Global investors come to Chattanooga next week for AngelSummit

Global investors come to Chattanooga next week for AngelSummit

October 6th, 2015 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

R. Platt Boyd, left, and Chris Weller, with Branch Technology, stand on the stage after receiving the Investor's Choice award at the Gigtank Demo Day Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at GPS.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Startups by the numbers

565,000 businesses — are started every month in the United States

› $78,406 — Amount of startup capital raised by the typical business

› $531 billion — Total value of startup capital each year in the United States

› $20 billion — Amount of capital provided by Angel investors

› $22 billion — Amount of startup funds provided by venture capital firms

› $5.1 billion — Crowdfunding

Sources: Center for Venture Research, U.S. Small Business Administration, Angel Resource Institute

What Startup Angels says about Chattanooga

“From being the birthplace of Coca-Cola’s bottling operations to hosting the central hub for Access America’s logistics operations, Chattanooga punches above its weight when compared to similarly sized cities. The presence and involvement of these companies in this small city has fostered a collaborative and cooperative entrepreneurial community.

With initiatives such as The Enterprise Center and Launch Tennessee, the local and state governments have been catalysts in the growth of the community. The Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, an angel fund which has raised $11 million, has been an integral member of the investment community.

While the city’s charm may be appealing to some, its size and the lack of a major technical university have made recruiting technical talent challenging.”

Leslie Jump, is the CEO and co-founder of StartupAngels who has worked with new businesses in the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. She and her colleagues are coming to Chattanooga next week for an AngelSummit as part of Startup Week in Chattanooga.

Leslie Jump, is the CEO and co-founder of...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Charlie Brock, head of LaunchTN in Nashville and a Chattanooga native, spoke at the AngelSummit last year and immediately began lobbying the group to come to Chattanooga.

Charlie Brock, head of LaunchTN in Nashville and...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Every minute, 95 businesses are created around the globe, including 13 businesses across the United States.

But by some measures, nearly half of the venture capital for the most promising of the tech business startups in the world still comes from Silicon Valley in and around San Francisco.

Leslie Jump, the CEO and co-founder of StartupAngels who has worked with new businesses in the Middle East, Asia and the Americas, wants to diversify where startups are growing and where startup funds are available. So she and her colleagues are coming to Chattanooga next week for an AngelSummit as part of Startup Week in Chattanooga.

"We have great startups that are occurring all over the planet," she said. "But unfortunately, the vast majority of investment capital is still locked up in that peninsula of northern California."

Jump calls Chattanooga "one of the nation's best-kept secrets" as an emerging city for cultivating startup businesses, especially those trying to capitalize on the fastest-in-the-nation Internet service in the self-proclaimed "Gig City."

The AngelSummit US next Tuesday and Wednesday will bring more than 250 investment leaders from across the country to Chattanooga to learn about better ways to invest in emerging businesses in the new New Economy.

"The other cities that were competing for this (AngelSummit) were much larger cities, but we looked at Chattanooga and what is going on here and said, "Wow, this is insanely cool,'" Jump said. "This community has a long history on entrepreneurship going back to the Luptons and the Coca-Cola bottling businesses and the insurance industry, among other businesses. But Chattanooga also looks to the future and made the investments (in high-speed broadband, business incubators, an Innovation district and other small business development initiatives) to capitalize on its Gig Internet and other assets. We felt like that is a compelling story."

Jump is a former partner of Sawari Ventures and Network for Good who previously worked on the web projects at USWeb/CKS and MCI. She served on the board with veteran business leaders like AOL founder Steve Case of Startup Weekend, which merged with Startup America two years ago, when she decided to launch StartupAngels to help do for investors what the growing number of startup weekend and entrepreneurial accelerator programs like 48-hour Launch and the summerlong GigTank have done for the startup businesses themselves.

"We decided to tap as our mission doing for new investors what things like Startup Weekend have done for new entrepreneurs," Jump said. "We know there are great startups everywhere and you have an opportunity to participate in the growth and success of these startups as investors. You can invest your time and your talent, but you can also invest your capital."

StartupAngels works in two primary ways, Jump said. It helps tell the story about successful businesses and communities and creates events to help investors learn about how to successfully put their money into startups.

AngelSummit does many local workshops, including a half-day event later this month to highlight the growing startup community in Detroit. But the Chattanooga event will be the group's national summit.

Charlie Brock, head of LaunchTN in Nashville and a Chattanooga native, spoke at the AngelSummit last year and immediately began lobbying the group to come to Chattanooga. Brock said drawing top angel financiers from around the globe to Chattanooga should boost the city's global reputation to help draw more entrepreneurs and startup capital in the future.

"By being selected, the Scenic City will receive a wealth exposure as a result of the AngelSummit and further position itself as one of the country's leaders for entrepreneurship," Brock said.

Jump has seen entrepreneurial success in other markets without the major research facilities of Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, Tex., or Chicago, such as Damascus, Syria, , Syria, Rio De Janeiro, Cairo, Egypt and others cities where she has worked along with her husband, a foreign diplomat.

"Silicon Valley has been a font of innovation, but they do not have a monopoly on it," Jump said. "There are some kinds of technologies that require sort of hard-core engineering and technology that they specialize in. But it's also traditional businesses that are going to be transformed in the new economy. And that is happening in communities around the world like in Chattanooga."

Next week's summit will feature a handful of speakers, including Mark Kvamme of Drive Capital; Paul Singh of 1776-DC; and Anand Sanwal of CB Insights. But much of the summit will involve breakout sessions and workshops, Jump said.

The Company Lab's Entrepreneur-in-Residence Alex Lavidge said the AngelSummit should boost Chattanooga's growing entrepreneurial reputation.

"At the end of the day, it's not about sharing information; it's about spreading trusted information," he said. "People are starting to see the various signals in Chattanooga that this is going to be a very strong entrepreneurial hub in the Southeast."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.