Angel investing breathes life into the early-stage businesses and provides opportunities for local growth, development and profits. Led by forward-thinking entrepreneurs in our community, Windsor Essex Capital Angel Network (WECAN) has established itself as a catalyst for local innovation and progress.
WECAN delivers excellent “deal flow” for solo investors and offers best practice environments for due diligence, investing, and ongoing business monitoring. WECAN’s investors interact and engage with local innovative start-ups routinely in ‘First Look’ pitch sessions and a range of other pursuits. They support young businesses in a variety of ways, including through mentorship, financial investment, industry connections, or as potential board of director members.
“I decided to join WECAN to have more access to curated deal flow and join a group with like-minded investors,” explains WECAN angel investor Cam Crowder. “You get access to deals that have been vetted by the Equation Angels team prior to getting to the investment meeting. As a business owner, you can see some advanced tech companies in your industry as well.”
On January 11, 2023, Crowder will be speaking about investment and the importance of a thriving innovation ecosystem to guests of WECAN at an information event at the Ciociaro Club in Windsor.
“[Angel Investors] bring capital to the local start-up ecosystem,” states Crowder. “A seasoned Angel Investor should also bring industry expertise and business experience to the start-ups they are engaging and investing in. At the pre-seed and seed stage investment, an Angel should be “smart money”, meaning that their network in an industry can help support the start-up.”
Crowder says that, to date, he has made a total of nine investments in companies, including locally-owned i-50, as well, he has engaged in a number of local start-ups from a strategy and fundraising standpoint.
i-50 is a company that uses a computer vision platform for manufacturing to measure and improve production processes through an artificial intelligence-powered (AI) vision system.
“I was investigating automation for the restaurant industry and was introduced to i-50 co-founder and Forbes 30 Under 30 Khizer Hayat,” explains Crowder. “We developed a pilot for using the computer vision inside a fast-food restaurant. We felt that we could bring another revenue channel to i-50.”
“The angel investment support network in the Windsor-Essex region has grown exponentially over the past several years, contributing to the success and high growth potential of many early-stage companies.”
WECAN has made great strides to promote growth and impact, including growing its membership, partnering with Equation Angels to improve deal flow to investors, working with other angel investor groups to support consistent professional deeper dives and due diligence, bringing added expertise to the table, reducing risk to individual investors. The support and collaboration with Invest Windsor-Essex and SBEC has ensured a superb location for WECAN investment pitch meetings.
“The angel investment support network in the Windsor-Essex region has grown exponentially over the past several years, contributing to the success and high growth potential of many early-stage companies,” states Invest Windsor-Essex president and CEO Stephen MacKenzie. “Angel investment is a crucial part of effective and sustainable economic development and provides startups more exposure and resources to take their business to the next level. Locally, organizations such as WECAN help to support our next generation entrepreneurs with the funding, mentorship, and experience needed to succeed.”
WECAN has also forged partnership with Odette School of Business MBA at the University of Windsor to strengthen the pipeline of future entrepreneurs.
“Angel Investors and private capital are key ingredients for achieving a successful innovative economy,” explains WECAN executive director Deborah Livneh. “They help build prosperity for our community. In the past several years, WECAN members have invested over $5.5 million seed capital in 22 early-stage companies. As a result, many of these ventures raised a follow-up capital and experienced business growth.”
For details on WECAN’s Networking and Information event at the Ciociaro Club on January 11, please contact Deborah Livneh at Executive.Director@WEangelNETWORK.com.
Devan Mighton grew up north in Grey County but has called Windsor home for almost two decades. A dedicated father and sports coach, he has worked as a writer and sports photographer for over five years. Currently a freelance writer with WEtech Alliance and The Drive Magazine, he has worked as a regular contributor with TorStar Local online publications, the LaSalle Post, Tecumseh Shoreline Week, and the Lakeshore News, among a number of other publications.