How do you solve the access to venture capital void Canadian prairie entrepreneurs have been experiencing for decades? You build an Angel Network right here in Manitoba!
“North Forge believes in a vibrant Canadian economy fueled by startups and their founders. The North Forge Angel Network is forging relationships with angels and early-stage investors who demonstrate expertise and strong values,” Gloria Thom, Manager of the North Forge Angel Network, proudly says.
In Canada, 50% more unique startups have opened a business in 2021 than in 2020. As a result, startups and investors will be able to heal our economy from the inside out.
The North Forge Angel Network (NFAN) is making effective strides to boost the early-stage investment ecosystem across Canada. Since its inception in February of 2021, the NFAN has obtained membership representing over 1,500 angel investor individuals, syndicate groups, and investment firms.
What makes the NFAN different from other Angel Networks? Firstly, the network is open to all investors across North American and Europe. Secondly, North Forge Technology Exchange (North Forge) has created a unique lifecycle for startups, with programming from ideation stages through incubation to acceleration and access to capital all under one roof, with no membership fee for investing members. North Forge’s commitment to seeing that founders have a solid business foundation and a marketable product or service ensures that they are ready for investment before they have the opportunity to pitch to NFAN.
Many North Forge founders have been a part of the North Forge family since their very early beginnings – guided from when they register their business name into incubation, preparing for capital injection. When it comes time to start pitching for capital, North Forge Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR’s), Growth Coaches, and valued mentors spend one-on-one time ensuring their well-vetted due diligence documents are ready to go before pitching to potential investors. This vetting benefits the angel investors as they know going into a deal screening that the early-stage founders have a startup that is ready for growth.
North Forge is committed to raising the profile of female investors. Becoming a part of the Women’s Equity Lab (WEL), North Forge has founded WEL Manitoba and will provide female investors with the opportunity to equally share the lead role in building innovative tech-enabled and advanced manufacturing companies right here in Manitoba. WEL Manitoba strives for shareholder equality to bring forth women advisors, leadership, and equality in the boardroom.
NFAN welcomes both accredited and non-accredited investors. NFAN follows the Manitoba Securities Commission rules, protecting investors and promoting fair and efficient capital markets throughout the province. In Manitoba, individual accredited investors are usually considered high-net-worth individuals who must meet a minimum threshold income of $200k per year or $300k per year with a life partner for two years running. Alternatively — there is also the option to become accredited when someone holds a minimum of $1M in assets. Unaccredited investors have a few exemptions so that they can begin their portfolios as well through the capital raising friends, family, and business associates exemption.
North Forge works closely with each entrepreneur and guides them through the unique four-stage Founders Program, which provides comprehensive resources combined with regional knowledge and international experience.
Angel Investors carefully consider both the founding entrepreneur’s character qualities together with the potential success of their startups when making investment decisions. Drive, commitment, and willingness to work with advisors to grow or scale quickly to reach the market more efficiently are just a few of the qualities that angels assess when they meet with potential founders for investment.
Angels will deep dive into the company’s revenue model, business plan, market validation, financial projections, including a profit and loss statement (if the startup is revenue positive) over the previous year or two to discover the potential and size of return on their investment. North Forge has licensed DealPoint so that each founder has a data room in the North Forge Deal Room. Overall, there is a lot of due diligence completed before funds cross the table.
Investors are synonymous with risk. However, angel investing holds an altogether different level of risk, with each investor having a diverse range of risk comfort levels. “Early-stage investing is always going to carry some element of risk, likely higher than that of an established company,” Gloria revealed. “However, the dividends for jumping in on the ground floor may be much greater for an investor in the long run.”
Angels also understand that early-stage companies will take longer to show revenue and profit and are willing to play the long game towards their investment goals. The more angels invest, the more successful they become at predicting which startups may or may not be successful in the marketplace.
The North Forge Angel Network is “committed to ensuring that new sustainable companies join the marketplace both now and in the generations to come,” Gloria concluded. If you are interested in learning more about the North Forge Angel Network or would like to join as an angel investor, an Expression of Interest form is available for you to complete or email Gloria Thom, and she’ll set up a meeting to review specifics.
If you are a founder in technology or advanced manufacturing and are interested in the North Forge four-stage Founders Program to work toward accessing the North Forge Angel Network, you can learn more and submit your application form here.