Mind to Market

Thursday, October 19, 2006

CTEK Angels Live

I attended the first open session of the CTEK Angels last Wednesday. For those of you who may not be familiar with CTEK (Capital, Technology Transfer, Entrepreneurship, Knowledge), it is an independent Colorado, non-profit group that assists entrepreneurs with the expertise, resources and capital sources they need to grow their companies to the next level. CTEK Angels are the investors associated with CTEK; a loosely associated group of independent investors that meet once a month to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to make a pitch and combine their experience to evaluate the pitches. Although the Angels evaluate the presentations made by the entrepreneurs, investment decisions are left up to the individual investors.

CTEK provides a very effective way for entrepreneurs to approach angel investors, a very elusive group for the most part, but nevertheless instrumental in funding a major portion of small businesses in this country. Although the CTEK Angels meet once a month, this was the very first time the meeting was opened to the public. And despite the first snow of the season and the difficult parking situation at the University of Denver (no valet parking for the angels!) the event was a sell out. I guess everyone wanted to see the entrepreneurs thrown to the lions.

Chatting with some people in the audience I met both would-be entrepreneurs and investors; the entrepreneurs were curious about the process and the investors... looking for deals the Angels pass on? This event went a long way to expose the process and perhaps reduce the intimidation and confusion factor. CTEK may be seeing an increase in the number of applications for their funding program as a result.

The presentations by the entrepreneurs were well done and demonstrated the coaching they received by CTEK advisors in preparation. We heard from Ashif Dhanani from X Inc., Michael Sitarzewski of Hypersites and Magic Home. All of these companies are selling products and generating revenues and are looking for revenue for marketing and business development to get them to that next level. We'll be watching for them in the coming year.

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