Crowdfunding vs Angels – Circle the wagons!

Editorial by Nicole Gravagna, Director of Operations for the Rockies Venture Club

Maybe it’s the landscape here in Denver. The gorgeous sunsets these last few days have been just the kind if backdrop that the protagonist should ride away into at the end of the day. And until today, I thought all was settled in the land of investors. Then an article like this guestpost on Venture Beat comes across my desk. Is this a new take on the old Cowboys vs Indians?  Crowdfunding vs Angels? Is Ryan Caldbeck (CEO of CircleUp) suggesting that we circle the wagons?

Caldbeck writes that with the new JOBS Act and crowdfunding rules, heads of angel groups will have to make adjustments to stay competitive. His argument seems to lie in the premise that online crowdfunding platforms like his will have such great dealflow that our angels will stop coming to investor meetings, instead choosing to do all their investing online. As one of these “heads of angel groups” I’ll have to beg your pardon.

Angel investing is notoriously inefficient. This part, Caldbeck has correct. Angels are simply high-wealth individuals who want to get involved with startups for a variety of reasons; for the most part, they are not trained investors. The individual nature of angel investing cannot be expressed enough. Sometimes multiple angels pool capital into LLCs to create a little fund for each investment, but generally, angels tend to make decisions to invest on their own accord. Crowdfunding will be no different. Investors will still make their own decisions to fund a company or walk away. No one is going to request a conference call with 99 other potential backers around the world to decide whether they will invest. Similarly, due diligence efforts can only be shared so much before you begin to wonder if you trust your money to someone else’s ability to dig up dirt on a would-be investment. I’ll make the argument that crowdfunding is just as individualized and inefficient as angel investing. Both crowdfunders and angels do their own due diligence and make their own decisions.

Caldbeck’s point that, for angels, getting strong dealflow can be a time consuming nightmare is also well taken. I am personally responsible for creating the eddies of dealflow for the Rockies Venture Club and I’m totally thankful that I have 27 years of local name recognition for my organization to fall back on. If I were to walk into a BDNT meeting, grab the microphone and boast to entrepreneurs that I am now accepting applications for companies to pitch to Nicole (vs pitch to the Rockies Venture Club), it wouldn’t go over so well. Few individuals have the quality dealflow that established angel groups can claim. For angels in towns lacking an angel group, I can see how crowdfunding sites will drastically improve the number of quality investment opportunities. However, in places like New York, Denver, Pasadena, Nashville, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Puget Sound, St. Louis, Las Vegas — I digress.

Is the promise of dealflow really the reason that angels come to angel group meetings? If so, then crowfunding sites may have the silver bullet and nationwide angel groups will soon be landing in the dust like the cowboy with a slow draw. Now, I’ve spent the last year facilitating two meetings per month of the RVC Investor Forum, and I have the sneaking suspicion that dealflow is not the only reason that we find ourselves around the boardroom table.

Why are we really there? Let’s go back to the part about how angels are high-wealth individuals who want to get involved in startups for a variety of reasons. Many of our angels are entrepreneurs who “made it”. Their last company had a great exit and now they want to invest in other startups. These folks are often young (sub retirement age), still starting companies of their own, and want to see what the other side of the negotiation looks like. They are not trained investors.

How does one learn angel investing, anyway? Angels learn to invest through formal or informal mentorship by other angels.

Where does an angel meet other angels? At angel group meetings.

At Rockies Venture Club, we quickly noticed that angels need to meet face to face with other angels so that they can learn what works, what doesn’t work, and how to get through the difficult and awkward parts of being an angel investor with dignity intact. We’ve taken this a step farther and have been creating courses for angels to learn the tricks of this wild avocation. (The next angel course will be Jan 22: Identifying and Designing a Good Deal)

I’ll relate a story to illustrate how an educated angel is invaluable. Recently a company came through our program and when it was time to negotiate terms, we quickly determined that prior funding terms made this deal very unattractive. If we had only neophyte angels in the group, the deal would have languished on our “watch” list until the founders decided to go get big corporate jobs. Fortunately, we had a highly experienced angel who took the deal by the reigns and re-negotiated old terms with the stakeholders. A big percent of zero is a lot less attractive than a smaller percent of a great exit and, after a few months, I’m happy to say that the deal is closed. Our less experienced angels have been learning from our highly experienced angels. The result is that our companies close deals at a rate of 22%. Are crowdfunding sites going to bring backers together to learn from one another as trusted friends and colleagues?

