The Michigan organization Ann Arbor Angels, founded by the Bank of Ann Arbor, is working to foster leadership among top investors in the regional angel community. How else could they be known but as Arch Angels?
“We have put together a group of what we call Arch Angels,” said Ann Arbor Angels President and Bank of Ann Arbor Technology Banking Group President Michael Cole. “They will be leading the Ann Arbor Angel group in providing other potential angel investors opportunities to get involved.” The initiative reflects Ann Arbor’s characteristically strong environment for seed-stage investment. “What we’re hoping to do is make the Ann Arbor region well-recognized as the center for this type of activity in the Midwest,” said Cole. “There’s some recognition of that now, but I think with the amount of activity that we have here and with the opportunities coming out of the University of Michigan and other places, we really have an opportunity to raise the bar.”
Ann Arbor is indeed a hotbed for early-stage investment. The past year has yielded a promising cycle of liquidity events in the area – angel-supported companies being sold, in turn providing fresh capital for investment in other opportunities. Locally owned and operated, the Bank of Ann Arbor sits in a prime position to assist angels in pursuing investment opportunities. It launched the Ann Arbor Angels in 2004 to help companies find angels, and to help angels strike deals. The organization is working to host a Michigan Angel Investor Forum several times a year, a series of presentations to be held at the University of Michigan’s Office of Technology Transfer. “There will be three companies presenting to a group of anywhere from 40 to 70 potential investors. We will be looking to find the best angel investment opportunities in the state, and bring those in front of the most active angel investors in the state,” said Cole. The group is hoping to someday integrate these efforts with those underway at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS). This year, the MGCS has expanded to include similar presentations on its opening day. “It’s the premier event of its kind in the Midwest,” said Cole, “so for investors in that asset class and that space, it’s tremendous.”