The group, which consists of accredited private equity investors who pool their resources to invest in and mentor early-stage companies (aka angel investors), closed 23 deals in 2015, totaling $2.2 million in investment, according to Sam Fratoni, chair of the Maine Angels.
Those 23 deals were enough to tie the group for seventh place on the most-active list compiled in the 2015 Halo Report. Maine Angels beat out Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Angels and Boston’s Launchpad Venture Group (which tied for 8th place).
The most active angel groups by total deals for 2015 were 1) Keiretsu Forum 2) Tech Coast Angels 3) Central Texas Angel Network 4) Houston Angel Network 5) Alliance of Angels & New York Angels (tied) 6) Wisconsin Investment Partners 7) Hyde Park Angels & Maine Angels (tied) 8) Desert Angels, Launchpad Venture Group & Sand Hill Angels (tied).
The Maine Angels’ 23 deals included investments in six new portfolio companies and 17 follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies, according to Fratoni. The average investment per deal was $95,000.
Last year was also noteworthy because it included the Maine Angels’ first two successful exits since being founded in 2004: Corbus Pharmaceuticals and EzCater, both Massachusetts-based companies. Fratoni said the Maine investors received a 5x and 3.3x return on those investments, respectively. To date, the group’s investments are split 50/50 between Maine companies and companies throughout the rest of New England.
Another highlight of the Halo Report is that New England as a region doubled its share of both deals and dollars nationally in 2015.
Why angel investors matter
Angel investors are an important part of the ecosystem because they are a potential source of capital when startups are in the so-called Valley of Death –that period when founders have maxed out their credit cards and tapped out their family and friends, but are still pre-revenue and at a point where a bank would still be wary of providing a commercial loan. Angel investors like those that belong to Maine Angels often provide an important infusion of cash to help early-stage companies reach commercialization.