Movers and shakers in the tech and business industry converged on BNA Brewing Co. & Eatery on Thursday night for the launch of Accelerate Okanagan’s inaugural OKGN Angel Summit.
When it is finished, one local startup company is going to win at least $100,000 to help get its business off the ground. The other goal of the summit is to teach local investors how to properly invest their money in burgeoning companies.
“The goal of the summit is to raise awareness about angel investing and what are the benefits and opportunities, and then to educate accredited investors,” Accelerate Okanagan programs manager Thuy Tran said. “It’s investors learning to do angel investing by angel investing. We’ve had a great response of support from the community.”
At least 20 investors have contributed $5,000 to a pool of money that will be awarded to one of at least 20 local startup companies that have applied to compete in an 11-week competition. The startups will try to convince the investors they are worthy of the money, and the investors will learn along the way.
“Throughout the 11 weeks they’ll get together and they’ll learn how to review companies, they’ll learn how to provide feedback, and they’ll learn how to do due diligence,” Tran said. “So on the company side it’s more than just a pitch competition. They get valuable feedback, they get mentorship for the few who make it to the final round, and the most important thing is they start to build a relationship with the investors and really expand their network.
“So that just helps build the whole capital ecosystem and give opportunity for entrepreneurs to access capital better and help create more sophisticated investors in our community.”
Tran said if the summit goes the way Accelerate Okanagan hopes it does, there will be deals done on the side between investors and startups that don’t win the grand prize.
Three of the investors were at BNA to take part of the ceremonial cheque signing to kick off the summit: Drew Shaw and Brodie Desimone, who are Accelerate Okanagan executives in residence, and Adaptive Ventures Inc. co-founder Richard Takai.
The final list of investors and startups hasn’t been revealed because AO is accepting applications until next Friday, Jan. 18. Interested parties can visit okgntech.com to register or to find more information.
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