Thursday, June 7, 2012

Maine: The Way Angels Ought To Be

Displaying great vigor, the Maine Angels have elected new leaders, started collecting dues, recruited new members, begun participating in regional summits, and invested in eleven new deals in the last twelve months.

“New officers were nominated last fall, and annual dues were initiated of just under $200 to actively require members to reaffirm their interest,” says Chair Sandra Stone. “There were seventeen members that chose to become ‘inactive alumni.’ Since the October Annual meeting, however, fourteen new members have joined, bringing us up to 46 members. In those seven months, we have reviewed over 60 deals which we declined to pursue, and closed on over $1.1M on eleven deals in the last twelve months. Our total portfolio now stands at almost $5.89M invested in 51 deals, 34 individual companies, 17 follow ons.” 

“After participating  in our first ACA regional summit in Feb 2012, where Maine Angels introduced the Cerahelix deal (generating good interest but only securing minimal total investment of $25,000 from three investors) we invited two of the other regional summit presenters up here, and invested $100,000 in both Respiratory Motion, and JB Therapeutics.” says Stone. 

“We have not yet had a profitable exit, but are excited about several of the companies in the pipeline,” she says.

The Maine Angels was founded by Charlie Sidman in 2003. He was succeeded by Chris Speh (2007-2011). Sandra Stone is now Chair and Don Gooding, Vice Chair. The group typically meets on the  4th Friday of each  month from nine to noon.  They currently rotate locations having outgrown the prior space; 25-30 members attend these days.

Chair Sandra Stone is a principal at Sea Cove Solutions – Collaborations in Entrepreneurship. Formerly she was with MCED, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, a business technology incubator in Portland, Maine. 

An Angel’s Diary
This title of this post reflects my ambiguity toward the way Maine presents itself to those of us “from away.”  In the past, signs at the border proclaimed “Maine, The Way Life Ought To Be.”  Apparently, the grammar police seized the slogan; today it reads “Maine, The Way Life Should Be.”    I prefer the former as a truer expression of the Down East patois, which I love.
If you haven’t visited recently, Maine is surprisingly large and, away from the coast, surprisingly poor. In Frenchville, my Grandma’s hometown, for the last 100 years they have been exporting the same four products:  pine, pulp, potatoes, and people.   Before Route 95, to get these “four Ps”  to  market in Boston  they had to truck them through the Haynesville Woods. Should you desire to know what the trip was like, click here for a video of Maine’s greatest country singer, Dick Curless, telling you all about it.

Angels could do much for the Maine economy, were it not so very very hard to raise money for strictly regional deals, as Maine Angel John Sharood  and I discussed at our most recent  ACA meeting in Waltham.  Perhaps Crowdfunding could help, particularly if it provides some liquidity, but we won’t know until the new rules are made and published.

-George McQuilken

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is a terrific concise recap of where Maine Angels - and Maine generally - are in the startup world. The one key missing item is last year's (now expired) substantial Maine State tax credit for angel investments in Maine companies. The proof will really be in the pudding if the momentum can be sustained with this key benefit removed.