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Q: What is the history of Band of Angels?

The Band was founded in 1994 by Johannes C. (Hans) Severiens. Hans, who passed away in February of 2004, was a former nuclear physcist, Wall Street analyst, and Venture Capitalist  who formed friendships with many of the first generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and high technology executives—the founders of Fairchild, National Semiconductor, Genentech, Intel, Compaq, Kleiner Perkins, and Sequoia. When these executives retired from their initial career and became angel investors, Hans hit upon the idea of bringing them together at one place and time; to pool their expertise and their capital when considering investing in startups. Since the first meeting, held with 12 people in 1994, the Band has met every month without exception, in good times and bad.

The Band has invested in more than 277 companies, through the boom, the bust, and today. Consistently, the Band has helped young startups by providing them with their first seed capital, and more importantly, with expert advice. Today, the Band's managing director is Ian Sobieski (a former rocket scientist and dot com entrepreneur), who joined the group in 1997 and raised a $50M venture fund in 1999. While the fund is called Band of Angels Fund, there are no angels in it; it is a fund subscribed exclusively from major institutions such as the University of Texas and the Ontario Municipal Pension Fund (OMERS). The fund has 50 portfolio companies, with several positive exits including two IPOs. Today, the Band has more than 150 members, who continue to represent a cross section of successful entrepreneurs and former executives. The Band continues to meet monthly, continues to invest in new deals, and is recognized throughout the United States and the world as one of the most active early stage investment groups for startups seeking capital.

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Q: What is the Band of Angels’ track record?

The Band has invested more than $231M into 277+ companies since 1994. Of these 55 have been acquired and 10 have gone public on the Nasdaq. The cumulative IRR for all band investments since inception, including the losses suffered through the bust, is a positive 54%.  

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Q: What makes Band of Angels different from other Angel groups or early stage funds?

The difference is primarily in the people. The Band is made up of 150 successful business leaders available to assist companies develop from startup to IPO.  These experiences enable our portfolio to quickly and successfully build their companies from the ground up. 

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Q: How does the Band of Angels Venture fund operate with members of Band of Angels?

The Band of Angels Venture Fund, L.P. is a $50M venture fund comprised exclusively of institutional partners including three corporations, two university endowments, and a large pension fund. The fund is directed by Ian Sobieski and coinvests in deals that are subscribed by members of the Band of Angels. Initial investment sizes are typically $300,000 with total commitments for successful companies reaching $2.5M. Generally, either a member of the Band of Angels or one of the Fund's partners will take a board seat as part of an investment.

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Q: What is the non-financial value of the Band?

Members of the group are one phone call away from anyone important to a young company. The network effect of the Band is both vast and indescribable. Many deals that did not succeed in raising funds from the Band nevertheless were able to garner important business development opportunities, referrals for excellent employees, and valuable advisors or board members. Additionally, companies that get to the dinner will have been put through a diligence and review process that includes several hours of speech and presentation coaching and feedback from experienced venture investors-the net result is some valuable contribution from a professional process that should be of meaningful value to a young startup.

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