Frankly, Ryan Caldbeck, I don’t hear the cowboy showdown music starting after all. When the JOBS Act dust settles and crowdfunding is no longer a media buzzword, angel groups and crowdfunding sites will find there is little competition between them. Crowdfunding sites will have their place in cyberspace and angel groups will still have face to face meetings for those of us who actually like to shake hands.

 

Why Coworking?

Article by Griffin Ignelzi, Thrive LoDo

Every day there are more people forming and operating small businesses out of their homes or having to utilize the local coffee shop as a meeting ground. Sound familiar? While this option has proven viable for the startup in the short term it has become abundantly clear that this office situation is not ideal and can lead to your growing business having a tainted image in regards to professionalism and sustainability. The logical step in advancing the home-run or startup business is to get out of the living room and into your own office space; coworking spaces stand superior to their private, financially-heavy, “corporate” office counterpart.

Coworking is rapidly becoming the future standard, especially for small and startup businesses office needs. There are numerous advantages to a coworking environment. The culture that is created in a shared office setting vastly improves your businesses productivity, output, and networking reach. By surrounding yourself in close proximity to likeminded business professionals from varied backgrounds and expertise, one can vastly increase their business’ ability to flourish by taking advantage of collaborative opportunities with neighbors in close proximity.

Share your unique skill set, learn from those surrounding you and lift your business to new heights by taking advantage of the resources and professional community shared offices creates. Shared office spaces are far more affordable and include more services, features and potential for business growth than otherwise offered in generic private offices. Not only will you pay less on rental space when you sign up for a shared work environment, but you place yourself in prime real estate and become centrally located in the heart of your city’s downtown business district – the epicenter for business recognition, growth and success.

As you begin to look around for the different spaces out there, it is good to know about companies like Pivot Desk, a Boulder run group that connects people who are looking for existing spaces with availability. The spaces they promote range from a simple desk to multiple rooms.

Officespace.com and websites like Sharedspaces.com are good resources for discovering local office space available today and how much they cost to rent.

Another approach to looking into centers with available office spaces that work for you is to see what local businesses offer services in networking and other offerings that bring you closer to other like-minded entrepreneurs. Groups like Thrive Workplace Solutions are located in the heart of Denver’s (LoDo) Business centers host regular meet and greets, networking opportunities and provide unique and customizable workspaces geared towards the needs of business professionals. Thrive combines modern architectural design, comfort, ambiance, sound masking techniques and customizable individual spaces to provide the optimal environment from which your business will produce the highest caliber results.

More Resources:

http://www.deskmag.com/
http://wiki.coworking.com/w/page/16583831/FrontPage

CleanLaunch offers Free Coworking Space to likeminded entrepreneurs

Ever since high school we all wanted to be where the cool kids are. Right? Ok, maybe not you hipsters, but follow me anyway.

If you are a clean tech company, inventor, or human idea generator, you now have an invitation to hang with the cool kids. The CleanLaunch Technology Incubator at NREL is offering their space for free. They’ll give you conference rooms, a place to put your laptop (desk) and your rump (chair), internet access, parking, and enough coffee to fuel your ideas. They even have a color printer and if you don’t abuse your limits I bet they won’t charge you much for that either.

Still unsure, you can Tweetstalk CleanLaunch for a while.

Of course they can’t just open the doors to anyone. You really have to be working on clean tech stuff. There’s always fine print, isn’t there? Sorry, dirty tech people. This isn’t for you.

The fine print:

To qualify for the free coworking space at CleanLaunch, the business or entrepreneur must be developing, implementing, or operating an initiative that is addressing energy, environmental, and resource constraints. Examples include enabling technologies, software, and unique business models that are applied to energy, materials, water, food and agriculture, transportation, sustainable living, and resource efficiency.

For more information see the CleanLaunch website.

Who are these cool kids anyway? Colorado cleantech economic development stakeholders including NREL, CCIA, EEBC, Calstart, CAMA, Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, and CleanLaunch

Rob Writz is the Director of New Ventures at CleanLaunch. He was recently highlighted in an interview here.

