Where to find angel investor groups in the Southeast

Can I let you in on a secret?

We do it too. We pull up Investopedia, scratch our heads at valuations, and google finance terms. All the time.

Getting funded isn’t easy, and neither is choosing which funding option you want to pursue.

We get that. It’s what motivated us to create this guide to finding angel groups in the Southeast. We found ourselves wondering what local options startups have, and who they can partner with outside the Valley.

Turns out, there are a lot of really good options.

What is an angel investor? #

It has a lot to do with how much a person is worth.

Informally, it’s someone who invests a lot of their own money in a startup, in exchange for some company control. Formally, the Angel Capital Association (ACA) says an angel is, “a high net-worth individual who invests his or her own money in start-up companies in exchange for an equity share of the businesses.”

They’re often former entrepreneurs, and most invest so they can make more money. Many are also motivated by mentoring startups, or boosting the economy. Their main focus is companies that need little capital, less than $3mm, to get to an exit in about five years. (Although, the best investors understand it can really be more like 10+ years.) An exit is when an angel earns their money back, if the startup succeeds.

In the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of angel investors. Most of these individuals work alone, but many of them participate in groups. The ACA estimates between 10,000 and 15,000 angels belong to angel groups in the U.S. These groups allow angels to make larger investments, more thoroughly review applicants, and attract a higher volume of quality opportunities.

Most groups, including the ACA, require angel group members to be “accredited.” Loosely, this means that the angel must have a net worth of $1mm. Or, they must have have received over $200k in income for the past two years, and expect the same in the current year.

What’s the difference between angel investors and venture capitalists? #

They differ in where they get their money, how much of it they offer, and when they make their deals.

Venture Capitalists (VCs) invest money from a wide variety of sources, including corporations. Angel Investors use their own money, or pool money into a fund.

VCs offer more capital, north of $3mm dollars, and to later stage companies. They’re typically involved in Series A, B, and C funding rounds. (There are, however, a growing number of “micro-VCs” that offer smaller checks to seed companies.)

Individual angel investors offer smaller funds, usually $5k-$100k, to early-stage or seed startups. Groups of angels can offer larger amounts, $100k-$3mm, and invest in early-stage companies. Some groups also participate in Series A.

Both VCs and Angels expect equity in exchange for an investment.

Are angel investors right for my startup? #

Maybe. It depends on what stage you’re in, what you’re willing to give up, and whether you fit the angel investor group.

Factor 1: Your Startup Stage
All angel investor groups will look for a good idea, founder experience, and a large target market.

Most groups also prefer to see a functioning version of the idea. This could be anything from a prototype to a revenue-producing product. What’s important is you’re no longer just talking about the idea; you’ve put something into action.

Prototype sketch in a notebook

Most angel groups want to see a functioning product. We can help with that!

This is especially important in the Southeast, where angel groups tend to be more conservative. Most will tell you they’re looking for companies who already have revenue and a proven model. They’re not looking to start a fire; they’re looking to pour gas on an existing fire. It’s true some companies have raised money from angel groups with little or no revenue, but those companies tend to be great storytellers and are able to commit a ton of time to fundraising.

It’s also ideal if you’ve already invested your own money, as well as money from friends and family, before approaching a group. Why should investors risk their money if you haven’t risked yours?

Remember that investors want a return. To interest them, you’ll need to prove that your company can grow quickly, make a lot of money, and ideally exit in no more than 5 years.

Factor 2: The Price You’ll Pay
If you partner with an angel group, you’ll exchange equity or some of other form of company control for funds. And you’ll probably need to take advice—even if you don’t like it—from the group down the road.

Partnering with angel groups means giving up some company control; you should be okay with this idea if you intend to receive their funds.

Factor 3: Meeting Investor Criteria
Each group is going to have its own set of criteria. Some groups only work with startups in a specific state. Others only look at companies in specific industries. Make sure you thoroughly research a group before you approach them. If you can get a personal introduction, that’s even better.

