(Photo by Flickr user Michele Dorsey Walfred, used under a Creative Commons license)
The Greenville, North Carolina-based angel investor network East Carolina Angels (EC Angels) has opened its second office in Sussex County, and is looking for both accredited investors to add to its membership and startups with potential in southern Delaware.
EC Angels launched in late 2019, and to date has made six investments for an aggregate investment of approximately $2.3 million.
“Unlike angel or venture capital funds, angel networks are membership organizations with experienced management to vet venture grade investment opportunities on behalf of its members,” Mark Wdowik, president and CEO of EC Angels, told Technical.ly. “Each member makes his or her own decisions regarding which investments to participate in, and at what level. Opportunities come from multiple sources — its members, professional service providers such as legal and accounting firms, VCs and other angel groups, regional universities and economic development groups.”
At the moment, EC Angels’ members come from North Carolina, Georgia, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Illinois, Colorado, California, Hong Kong and Vietnam. The network is actively looking to add members in Delaware.
The decision to expand into Delaware was based both on business and personal reasons, Wdowik said.
“On the personal side, my wife and I always wanted a beach home, and we had been looking at Delaware for quite some time,” he said. “We have children in the Washington, D.C. area, so this places us within two to two-and-a-half hours from them (versus five hours from Greenville). From a business perspective, EC Angels is part of a syndicate of VCs and angel groups all along the east coast — Georgia up to North Carolina. This new office will provide access to new investment opportunities further north from North Carolina to Delaware and its surrounding states.”
Wdowik adopted the angel investor-centric model of the Duke Angel Network, originally developed for Duke University by his VC friend John Glushik.
“Investors make their own decisions and can leverage the strength of the entire community to provide decision-support capabilities,” he said. “As our membership is diverse, we have evaluated opportunities across all sectors/industries and stages — makes my job harder at filtering opportunities for our members, but keeps the aperture wide enough to seek out all good investment opportunities.”
Also notable is that EC Angels considers investing in real estate projects, which is not typical for angel groups.
“I’m really hoping that our presence here will help bring together Delaware’s successful business leaders, as well as add strategic capability to Delaware’s startup toolbelt in supporting its growing innovation ecosystems,” Wdowik said.
In addition to making ROI investments, Wdowik says his hope for EC Angels is to “become an additional regional resource for startups and small businesses in southern Delaware [that works] closely with other investment groups, state universities, economic development organizations like the Delaware Prosperity Partnership,” as well as Delaware’s existing support services for new businesses.
“Given that startups and small businesses represent the bulk of all new job creation,” he said. “Delaware has an opportunity to leverage its educated workforce, entrepreneurial talent and private capital to create many new jobs through a growing pipeline of exciting startups for the 21st century.”-30-
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