San Antonio Investors Create Angel Network, Hire Executive Director

San Antonio—[Updated 9/16/16, 11:36 p.m.] South Texas now has its own angel network, and the network officially has its own executive director. The San Antonio Angel Network announced this morning that it has hired Chris Burney, a former finance manager and analyst at Rackspace, for the position.

The group quietly got its start this summer and is an effort to connect accredited investors in the San Antonio area with potential startup investments. The angel investors are looking to invest in companies—both in tech and life sciences—that are seeking less than $1 million. The startups can apply through the network’s website. [Updated below to add comments from executive director.]

“We want to figure out what we do well (in San Antonio) and not only pull the money together, but also pull the startups together,” Burney said in an interview. “We want to be able to provide a centralized source where investors can come and find a great company to invest in.”

To be a part of the network, an investor must qualify as accredited—typically meaning they either earn at least $200,000 a year or have a net worth of $1 million—and pay dues to the network, the group says. The founding members are Michael Girdley, who runs his own investment firm Geekdom Fund and co-founded coding school Codeup; Lew Moorman, a former Rackspace executive and local venture capitalist who co-founded the firm Scaleworks; Pat Matthews, who runs the startup Filestack; and Amit Mehta, who is the founder of life sciences company Intrinsic Imaging.

Former NBA basketball player, and San Antonio Spurs alum, Brent Barry is also a part of the network, the group says.

The group was founded because many local investors had to travel outside of San Antonio to find investments, the angel network said in a news release. San Antonio was the largest city in Texas without an angel network, the group says. The San Antonio Business Journal first wrote about Burney’s hire yesterday.

Burney grew up in San Antonio and moved to New York to work in finance after receiving his undergraduate degree from Duke. He worked as a market data analyst for Thomson Reuters and later in leveraged loans for J.P. Morgan. After four years in New York, he sought his MBA from University of North Carolina before returning to San Antonio and taking a job at Rackspace.

He initially held a position focused on mergers and acquisitions for the cloud computing company, helping early on with deals such as the acquisition of Mailgun and later by helping sell divisions JungleDisk and Cloud Sites. Eventually, he began focusing more on the company’s operational financing.

Burney said he didn’t have any intention of leaving Rackspace. But when he saw the posting for the angel network job, he jumped at the opportunity to work with startups.

“I love working with startups; I love helping people build ideas,” Burney said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be an entrepreneur myself. My biggest value-add is providing financial expertise, helping people raise money.”

For now, Burney says he is focused on learning, and to do so, is talking to leaders of other angel networks in places like Austin and Dallas.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @xconholley

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