Find angel investors in the Southeast using Krit’s directory #

When we say “The Southeast,” we’re referring to the following states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

What states we include in our angel investor director

We can debate what a “southern” state is all day long, but these are the ones we’ve included here.

Note: We built this list as a guide and helpful starting point for entrepreneurs considering angel funding. We have not personally connected with most of these groups.

Angel investor groups with state criteria #

These angel groups only work with entrepreneurs who base their companies in specific states or narrow regions within the Southeast.

Many angel groups only work with companies in specific states or regions.

Angels of Southwest Louisiana
Location: Lake Charles, LA
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: No listed focus areas

A non-profit corporation focused on Southwest Louisiana. Startups do not have to pay any fees to apply.

Acadiana Anglels
Location: Lafayette, LA
Stage: Seed, Series A
Industries: No listed focus areas

Prefers companies that are located in Acadiana or Louisiana.

Bluegrass Angels
Location: Lexington, KY
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Technology

Focuses on Kentucky-based technology startups. They plan to invest in 5 companies through 2022.

Charlotte Angel Fund
Location: Charlotte, NC
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Medical devices, biotech, SaaS, and others

Partners with companies located in North Carolina, or in a contiguous state. They strongly favor companies close to Charlotte. They typically invest $50k to $200k in a company seeking to raise $250k-$2mm overall.

Chattanooga Renaissance Fund
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Stage: Seed, Early-stage
Industries: Tech

The CRF focuses on companies in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, and the north corner of Atlanta. They’re connected to other funds throughout the Southeast as well. Most of the companies in their portfolio are tech-oriented.

New World Angels
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: No listed focus areas

A group of 68 accredited Florida investors. They fund entrepreneurs who locate a meaningful portion of their business in Florida. They receive 20+ applications a month and select 6 of these to present at membership meetings.

Mississippi Angel Investors
Location: Ridgeland, MS
Stage: Seed, Early-stage
Industries: Software, life sciences, communications, and open to other technologies

Works with companies who are seeking $250k to $800k. The startup must either be headquartered in Mississippi or have substantial operations within the state.

NO/LA Angel Network
Location: New Orleans, LA
Stage: Seed, Series A
Industries: Industry agnostic

Invests in companies that focus on Louisiana's regional economy. Their portfolio includes a number of SaaS and biotechnology companies.

Triangle Angel Partners
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: No listed focus areas

Companies seeking funding must be within a half day's drive of Research Triangle Park. Investors prefer, "first-of-a-kind new ideas, rather than incremental enhancements to existing products and services." Their portfolio includes tech, biotech, and SaaS.

Angel investor groups with alma mater criteria #

These groups only work with entrepreneurs who graduated from, or are affiliated with, specific schools.

Not using your degree? It may still have a few uses...

Bulldog Angel Network
Location: Starkville, MS
Stage: Seed, Early-stage
Industries: No listed focus areas

This network funds “early stage companies that are majority owned by Mississippi State University students, faculty or alumni." Average deal size is $100k to $200k. They do provide some smaller deals, around 50k, for student seed funds.

Carolina Angel Network
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Non-life science, Medical Devices, Diagnostics

Funds entrepreneurs who graduated from, or are affiliated with, UNC: "Company must have a founder or executive who is a UNC alumnus, faculty, staff, student, or parent or have licensed a technology from the university." Provides funds ranging from $100k to $3mm.

Duke Angel Network
Location: Durham, NC
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: No listed focus areas

Receives 20+ applications per month. Provides seed and series A starting at $300k. Companies must be Duke affiliated: "Have a founder, executive, board member, or major investor who is a current/former Duke student, employee, or parent." Investors prefer existing proof of concept.

Wolfpack Investor Network
Location: Durham, NC
Stage: Seed, Series A
Industries: No listed focus areas

One of the most active investing groups in the area, Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN) works with the NC State Entrepreneurial community. They look for startups that, "have a founder, executive, or board member who is a NC State alumnus, faculty, staff, student, or parent, or have licensed NC State University intellectual property." They do Seed and Series A from $250k to $5mm. They'll also syndicate later-stage equity financing with an existing or new lead investor.

