UNC-Chapel Hill is seeking alumni, faculty members and others who are interested in investing in startups with a UNC connection.
UNC has launched the Carolina Angel Network to help startups seeking capital to develop their technology or finance their growth. Eligible startups, which can be located anywhere, must have a founder, executive or board members with a UNC connection – such as being an alumnus or faculty member.
“It gives the startup community more access to capital – and that is never a bad thing,” said Randy Myer, who is the managing director of the network. “Particularly in this area, that’s an important thing.”
Myer is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and an experienced angel investor and entrepreneur. He and his team will pre-screen potential investment deals and perform preliminary due diligence.
The university anticipates recruiting more than 200 potential investors to the network over the next three years. In addition to having UNC ties – including being an alumnus, faculty or staff member or a university donor – a network member also must be an accredited investor with an annual net income that exceeds $200,000 or a net worth in excess of $1 million.
Investors interested in joining the network must pay an annual $1,500 fee. The individual network members choose for themselves whether to invest in a particular deal.
Last year UNC’s board of trustees created a $5 million fund, the Carolina Research Venture Fund, to help startups commercialize technology developed at the university.
Duke University and N.C. State University also have angel networks: the Duke Angel Network and the Wolfpack Investor Network.
“We have actually started looking at a deal locally that has connections to all three schools,” Myer said.