Updates for the New Year

  • Active investments are happening!
  • New private equity investment education courses
  • New Investor Meeting locations and more investors joining RVC every week!
  • Increased benefits for RVC members!

 

More Success!
We made big changes to RVC in 2012, and the fact is, we aren’t done yet! This year we added the RVC Investor Forum consisting of two Forum Meetings (Boulder and Denver) each month. This single change made all the difference for 22 great RVC companies who have reported investments totaling over $14,000,000 this year alone.

More Investor Meeting Locations!
In 2013 we are happy to announce that we will be adding another Investor Forum Meeting location in Golden starting in January. RVC has partnered with the Golden Economic Development Commission to stimulate deal flow west of Denver. We look forward to a change of scenery, and what pretty scenery it is. The exact location will be announced shortly.

More Education!
Next year you can expect more courses in the RVC Academy. The ever popular Pitch Academy runs every month on the Friday before our pitch event. This course is open to the public and space is limited. A new structure of this course allows for the option of sitting in and observing instead of having to pitch in class. Also, now you can bring the whole team at a discounted rate! Choose your level of participation.

A new Private Equity Prep Course will be available for companies to determine whether they are ready to seek capital. This will be an intensive workshop where each company can identify and address opportunities for improvement. We may end up calling it a Roadmap to Readiness Course.

Investors and entrepreneurs alike will be exited to take the new course Identifying and Designing a Good Investment Deal. Expert instruction by Lauren Ivison from ClearCreak Partners. Are you sure that the deal on the table isn’t laced with bombs and pitfalls? Learn from Lauren who frequently sees deals in arrested development because prior rounds were poorly structured.

Look for more courses in the coming months as we build out our suite of Private Equity Investment Education Courses.

 

Investor Pitch Deck Series: #1 The Market Slide

 

Dear reader,

This is the first of many blogposts in a series that I’m calling the Investor Pitch Deck Series. I will create a post about each general investor pitch slide, why it is important, the common errors, and how to communicate that you have what it takes to achieve your goals for this company. Here at the Rockies Venture Club, we pitch around 100 companies per year to investors. Plus, we teach the Pitch Academy course every month where we see lots of great companies that span the gradient from Newbie (first time pitch) to Pitch Maestro (hundreds of pitches). Trust me when I say we’ve seen it all.

 


The mantra for this series will be, “Above all, make sense.”


The Market Slide

The purpose of the Market Slide is to show that you have enough people interested to buy your product so that you can ultimately have a scalable and sizable business. An underlying, and equally important purpose of this slide is to convey that you have a plan and are capable of actually capturing those customers. In this case nothing says “capable” like the existence of real paying customers. Barring that (if your product is still in development) you can show evidence of touching your potential customers through direct surveys, polls, and other interactions.

Cringe Factors

Cringe Factor #1 – When a pre-revenue company claims they are in a $X Billion Market, they will capture Y% the first year then Z% the following year.

Why this makes us cringe – Until you have a paying customer, you cannot be sure that you can really sell your product. If you are in revenue and you can track your increase in sales over time, then it stands to reason that your sales trajectory will continue on that track for a while. Prior to gaining paying customers, we are pretty sure you are just making stuff up.

How to do it right – If your company is pre-revenue, discuss the market size, then spend your time talking about how you are going to get out there and touch that market. Use specifics such as, “Last week, we had a phone call with Julie Miller from Borders about putting our product on their shelves. Next week, we have a meeting planned with the floor manager of the local Borders.” Your go-to-market strategy is way more exciting to investors than a bunch of made up numbers.

Cringe Factor #2 – You tell us that your pro forma includes “very conservative estimates”.

Why this makes us cringe – All we hear is, “I made up some numbers, then cut them in half.” Again, the appearance of invented numbers is the culprit.

How to do it right – Two words: field research. If you have talked to potential customers and gotten their word that they are willing to pay $10 for your product and that they would buy it 5 times a year, then you have a pretty good idea that the yearly value of a customer is $50. If you talked to 100 people in the right demographic and 6 said they’d be interested, then you expect 6% of your touched market to become a customer. If you’ve done some pre-product-release marketing to determine how many people you are able to reach with your initial marketing campaign, then you know your initial potential customer base. Put all that together and you have validated numbers for your pro forma. What’s better is that you can (and should) do this kind of bottom up market research before your product is available for purchase.

