We breathe life into great teams with great ideas to create great companies.
We have the greatest jobs in the world. We get to work directly with successful business people and exciting high-tech startup companies. We unite both to create incredible companies that will someday be household names and create wealth. Sure, the hours are long, it is expensive, and financially risky. But, at the end of the day, we know we are making a difference in the world. Want to join us?
Sheltowee Angel Network is a syndicate of angel groups that spans three cities now (Nashville, TN; Knoxville, TN, and Louisville, KY), and growing. The network collaborates to find and fund the very best ventures in the “heartland” of America.
Why do we do this?
We can’t help ourselves. We love seeing dreams take flight. Startup companies are the bedrock of our economy and the primary source of innovation in the world today. Without entrepreneurs and investors willing to share risk collaboratively by creating great companies, our way of life would collapse. This is the true job creation engine of our economy and on of the best performing asset class in the market year after year after year.
People work where they want to live, not live where they want to work. They want to build entrepreneurial capacity and economic viability into the fabric of their community. And, angel investing is a key driver.
What do we do?
- We organize angel groups and funds to drive local economic development and create wealth.
- We aggregate exciting dealflow across the Heartland and over many industries for science and technology enabled startup companies.
- We unite great minds and capital to validate and invest in innovative business models by outstanding entrepreneurs.
- We optimize risk and returns by curating companies and proving the scalability of their revenue model.
How do we do it?
- Our process is designed to move companies from the point we invest to the point they can grow organically or we can hand them off to friendly investors at the next level.
- We meet monthly in cities across the Heartland to interview and evaluate startup companies.
- We focus on deep due diligence to improve our odds of success. Confident, experienced entrepreneurs understand the value this brings to both the company and the investor.
- We invest as a syndicate typically at the seed stage, bridge round, or early preferred rounds.
- We work with the portfolio company to prove its revenue model.
- We make a second larger, and sometimes a third, investment in the winners.
ACG Is Leading The Way
The industry has changed since 2008. Venture capital firms largely moved out of early stage investing. So, angels and angel groups are filling the gap. We are witnessing the rise of the professional angel group, which in many ways looks and acts like a “micro-venture” capital fund, but made up of individual investors rather than limited partners. Where once the VC’s lead teams of analysts to evaluate companies, now this diligence is shared between the angels. Angel Capital Group and the Sheltowee Network merged at the beginning of 2020 to expand our national reach and our ability to aggregate great minds and capital. We are a network of experienced angel investors with a model that takes advantage of these changes in the market. Between the two combined networks approximately $54M has been invested in 170 companies creating 4900 jobs and $990M in follow-on capital investments by other funds.
Our passion is innovation, so we bring Angel investors and entrepreneurs together within a structure that mitigates risk and amplifies upside potential. If you’re ready start funding your future, get in touch.
Executive Leadership Team
Eric Dobson, Chief Executive Officer
Eric Dobson is a seasoned entrepreneur and investor who has raised over $25 million in capital for multiple projects. He leads the Sheltowee Angel Network, which operates as a syndicate of angel groups in the Southeast and Midwest. Dr. Dobson has lead investments in 30+ companies in the last seven years first as the Chief Financial Analyst, then the Chief Executive Officer, of Angel Capital Group. Under Dr. Dobson’s leadership, Angel Capital Group has enjoyed one 6x exit (Facebook IPO), one 4x exit (Arkis Biosciences acquisition to Integra Lifesciences), with one 3x exit pending exit and an IPO pending. Dr. Dobson was instrumental in founding the Appalachian Investors Alliance, a syndicate of eight microventure funds across the Appalachian region focused on entrepreneurial readiness and access to capital under contract with the Appalachian Regional Commission. To date, 100+ AIA accredited investor members have incorporated eight angel/impact funds in as many Appalachian states which have placed $9 million in direct private investment into 30 entrepreneurial companies. This capital leveraged an additional $90 million in investments from outside the AIA region and network.
