New Nebraska Angels head Dillashaw seeks more members, deals in 2012
The new president of the Nebraska Angels has two goals for 2012: "More members and more deals."
Bart Dillashaw (left, photo courtesy of Dillashaw), a Lincoln attorney, succeeded Nebraska Angels founder John Brasch in October as the second president in the organization’s history. Dillashaw has been interested in technology and startups since attending college in Texas during the '90s dot-com boom, and he previously practiced law in Silicon Valley before moving to Lincoln in July 2010.
"There's something very exciting about companies that are trying to change the world with new technologies," he said. "There’s just a lot of energy behind that. You get wrapped up in it."
Dillashaw describes the organization he now leads as serving two purposes for investors and the companies they invest in.
First, the Nebraska Angels is a "club" for "random rich guys" to share experience and the due diligence workload involved in investing in startups. The Angels review potential investments together, but invest separately. The only requirements for membership are accredited investor status (defined under federal law) and an interest in investing in "small, early-stage companies with high growth potential."
The "club" currently has 37 members. Dillashaw would like to see that number approach 100, although he recognizes "it's a pretty small subset" of people who have the requisite net worth and are also interested in early-stage investments. To that subset, Dillashaw says: "You don't have to do this alone. We can help you."
"There's something very exciting about companies that are trying to change the world with new technologies. There’s just a lot of energy behind that. You get wrapped up in it." - Dillashaw
Second, as Dillashaw explains: "Angels fill a very important niche in the overall investment ecosystem" by investing in pre-revenue companies that venture capitalists won’t yet touch. "For a lot of these companies, they’ve gone beyond friends and family, and self-financing," he said. "We realize we’re not the only source of capital in town, but we’re an option, and we try to give a lot of feedback."
Since the organization’s inception in 2006, the Nebraska Angels have made 11 investments, including one in 2011. A twelfth is expected before the end of the year.
Dillashaw would like to see the group make three or four investments per year, which would require an annual total of 100 to 200 applications and 20 to 30 "pitches" at the group's monthly meetings.
"There's a lot of attention to the entrepreneurial space right now," he said. "I think the Nebraska Angels are in a good position to help out those who want to participate in it."