Cringe Factor #3 – You have no market strategy.

Why this makes us cringe – Your product or technology might be able to save the world and if no one knows about it, you’re sunk. (Inventors, this means you.)

How to do it right – Get out there, talk to people, and find out about their relationship with your product (or your type of product if yours isn’t available yet). You might be surprised what you learn. Really listen. Work with your team to build three different go-to-market strategies. Initially just brainstorm. Be silly about it at first. List ALL of the ways you might get the word out about your product. Are you finding that you are listing any organizations, government agencies, or large companies who might be really great strategic partners for you? Are their any groups or companies who might make bulk purchases? Does it make sense to give some of your product away for free to customers as marketing? Does it make sense to give your product to other companies for free or cheap if they can somehow connect you to your customer?

When you are done thinking, planning, rethinking, testing, pricing, and planning some more, you will have a great roadmap to get you into revenue. This is an iterative process and your market strategy will continually evolve. That said, you MUST be able to recite a market strategy when you present to investors. Investors know that nothing sells itself.

 

Example Slides

The first question I ask an entrepreneur of their product, “What does it do?” The second question I ask is “how does it make money?” The Market Slide is one of the ways that you illustrate how your product makes money. There are countless websites with investor slide examples. Instead of adding my own to the melee, below I address four examples and discuss how they handle the market slide.


This slide from ReOverthinking.com shows thoughtful consideration about the target customer. Identification of the customer is important and is sometimes non-trivial. In some cases you may be thinking of the end user as the customer, but who really pays you for the product?
My favorite part of this slide is that no claims are made to capturing any percentage of this market.

I’m not wild about the rest of the slides in this example since they are too busy for a live pitch presentation, but here they are.

 

 


 

This example slide from Shai Goldman goes a step farther and mentions the “bottoms up” approach. If you can add bottom up research (also called ‘field data’) for any market size numbers you will gain immediate credibility. Bottom up research looks like a well set diamond in your slide deck.

You can find the rest of this deck on slideshare.

 

 


 

What is a discussion of investor pitch slides without an example from Guy Kawasaki, Pitch Guru? His marketing slide includes a mention to sales. I could not have put a finer point on it. Your company’s goal is sales. How are you going to begin and increase sales? What have you already done? Who on your team is driving the sales?

 

 

 

 


 

Here is a real-life example from AirBnb’s first pitch deck. This slide simply identifies the size of the target market. They coupled this with another side listing the number of users on two different competitors’ web sites. By pairing the total market with the real user numbers from comparable companies, they show a realistic best case scenario for early market size. Later in the deck, they show a market adoption slide covering the strategic partnerships they will use to touch their targeted customers.

 

 


The next installment in the series will be the Traction slide exit strategy slide. The change was inspired by a blogpost by A Smart Bear.

Colorado Life Science Night

Rockies Venture Club and the Colorado Bio Science Association are teaming up for an exciting night of life science information, interaction, instruction, and investing.

This will be a popular event, so be sure to register early. We have an exceptional lineup of life science companies pitching this month.

Please Register for Colorado Life Sciences Night

Tuesday, November 13th from 5:00-8:00pm

Location: 1700 Lincoln, Denver, Wells Fargo Hershner Room

5:00-5:55pm – Networking Happy Hour
5:55-6:45pm- Transitioning Your Management Team with John Kelley, CEO of Cerescan
6:45-7:30pm – Pitches: Neuro Assessment Systems, Securisyn Medical, KromaTid, Willowcroft Pharm, LLC.

Angel Investor Forums:
As always, this event will be followed by investor
forums for accredited angel investors. If you have
been curious about learning about angel investing,
this would be the event for you.
Denver Tech Center Thursday 11/15 7:00 am
Boulder Friday 11/16 10:30am

Peter's 12 Ps of Investment Readiness

Peter Adams, RVC Executive Director, taught two courses during Denver Startup Week. He culminated the presentation with the 12 Ps of fundraising preparedness. Is your company ready to raise capital?