Dr. Dobson received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee, his Masters of Science from the University of South Carolina, and his Doctoral degree from the University of South Carolina. He founded two companies and has assisted in founding six more. Dr. Dobson founded Navigational Sciences, which was a wireless technology development company that worked under contract to the Homeland Security Advanced Projects Agency under the Department of Homeland Security and recipient of the National Laboratory Technology of the Year for 2004. He later founded TrakLok, a transportation security and wireless tracking solutions company for the global supply chain, where he was awarded the 2011 Pinnacle Business Award for Innovator of the Year by the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Dobson joined the Angel Capital Group in 2012 as the Chief Financial Analysis and later as the Chief Executive Officer in 2014. Angel Capital Group merged with the Sheltowee Network in 2020 to create the Sheltowee Angel Network.
Alex Day, Chairman
Alex Day is a serial entrepreneur who has assisted in raising over $100 million in capital for multiple projects. He has managed two venture capital funds, including the Commonwealth Seed Capital Fund and the Owensboro Emerging Ventures Fund. Under Alex’s management, both of these funds provided positive returns for their investors.
Alex’s academic background is in physics, mathematics and Russian Language. Alex received a Bachelor of Science from Western Kentucky University and attended the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute. Alex started his professional career as a Technical Liaison with Audax, Inc., a pharmaceutical research and discovery company. Alex went on to serve as Vice President of Business Development and President of Audax, where he assisted in the development of pharmaceutical and nutritional products and dramatically increased the sales of the company.
In 2000, Alex founded Sheltowee LLC and secured seed capital funding for the company. The company licensed pharmaceutical and nutritional products during its first 3 years of operations. In 2004, Sheltowee assumed the management of the Commonwealth Seed Capital Fund. Through Sheltowee, Alex oversaw the initial establishment of the fund and developed the policies and procedures for evaluating and conducting due diligence on prospective portfolio companies. During his tenure as the manager of Commonwealth Seed Capital Alex was appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky to chair the Governor’s Consortium on Life Sciences, a blue ribbon panel charged with developing a strategic plan for the Commonwealth of Kentucky on life sciences. Alex convened the consortium over a period of 120 days and authored the strategic plan that resulted in over $100 million of investment in the Commonwealth.
In 2005, Alex developed the business plan and founded Kentucky BioProcessing, LLC (KBP). He secured capital for KBP to purchase the assets of Large Scale Biology Corporation. KBP went on to secure over $50 million in capital to develop production capabilities around plant made pharmaceuticals and utilizing tobacco as production platform to express therapeutic proteins. In the first year of operations KBP has less than $75,000 in annual sales and when Alex left in 2011, KBP had over $15 million in annual sales. KBP was purchased by RJ Reynolds and provided a substantial return for its investors.
Alex has been involved with numerous early stage companies and has worked on projects in Israel, Italy, Cambodia and Vietnam. He has familiarity with numerous technology sectors including life sciences, alternative energy and health informatics. In 2017, Alex was named as an Economic Development Liaison to the Ambassador of Cambodia to the United States and Mexico.
History & Philosophy
In 2007, when Angel Capital Group was founded, public markets were in free-fall, job creation had stagnated, and America’s status as the premiere innovative economy in the world had been thoroughly undermined. But in our day-to-day meetings and relationships, we saw a powerful undercurrent of entrepreneurial drive. Americans wanted to create, build, and thrive. They just couldn’t find the funding they needed to get their ideas off the ground.
At the same time, we were hearing complaints from seasoned investors who were searching high and low for investment opportunities that fueled innovation and growth, both in local economies and nationally. Our Founder saw an opportunity to create a company that generated real economic growth by bringing investors and entrepreneurs together in a mutually beneficial environment. Angel Capital Group was born.
Our first chapters were in Nashville and Knoxville, TN. The network expanded with a merger with the RAIN Source Capital in 2015. ACG began to create micro-venture funds across the Appalachian region between 2015 and 2019, which have now been unified under a not-for-profit company.
With the merger with Sheltowee, ACG will continue expanding across the Southeast and Midwest. There are many outstanding opportunities in front of us, and as a network of Angels we’re ready to increase our funding power with new locations and new Angel members online.
To learn more about joining our cause, or about founding a chapter location, check out our membership page.
