Entrepreneurs seeking capital should be on the lookout for angels-not the heavenly variety but earthbound individuals with a high net worth looking for potentially profitable investments. Some 30 to 40 organizations nationwide help match business owners with these investors using computer databases.
At the Los Angeles Venture Network (LAVN), based at the University of Southern California, entrepreneurs pay a $200 onetime charge and provide a business plan and financial information.
"After reviewing this, we list a company in the database and screen them to see if there is a match with an investor," explains Jon P. Goodman, LAVN developer. Angels, who pay a $200 annual membership fee, are individuals with a history of investing.
Entrepreneurs are kept on the database for 12 months and are rescreened each time a new investor comes online. If no match is made within that time, business owners can resubmit a modified business plan to stay online. For information, contact the Business Expansion Network at (213) 743-1726.
Like LAVN, most angel networks are affiliated with colleges or universities or can be located via economic development organizations in your community. Other networks of note:
The Technology Capital Network at Massachusetts Institute of Technology backs companies including high-tech, agricultural, biotech, energy and manufacturing; call (617) 253-7163.
The Capital Network at the University of Texas, Austin, introduces investors to companies based on mutual business interests; call (512) 305-0826.
Pacific Venture Capital Network, an outreach program of the University of California, Irvine, targets high-tech and high-growth companies; call (714) 509-2990.