Are you prepared to begin raising capital for your company? Use this checklist to determine how ready you really are. Not all companies will have all 12 of these readiness factors, but the more you have, the more ready you are.

Package – Investors are buying a piece of your company. When you present your investment opportunity to investors be sure that you are presenting the whole package, not just the product or technology.

People – The management team is incredibly important. If your company is still small or can’t afford to hire a complete team, be sure to add people to your deal in the form of volunteer advisors. Can you name 10 people who are willing to publicly be affiliated with your company?

Plan – Failing to plan is planning to fail. Of course you won’t follow your business plan exactly and everything will change next week. Write the plan anyway, then keep improving on it.

Proforma – Investors love to see the numbers. It’s better if you can provide validated numbers that reflect a few of the big decisions you are going to make.

Prototype – Can you put your product in an investor’s hand? Better yet, is it a working prototype? Prototypes show you are another step closer to revenue.

Product – Do you have a finished product? Even better.

Promotion Strategy – You may have the best product in the world and if no one knows about it, your company fails. How are you going to get your product into the world? Provide specifics about your strategy such as, “work with Marketing Company X, beginning March 2013”.

Partnerships – No company is an island. Partner with other companies toward a common goal of increasing revenue. A great example is Zappos which partnered with UPS to provide free shipping. Zappos gained customers through their always free shipping gimmick and UPS increased volume of their shipping business. Obviously, Zappos paid UPS, at a bulk discount, to ship.

Paying Customers – Have you convinced anyone to pay you for your product? Even if it’s only two customers, flaunt all sales.

Proof – Proof of concept and proof that your business model is a valid one comes in many ways. The more proof you have that your company can make money, the more likely you can get investors excited about your company.

Pitch Deck – You have to communicate your business to investors in a short period of time. Your message must be clear or you can lose credibility fast. You really do only get one chance to make a first impression.

PPM –  A Private Placement Memorandum is a legal document that includes an engagement letter, term sheet, and everything your company needs to issue stock in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document details the summary of the offering, financial data, industry overview, management, etc. Companies with a PPM tend to close on their rounds faster than those who don’t.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed at the extent of preparation that is necessary to raise funding, don’t fret. Fundraising is a process, very few companies have all of these when they begin seeking capital. Often companies set aside a year when they decide that it is appropriate to begin fundraising. They spend some time gathering the information for the proforma and PPM, begin to create a pitch deck, and start spreading the word that they are interested in investment. A great investment takes time to prepare.

 


RVC News Blitz – Fall 2012

Table Of Contents

1820 Club
Colorado’s Angel Group Consortium
Colorado Capital Conference 2012
AppIt Ventures named winner of $50K biz plan award!

 

1820 Club
Twenty-seven of the most enthusiastic ladies in Colorado came out for the first meeting of the 1820 Club in October. The 1820 Club is a new gathering of ladies who are interested in the investment world either because they want to invest, or because they are seeking investment. The name 1820 club refers to the birth year of Susan B. Anthony, best known for her dedication to Women’s Rights and the suffrage movement, her life stands as a pivotal mark in time leading to the equal rights women enjoy today. In this meeting we talked about our experiences with capital raises and investing from many perspectives. Investors, entrepreneurs, and service professionals were all present as we discussed our roles in the rebuilding of Colorado’s Economic Development. The group is intended to be an insightful meeting for women managing private equity financing from any angle.

Some of the investors present at the meeting were interested to find out that no investment experience is necessary to attend our Denver or Boulder Investor Forums. These meetings are just as much about educating potential investors as they are about presenting potential investments. For legal reasons, we must limit attendance of these meetings to accredited investors. Those who meet the legal qualifications of an accredited investor 1) had an income of $200k ($300k if married) and expect to meet the income requirement in the current year OR 2) have $1,000,000 in assets not including their primary home.

For ladies who do not meet these requirements, please feel free to attend the 1820 Club meetings throughout the year and/or volunteer with the Rockies Venture Club to get more involved.


