The Northern Michigan Angels investment group recently concluded its 10th year of investing in the Northern Michigan economy.
In 2021, the organization hit a new single-year record, investing $1.3 million in seven different ventures. Most of the organization’s investments go into technology and other STEM-based businesses, which bring programming, engineering, and other jobs to the region.
Northern Michigan Angels is a nonprofit investment group that hears the arguments of entrepreneurs. They then offer not only money, but also expertise to start-up companies.
“We want to create jobs, those high-tech jobs that will attract some of the kids who are graduating and leaving the area and not feeling like they can come back to live in Traverse City,” said Deanna Cannon, council chair. of Directors, founding member and former executive director of the Northern Michigan Angels.
In 2011, Cannon saw the need for an organization that would invest in Northern Michigan businesses and began looking into angel investing. An angel investor is a wealthy individual who uses their own money to invest in start-up companies in exchange for an equity stake in the companies, according to The Angel Capital Association.
Cannon formed an advisory board and the organization was officially launched in 2012 with four people volunteering their time to get the organization up and running.
After 10 years as executive director, Cannon has stepped down from her position, although she will continue to serve as chair of the board.
In November, Jody Trietch took over as CEO after stepping down as chief financial officer of Boomerang Catapult.
“I think there’s an incredible opportunity as more and more businesses are moving here or starting here, but they need support and access to capital,” Trietch said. “So to be part of the success of these companies in this region is really exciting.”
In 2022, Trietch plans to increase member engagement through workshops, monthly roundtables, pitch meetings and social media.
One of the Northern Michigan Angels-funded initiatives was Thermavance, a solid-state heating and cooling technology owned by Promethient.
Thermavance is integrated into the seats and heats or cools without using airflow. This makes the technology ideal for vehicles like motorcycles that are often exposed to the elements. Since Thermavance does not use airflow, there are no holes in the seat that can get clogged with dirt or rainwater.
Promethient CEO Bill Meyers said the Northern Michigan Angels provided diverse industry experience, as well as funding,
“They were a great sounding board for ideas, our business plan. It’s one thing to have an investor, but it’s quite another to have a consultant who can help you grow a business, in addition to providing you with the funds to help you get there,” he said. -he declares.
According to Cannon, Northern Michigan Angels plans to continue investing in projects that can benefit Northern Michigan.
“We say ‘we invest in the jockey, not the horse’, which means we invest in the entrepreneur. In their ability to pivot as needed, their ability to take guidance, because that’s what we’re going to need along the way,” she said.