The Michigan Angel Fund (MAF), a for-profit, pooled, and professionally managed equity fund, selected four women-founded early stage companies to grow its portfolio in 2018. The companies were Gamez International, Geo Ticket Portals, HTMA Holdings, and Shoptelligence. All four seed rounds exceeded $1M each.

“We didn’t intentionally seek out only women entrepreneurs in 2018,” acknowledged Skip Simms, managing partner of the Michigan Angel Fund and senior vice president of Ann Arbor SPARK. “However, I do believe it’s indicative of a larger trend that we’ve seen over the past few years throughout the state. It’s noteworthy — and perhaps a tipping point — for one fund to have 100 percent of new investments go to women-led organizations in 2018.”

MAF focuses on near- or at-revenue, Michigan-based tech companies with the ability to scale. For the first seven months of 2018, the fund didn’t hear pitches from companies that fit those fastidious requirements. “We’re not a venture fund,” added Skip. “In the U.S., 17-out-of-18 tech companies are backed by angels, not VCs. These companies don’t fit the VC model because they don’t need a lot of capital to become profitable, yet they can still deliver to angel investors a VC-sized return.”

It wasn’t until early August that MAF invested in its first 2018 company — Gamez International and by the end of October, MAF would sign deals with the other three companies.

Meet the Founders

Kimberly Gamez | Gamez International, Inc. | Mi Padrino
A crowdfunding platform serving as a simple alternative to age-old methods of organizing, planning and funding traditional Latino events.

Deb Fellows | Geo Ticket Portals, Inc. | GeoTix
An event ticketing platform that allows local media companies to provide their audiences with local ticketing for local events.

  • Based in Traverse City
  • Grew from MyNorth Media and its pilot program,

Kathleen Craig | HTMA Holdings, Inc. | Plinqit
A white label, mobile-first platform that helps financial institutions connect with customers and them reach their savings goals.

  • Based in Dexter, Mich.
  • Graduated from SPARK Central Innovation Center
  • A2 Tech Trek Participating Company (2016)
  • Has two other products: Banker Jr. and Member Jr.

Laura Khoury | Shoptelligence Inc. | Shoptelligence
Shoptelligence is an artificial intelligence (AI) style discovery platform that creates contextual and interactive ensembles for large retailer sites for both home décor and apparel.

The Road Forward

While angel investors and venture capitalists continue to address funding disparity for women entrepreneurs, according to Skip, “I’ll be surprised if a year goes by moving forward that MAF doesn’t invest in a company that has a woman founder or a woman in an executive leadership role.”

For more on this subject, check out the It Takes Money podcast about women angel investors hosted by Skip Simms with special guest Mary Brevard, Co-Chair and Director of Chambers Island Capital Investors.

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Source: SPARK