Colorado’s Angel Group Consortium

Reaching angel investors in Colorado just got a whole lot easier! Thank you, Elizabeth Kraus (Co-Founder of Impact Angel Group) for making some noise and getting all of the Angel Communities together at the Colorado Capital Conference. Between organizing face-to-face meetings and a regularly scheduled phone call, Kraus is making sure that those who manage Angel Communities in Colorado are paddling together toward a common goal. What does this mean for the entrepreneurial community and the state of Colorado? It means that entrepreneurs have quadrupled their exposure when they approach the managed angel communities in our state. This results in less fundraising time which means a more efficient capital raise. It means that we just got one step closer to making a startup seed round raise an easy experience.

The Rockies Venture Club, High Altitude Investors, Impact Angel Group, Boulder Angels, Colorado Angel Investors, and Unreasonable Angels, are different organizations that help connect entrepreneurs with investors in Colorado. Historically, it has been a challenge to raise more that $1,000,000 in Colorado in a single round. At Rockies Venture Club, we encourage companies to tap their home states to complete a round over $1 Million. Now that Kraus is doing the legwork to connect all of the different angel groups in the state, it should be easier for entrepreneurs to reach or surpass that $1 Million mark.

Should all of the angel groups in the state consolidate into one big angel group? We don’t think so. Angel investing is traditionally a local endeavor. With High Altitude Investors located in Colorado Springs, Rockies Venture Club in Denver and Boulder, and other groups in Fort Collins, Angel Investors have opportunities to invest locally. A regular, facilitated meeting between the groups makes sense more than complete dissolution of the boundaries. One thing is for certain, Kraus is doing our whole state a service by volunteering her time to make sure that deals pass freely between the angel groups in different regions.


Colorado Capital Conference 2012
The Colorado Capital Conference was a great success! One of the pitching companies, SwiftPage, has already closed their round. Congratulations, SwiftPage! We are seeing immediate interest in many of the other companies including those who won the Venture Bucks awards. First place went to BioFeedz, a company with a biofeedback technology platform that could be used for anything from PTSD therapy to biocontrolled videogames. Second place went to Cloud9Express; third place went to urHUB; Swiftpage and Metabiomics get an honorable mention.

Governor John Hickenlooper gave our keynote address and mentioned his own experience as an entrepreneur in 1958 starting the Wynkoop brewery. He pitched his company to Rockies Venture Club way back when RVC was a new organization. He said the room was polite to him but they didn’t jump on board and finance the now historic brewery. We’d like to think that we’d be more interested if he came to us now. Including his initial pitch in 1985 and the keynote address at the Colorado Capital Conference 2012, John Hickenlooper has spoken to RVC three times. We appreciate his support and look forward to continuing working with the state of Colorado to develop small businesses locally.


AppIt Ventures named winner of $50K biz plan award!

The City of Denver raised a $50,000 cash award from private donors, and gathered amazing resources to bestow on one deserving company. As part of Denver Startup Week, Paul Washington, head of Denver’s Office of Economic Development, announced that AppIt Ventures is this year’s winner. Denver is devoted to accelerating economic development though their JumpStart initiative. Through a three pronged approach focusing on 1) business development, 2) investing and lending, and 3) workforce development, the city is devoting funds and effort into supporting small and large businesses with the things they need most. The city’s efforts will develop solutions for strategic partnerships, working capital, and well-trained employees which will drive businesses in Denver for years to come.

AppIt Ventures is a Denver company that designs and builds Apps to specification. They also have client services to help companies launch their new app as a product or business. This company is a smart choice for Denver to support. They have a great business model combining software development with client services. By mixing technology and consulting, AppIt should be able to weather any upsets in the technology sector by leaning on their consulting or vs versa. Further, because the company creates Apps and teaches their clients how to develop their business, AppIt Ventures is essentially a tech business creation machine. This company is one to watch.

Social/Environmental Impact Investing Does Not Have to Mean Low Returns

There is a common misconception that social and environmental (S/E Impact) companies can’t return the same type of investment potential that high tech companies can. In fact, this belief can create limiting behaviors on the part of social and environmental impact companies. When they feel that they are not bound by the same rules as the companies that they are competing with for investment dollars, then S/E Impact companies limit their potential.