Angel investor groups for women & non-binary entrepreneurs #

These groups only work with female and/or non-binary entrepreneurs.

female entrepreneurs

Very little funding is directed towards female-led companies in the Southeast. These groups are trying to change that.

Pipeline Angels
Locations: Atlanta, GA; Burlington, AL; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, NC; Memphis and Nashville, TN; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA
Stage: Friends & Family Round
Industries: For-profit social ventures

Partners with female and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs. This organization has a double focus: training angel investors and funding entrepreneurs. Companies seeking funding must have a for-profit legal structure and a social and/or environmental mission.

The Jumpfund
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Stage: Seed, Early-stage
Industries: Wide variety of industries

Companies approaching this network must be female-led: “at least one woman in a C-level role with significant equity in the company.” Investors are primarily women from the Southeast.

Angel investor groups without state, school, or gender criteria #

These groups may have state preferences, but they do not have strict state, school, or gender criteria for applicants.

Krit team

If you call the Southeast home, like we do, you’re in luck. That’s the region these groups consider.

AIM Group
Locations: Nashville, TN; Pensacola, FL; Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, Dothan, and Auburn, AL
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Tech-related

A network of 272 angels with 8 chapter locations. They favor companies with early revenue of $1mm to $2mm. Their average investment size is $750k per round. They’re participated in round sizes as small as $500k and as large as $10mm.

Angel Capital Group
Locations: Nashville, TN; Knoxville, TN; Jackson, MS
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Tech, SaaS, Medical devices, Biotech, Digital Media, Financial Services, Energy, Green technology, consumer products (on occasion)

Receives a high volume of applications. They merged with RAIN Source Capital in 2014; the two networks combined have invested $48M in 140 companies.

The Angel Roundtable
Location: Johnson City, TN
Stage: Late Seed, Early-stage
Industries: Hardware, Software/Cloud Software, Digital Media, Big Data, Medical Devices, Consumer Products and Services, Financial Services, Life Sciences (excluding Pharma), CleanTech, Chemicals and Industrial

Typical investment size is $75k to $250k, with opportunities up to $1mm. Their ideal company has existing revenue and a valuation between $1.5mm and $3.5mm.

Atlanta Technology Angels
Location: Atlanta, GA
Stage: Early-stage, Series A
Industries: Hardware, Software, Digital Media, Consumer Products and Services, Financial Services, Life Science, Healthcare, CleanTech and Industrial technologies

One of the top angel investing networks in the Southeast. They provide capital for entrepreneurs seeking between $200k and $3mm in funding. They work with companies all over the Southeast, but prefer companies within driving distance of Atlanta.

Bio/Med Investor Network
Location: Atlanta, GA
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Biomed, Medtech, Health IT

Equally considers opportunities outside of Georgia. They typically partner with companies seeking between $200k and $2mm. They prefer companies “that are past the prototype/proof of concept stage and are close to having customers or customer partnerships.”

Charleston Angel Partners
Location: Charleston, SC
Stage: Seed, Series A, Series B
Industries: Tech

Invests in companies that have previously raised funds and are now looking for an investment between $100k and $2mm. Their ideal startup has been in operation for at least several months, and is valued in the $500k to $5mm range. Regional business may receive preference, but the group does invest outside of Charleston.

Nashville Capital Network
Location: Nashville, TN
Stage: Series A
Industries: No listed focus areas

Network of over 100 investors. Their ideal company is seeking to raise $1 mm to $3 mm in Series A financing. The majority of their investments are in TN, but they'll consider out-of-state opportunities. Portfolio includes medical devices, biotech, SaaS, and others.

Location: Nashville, TN
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Healthcare

There’s not much on this Nashville group’s website, but it’s clear their primary focus is healthcare and they’re led by investors with deep experience in the field.

RTP Capital Associates
Stage: Seed, Early-stage
Industries: Technology Centric or Low Tech Execution Driven Businesses

Their typical investment range is $100k-$500k. They're primarily looking for investment opportunities located in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina, but they’ll consider businesses throughout the Southeast.

