TiE Detroit, the local chapter of the global entrepreneurial network, announced it has established an angel investment group to leverage the skills, capital, and connections of its members in an effort to bolster up-and-coming Michigan startups.
Sonali Vijayavargiya, chair of the TiE Detroit Angels and managing director at Ann Arbor, MI-based Augment Ventures, says the group looked to what other TiE Angels groups in cities like Boston and San Francisco were doing to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. “Here in Detroit, we have an active charter,” she says. “It’s mostly driven by professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors making their skills available to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Now we want to add capital.”
Although it will remain undisclosed exactly which TiE Detroit members are doing the angel investing, Vijayavargiya says that a list of members who make up the screening team will be made public around the time of the official January launch. Individual members will find companies, perform an initial round of due diligence, and then bring those startups that pass muster before the rest of the group for consideration at quarterly meetings.
TiE Detroit Angels will invest across sectors in cloud, social, mobile, cleantech, and life science market segments, Vijayavargiya notes. She hopes TiE Detroit Angels will see at least 30 companies in the first year and make investments in three or four. “We’re trying to have a cumulative effect and throw the weight of the group behind new ventures,” she adds. “It’s always good to have new groups of people engaging in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Early-stage companies can also apply to present their pitch in front of the TiE Detroit Angels selection board.