EC launches new angel investor network

April 12, 2022

Last week, the Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC) announced the launch of EC Angels, a regional network of angel investors.

The fund will increase engagement of local investors who will in turn provide capital and counsel to entrepreneurs who are growing and scaling their businesses.

“Dayton had a group of investors who saw pitches from local companies in the 1980s and 90s,” said Kim Frazier, director of growth initiatives at the Entrepreneurs’ Center and manager of EC Angels. “But as that group got older and retired, nothing really filled its place. It’s very exciting to provide this new generation of entrepreneurs and investors with a connection through EC Angels.”

The newly formed EC Angels will meet at least six times a year and will feature pitches from local startups and small businesses that are clients of the EC, the Miami Valley Small Business Development Center, or select EC partner organizations. Meetings will primarily be held virtually, but may also feature some in-person events and education at the Hub, the hybrid space the EC shares with University of Dayton’s Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership downtown in the historic Arcade.

A foundation for EC Angels was set in 2018 when the EC established a chapter of Indianapolis-based VisionTech Angels with a dozen trail-blazing angel investors. Soon after its formation, these same investors also began seeing pitches and making investments directly into local companies.

“VisionTech Angels is still a good option for people looking to invest in bigger deals in promising startups,” Frazier said.

Members of the Dayton chapter of VisionTech Angels will automatically be members of EC Angels, as will investors in the recently formed Rotunda Fund. Local investors not affiliated with either one can sign up to be an EC Angel for an annual membership fee of $250. All members must meet the criteria to be accredited investors — an annual income exceeding $200,000 ($300,000 for joint income) for the last two years or a net worth exceeding at least $1M not including personal residence.

“The demand for a local angel investing chapter shows how much the entrepreneurial community has grown,” said Gayle Rominger, one of the early angel investors and member of the EC board. “We’ve seen more potential investors wanting to engage with these startups and small businesses too, which is game-changing for entrepreneurs, as they get access to capital and the needed strategic guidance that can help them scale.”

Late last year, the EC launched the revenue-based Rotunda Fund, providing growth capital for companies that already have sales and are seeking to double their revenue in two to four years. The Rotunda Fund’s investment model attracted new angel investors to the EC.

“The Rotunda Fund is a unique opportunity for Dayton’s entrepreneurs,” said Brian Kohr, an entrepreneur and investor who serves on the fund’s Investment Committee and is an EC Angel. “Connecting coachable entrepreneurs to investors who can provide access to funds required for growth without dilution, along with strategic advice, will give companies the fuel they need to grow and scale.”

Frazier hopes the EC Angels will make investments as a group in the upcoming months and years.

“We’ve come a long way with our investors in the past four years, and I’m hoping that in four more, we’re even larger and more sophisticated,” she said. “A strong investor network is exactly what growing entrepreneurs need, and it will help to propel Dayton into the future.”

Accredited investors interested in joining the EC Angels can reach Kim Frazier at [email protected].