‘WECAN powered by Equation’ community outreach push has resulted in seven new angel investors coming onboard with the local WECAN Angel Investors network in the past three months.
Deborah Livneh, interim executive director of the Windsor-Essex Capital Angel Network (WECAN), said the partnership, dubbed Equation Angels, will create more opportunities for investment.
“This collaboration is a game-changer and it has rejuvenated our organization,” said Livneh. “We’ve added more investors in the past three months than we would normally attract in a year.”
The new partnership, which is the second-largest angel investment network in Canada, saw the Southwestern Ontario Angel Network, which includes WECAN, join forces with similar organizations in London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Oakville-Burlington bringing together angel investors with more resources and experience in helping entrepreneurs turn their dreams into commercial reality.
And while expanding the network across the majority of Southwestern Ontario will create more competition for investment, it will also mean there are more than 200 potential investors in the pipeline.
“We’re anticipating an increase in high-quality pitches to our investors because of the competition across the board,” said Livneh. “Start-ups get 12 minutes for their pitch and then another 12 minutes for questions from potential investors. It’s a pretty intense process because a company’s future can rest on the results.”
Once the pitch session is over, potential investors then take on a due diligence process with the help of fellow Equation Angels who add their considerable expertise to the process.
Expanded network = increased quality, greater exposure
“This expanded network allows our investors, company executives and entrepreneurs to tap into more exposure,” explained Livneh.
At the moment, meetings during which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to as many as 70 potential investors can only take place through one of the many virtual meeting apps such as Zoom.
In January, WECAN held a virtual wine-and-cheese members party so that new investors could ‘mingle’ with existing angels and compare stories, opportunities and investments.
“Face-to-face can be better but technology has reached the point now where it’s easy to reach out to people and meet virtually,” explained Jim Marsh, a WECAN board member and Dean of the Zekelman School of Business and Information technology at St. Clair College.
“When existing investors reach out and offer testimonials and explain how the process works and what it can mean to entrepreneurs and investors, it’s made the whole investment ecosystem much stronger,” said Livneh.
But when COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, many of these sessions will take place face-to-face.
Under normal circumstances, WECAN investors would meet on a monthly basis to listen to pitches from entrepreneurs seeking supporting capital with final decisions regarding funding being made by investors after a lengthy due diligence and vetting process.
For more information, visit www.weANGELnetwork.com.
Interested investors can contact Deborah Livneh Eng. MBA