relationships, strong brands, scarce human resources (i.e. knowledge and skills), and access to scarce raw materials.

Fit

TAP members have significant executive experience in a variety of fields. One of the benefits of working with angel investors is the active coaching and contact network that such investors can provide. As such, there must be a fit between members of our group and your idea.

Technology

We prefer to invest in first-of-a-kind new ideas, rather than incremental enhancements to existing products and services. However, we approach highly complex, esoteric technologies with caution. The concept behind the technology must be proven and verifiable. Further, we avoid science projects that don’t demonstrate a clear path to commercialization. Any breakthrough innovation must be accompanied by a strong business plan.

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By Frank Vinluan

Frank Vinluan is the North Carolina Bureau Chief for MedCity News.
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