We focus on a niche but vital stage of private equity funding: Angel investing. Most entrepreneurs start their businesses or begin developing their ideas with personal funds and time. Occasionally, friends and family will lend them money, too. But it’s not until a business has demonstrated revenue and market traction, or has special patents, licenses, or trademarks, that they begin to appeal to venture capital firms, who are typically seeking to deploy $3,000,000 or more per investment.
Angels bridge the gap. Our capital helps entrepreneurs make critical investments in technology, research and development, marketing and sales channel development, and myriad other post-startup/pre-corporate processes required to truly bring an idea to market. Simply put: without Angel investing, nearly every product or service you rely upon today could have died on the drawing board.
But life for the individual Angel investor can be risky. A wealthy individual only has access to as many deals as exist in his or her limited sphere of influence. The lone Angel may not have the time or resources to personally screen each deal, to conduct the background reports and legal due diligence required to put the risk of adverse selection at bay. You won’t have to look far to find a lone angel with a horror story. Most importantly, to sufficiently empower the entrepreneur with enough capital, the lone Angel may end up making fewer, larger investments–a practice that single-handedly results in higher risk, just the way that investing an entire retirement account in a single stock would be considered high risk.
Our philosophy is that the risks of early stage investing are best managed by investing alongside a group of other successful Angel investors. Deal flow, screening, and due diligence are higher quality; legal, accounting, and deal structuring expenses are lower. Angels are able to invest smaller amounts in more deals since they can rely on other members to contribute the capital necessary to empower the entrepreneurs, so each individual develops a broader portfolio that still offers highly attractive potential returns.
Successful Angel investing requires a process and a portfolio strategy. Angel Capital Group was created to provide both.
What We Believe
We believe in investing smaller amounts individually in larger numbers of companies – statistically, this is a winning strategy.
We believe in investing in the American Heartland because we find outstanding teams, who no longer have to live on a coast to access resources to create highly productive companies, at valuations that make sense.
We believe that standardized, professional diligence is the key to selecting the very best deal flow in the nation and a winning portfolio.
We believe our speed of investment (two months from yes to a wire) is a key advantage for our network.
We believe in vertically integrating the angel capital funding process (seed, startup, and growth phases) to drive exits. We have structured our network to mentor companies, invest in angel deals, and provide VC capital to efficiently provide resources to deserving entrepreneurs.
We believe that participation in an established angel group is key to reducing your risk in angel investing.
We believe this is the way we restore America’s economic greatness one community at a time.
If you believe these things, please contact us about becoming a member. To learn more, keep reading or just get in touch. Our monthly chapter meetings are the best way to experience what true Angel investing is all about.
Benefits Of Membership
We love to let our members do the talking on this one. The following list consists of common statements from members of our local network chapters on why they joined and what they get out of membership with Angel Capital Group:
- It’s a great way to stay connected to innovative, cutting edge developments in business, healthcare, and more.
- I get to meet and build relationships with other likeminded, successful entrepreneurs.
- I gain the benefit of many experienced investors from various backgrounds when considering whether or not to invest in a deal.
- I see better deals through a group than I could see through my personal network.
- I can send deals that come to me personally through Angel Capital Group and gain access to the due diligence, legal, accounting and deal structuring fees paid for through my membership fees, and also access more capital than I could (or should) personally contribute to a deal.
- I get to see deals from everywhere in the country, not just in my backyard.
- Dedicated staff handle all the details so I can focus on funding exciting entrepreneurs and innovations.
- Companies I invest in have access to the professional networks of every Angel Capital Group member, as well as staff resources and connections.
- Investing alongside other Angels lets me deploy smaller amounts of capital across more deals. I don’t have to dump all my Angel money in a small handful of deals.
We receive over 1000 applications for funding per year. We invest in 10 companies per year. So, this is a very competitive process that we take very seriously. We use Venture360 to collect deal flow. We require a standardized platform for sharing your deal information with our investors across the country. If you wish to apply for funding, please go to our website: Apply for Funding. This starts a formal process to move companies quickly and efficiently through our diligence process. All our dealflow comes through this portal. It gives us the ability to quickly tell them our level of interest in the venture and it serves as the basis for our diligence reports to our investor/members. Companies that apply, will receive a response. Help us help you by being as concise and to the point as possible in this process.