Triangle-based RTP Capital ranked among the most active groups of angel investors in the country in 2016, according to a new report by the Angel Research Institute.
RTP Capital came in at No. 8 among angel groups operating in a single location, based on the number of deals it invested in. Angel groups consist of affluent individuals who provide crucial “seed” or early-stage funding for startups, including technology businesses that haven’t yet matured to the point that they can seek larger sums from venture capitalists.
Last year RTP Capital invested $1.3 million in 22 companies, said Elaine Bolle, the group’s investment chair and past president. She wrote in an e-mail that last year’s investments encompassed a broad range of industry sectors, from software to medical devices to hospitality.
The group’s activity level in 2016 reflects the volume of high-quality, early-stage investment companies it is coming across, primarily in North Carolina, she said.
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“Angel investing opportunities are growing in the Triangle as reflected by the growth in local angel groups, including the new groups recently started” by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University, said Bolle, who also was recently named chair of the marketing committee of the national Angel Capital Association.
UNC launched the Carolina Angel Network to help startups with a university connection seeking capital to develop their technology or finance their growth. And N.C. State created the Wolfpack Investor Network.
“More angel groups mean more opportunities for local syndication,” Bolle said, referring to the common practice of angel groups joining forces to invest in a single company.
“Angel Group are a critically important part of our startup ecosystem here in the Triangle,” venture capitalist David Gardner of Cary’s Cofounders Capital, wrote in an e-mail. Gardner, who is also on the board of RTP Capital, noted that angel groups often are the “only option” for Triangle entrepreneurs seeking their initial funding.