The Rockies Venture Club once supported non-profits as a part of the Angel Capital Summit. As a non-profit ourselves, we saw the value in supporting non-profits and yet it somehow didn’t feel “right” in an investment event.  People are in a different mindset when they are pursuing philanthropy than they are when they are investing – even though one person may do both from time to time. Our goal is to create opportunities for investments that have philanthropic outcomes but also return venture-grade returns on investment. These returns allow serial philanthropists to create “evergreen funds” that are replenished by investment returns and which can then be re-invested to do even more good.

There is, in fact, a blurred line between pure philanthropy and some S/E Impact investments. But there is also a blurred line between impact investments and high growth investments. The differences should be based on the investor’s objectives. Impact investors are following a global trend towards enabling communities or producing long-term sustainable environmental products vs. dwelling in an endless cycle of donations that only results in continued poverty.

With a huge global demand for impact investment and a diminishing availability of aid, a revolution in how aid is delivered is needed. Impact Angel Investing is one key to filling that gap.

How we measure the outcomes of our investments is the key to understanding impact investing. Traditional investments looked at Return on Investment in terms of multiples of investment, IRR or other purely financial means.  We now have sophisticated Triple Bottom Line metrics that allow us to measure not only economic returns, but also social and environmental returns. Corporations are increasingly measuring their results using Triple Bottom Line approaches and it makes sense that this kind of thinking should also apply to Angel Investing.

Attend the Impact Angel Investing event December 11th and find out more how we all can benefit from impact investing and see four great impact entrepreneurs pitch their businesses – and you can decide for yourself.

Kindara: Pushing Fertility Awareness Forward

Article by Kevin Davis from REbound

Editor’s note: Kindara pitched at the RVC Summer Pitchfest in August. At the time of printing they’ve raise a significant amount of their round and intend to close the round in October.

Will Sacks and Kati Bicknell are huge supporters of the science behind the Symptothermal Method of fertility awareness. In fact, they’ve successfully used the method as contraception for the past 3.5 years. However, what started as one couple’s natural, data-based approach to avoiding pregnancy now helps millions of couples do just the opposite: make babies.

Will and Kati are a husband-wife team that founded Kindara, a smartphone tool designed to monitor and educate women about their own fertility. Kindara provides a user-friendly dashboard for inputting morning temperature and other fertility signs, all used to monitor where women are in their menstrual cycles so they can increase (or decrease) their chances of getting pregnant. The tool removes the hassle associated with daily monitoring thus enabling Sympothermal Method adoption and the science behind it.

Now, as a 35 year old, bootstrapping entrepreneur, I myself can get behind the benefit of natural contraception. I’m in no way ready for children. I can also see how Kindara would have been a huge benefit to friends who’ve spent thousands of dollars on fertility treatments. However, my true excitement for this product stems from its public health benefits. Kindara’s hidden beauty is the millions of data points aggregated into what Will and Kati hope will be the world’s largest consumer fertility database. That’s information worthy of the medical industry’s attention.

Anonymous data acquired by Kindara will help identify fertility trends based on age, ethnicity and geographical region. This resource could be pivotal for public health groups attempting to solve recurring fertility issues. For example, Kaiser Permanente has a group dedicated to identifying negative, demographic-based health trends and deriving preventative solutions to address them. To Kaiser, this data enables easier trend identification and quicker preventative action, steps that lead to overall medical cost reductions.

Now, according to Kindara, the fertility test kit market is a $500M/yr and the fertility treatment market is worth $4Bn/yr. These statistics clearly illustrate couples are willing to spend on fertility solutions. Adoption of a less invasive, less expensive alternative will be no exception. Kindara is a solution that A) helps couples avoid confusing, fertility kits that don’t tell a couple anything about their cycle and B) provides a natural option prior to expensive medical intervention.

The Kindara application is free, but advanced services will generate revenues. Users can pay for advice on various fertility products vetted by Kindara’s medical advisors or subscribe for personalized email support from the Kindara support team of fertility counsellors. As of October, Kindara has 15,000+ downloads and 5000+ returning users. The Kindara team is currently accepting seed investment during the month of October to expand and monetize their userbase. If you’re interested in investing or just itching to increase your fertility knowledge base, track down CEO Will Sacks at the Colorado Capital Conference. He’ll be happy to chat.

Contact: Will Sacks (CEO), will@kindara.com
Website: www.kindara.com
Funding Round: Seed