Locations: Aiken, Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Rock Hill, and Spartanburg SC; Asheville and Charlotte, NC
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: May vary by regional group

One of the largest investment groups in the United States, with over 300 accredited investors in the Southeast. There are 10 regional angel groups within VentureSouth. They "aim to invest $250,000 to $750,000 in companies seeking capital to launch or scale a market-ready product or service." They invest in about 3% of the companies who contact them. Provides many resources for entrepreneurs.

Global angel investor groups with Southeast chapters #

These global groups operate in the US, with at least one office in the Southeast.

A few groups operate on a big scale but have focal points in the Southeast.

Keiretsu Forum South-East
Southeast Locations: Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA
Stage: Series A, Series B
Industries: Wide Interests

This community includes angels, VCs, and corporate investors. They provide capital ranging from $250k to $2mm. They have many global chapters, and two locations in the Southeast. Selected startups have usually already raised $500k to $1.5mm from founders, friends & family,

Go Beyond Network
Southeast Location: Naples, FL
Stage: Early-stage
Industries: Environment, health, education, food, housing, services, medtech, biotech, technology or luxury

They fund companies looking to raise $100k to $2mm. Their non-US offices are in Luxembourg, Zurich, Malta, and Dubai. They describe themselves as a, "FinTech company transforming angel investing into a new scalable asset class for small and large, novice to experienced investors."

Mystery angels investor groups #

These may be top-rate networks, but we couldn’t find much information on them. Maybe your sleuth skills are better than ours?

We’d tell you more, but these groups are a bit of a mystery to outsiders.

256 Ventures
There’s not too much information about this Huntsville, AL group on their one-page website. They’re listed on the ACA, but they refer to themselves as an app studio.

Bama Angel Network
This network is listed on the ACA with a single email address: dandaly@ua.edu.

New Louisiana Angel Fund
Organized by the BRF, the New Louisiana Angel Fund (NLAF1), “is the first north Louisiana angel investor group and meets monthly to evaluate for startups for funding.” We found some info on their portfolio, but not much beyond that.

No Limits Ventures
A group listed on the ACA and led by Atlanta entrepreneur, Raj Choudhury.

Northern Kentucky Angels
When we looked them up, this group was not accepting applications.

Tamiami Angel Fund
There’s a lot of information about angel investing on this website, but not much of it is specific to the Florida-based fund.

Rebel Capital
All we have on this crew is an email address via Charleston Digital Corridor: rebelcapitaladvisors@gmail.com.

Still on board? Next steps with angel investors. #

We found most of these groups through the Angel Capital Association (ACA) directory, and we’d encourage you to check that out for more info related to angel investors.

If you’re looking for angels outside of the Southeast, you can browse other regions in the directory or the list of accredited platforms.

Hoping to approach a group of angel investors? You’ll want to do some additional legwork.

If you’re thinking about approaching an angel group, you’ll want to do at least the following:

  • Make sure this is your best funding option: There are a lot of benefits to working with angels, but there are benefits to other funding sources, too. Make sure you’ve weighed your options and talked with other entrepreneurs about this.
  • Do your research: Go way beyond what we have listed above, and gather as much information about the group as you can. Make sure you’re a good fit for their focus industries, portfolio, and company profile.
  • Find a personal introduction: This doesn’t mean you get to skip the application process, but it does mean you’ll have a more favorable starting point.
  • Understand their process: For most groups, the process includes an application, pitches, meetings, due diligence, and screening. Groups also vary in how quickly you’ll receive funds, if you’re selected. There are a ton of resources online that can help you prepare for each of these steps.
  • Stomach the cost: Make sure you can sustain your company while you’re applying and preparing pitches for angels. More importantly, make sure you’re okay with trading some company control for funding.

Did we miss something? Help us improve this list! #

It’s likely we’ve left off a group or two. If you think we’ve missed a network, or have a fact out of line, please reach out to Andrew at andrew@builtbykrit. We’d love to hear from you!