With over 80 members Park City Angels is a Prominent Player in Startup Investment Arena

Park City Angels
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On Thursday night, the Jeremy Ranch Country Club hosted three entrepreneurs who presented their companies to a gathering of angel investors. This monthly meeting was organized by Park City Angels, an angel investor syndicate founded in 2007 to invest in technology or growing companies, particularly those based in Utah.

“Utah has been a hotbed for entrepreneurship. There are many talented entrepreneurs in Utah. In 2007, there was a lack of angel investment,” explained Ted McAleer, co-founder of Park City Angels.

Angel investors are affluent individuals who invest their personal funds as seed capital into startup ventures, typically receiving ownership equity in return. According to McAleer, after achieving product-market fit—where a company’s target audience is sufficiently engaged to sustain growth and profitability—the next step for tech companies is to secure angel investment.

“I realized we needed more early-stage capital to support entrepreneurs. So, I decided to create a network targeted at active semi-retirees aged 50 to 75 who wanted to support entrepreneurs in growing their businesses,” McAleer added.

These semi-retirees, including McAleer himself, were individuals who had relocated to Park City following successful careers in the business world.

Ted McAleer explained that many members of the syndicate were engaging in leisure activities like skiing, fly fishing, mountain biking, and golfing, but were also seeking intellectual stimulation. Forming an angel syndicate provided them with an opportunity to stay informed about the latest technology and business developments in Utah.

According to McAleer, angel investing can offer similar or even superior returns compared to investing in the stock market, with the added benefit of greater personal involvement. McAleer highlighted the satisfaction that comes from coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs, noting that older investors often see themselves in younger entrepreneurs and are motivated to help them succeed.

Initially comprising around 20 investors, Park City Angels has grown to include 87 investors. One distinguishing feature of the group is its use of a fund. To become a member and access investment opportunities, investors are required to contribute $25,000 to the fund every two years. This fund can then be activated to invest in a company if at least four angels choose to invest, with a combined total of $150,000. At this point, the fund will match the investment.

McAleer explained the mechanics: “They put $25,000 into Fund One, and then that makes investments during 2022 and 2023. And now we have 11 investments in 2022 and 2023, and I only wrote a check for $25,000, but I’m participating in 11 investments.”

From the entrepreneur’s perspective, this fund is highly advantageous, according to Eric Lo, founder of Krado, a Utah-based plant data company that produces sensors for plants called Leaflet. The company received funding from Park City Angels in 2022.

Lo expressed, “It’s like, ‘Oh, that’s easy. I just need to get four people and then essentially the money I could get doubles with no further work on my end.’”

His experience with the group was exceptional due to their efficient decision-making process. “Out of all the angel syndicates, Park City is like one of the most active and best, meaning that they actually make decisions really quickly,” said Lo.

Comparing them to other angel syndicates like the Salt Lake City Angels and the Wyoming Angels, Lo noted that these groups can be elusive, with some even charging a fee to present investment opportunities.

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