Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Last week at the Arizona Enterpreneurship Conference (AZEC), a panel from AZ TiE titled “Who Got Funded and Why?” talked for nearly an hour about the dynamics of starting up.  Steve Swedler, Chief Product Guy at Gangplank asked finally stood up and asked,  “Who Got Funded and Why?”.  The moderator  turned the question over to a panelist who gave a jumbled answer that barely addressed why, but completely dodged the who?

Out of frustration I made a pretty knee jerk tweet and called this the same old bullshit investors in Phoenix hide behind.  As most of the groups haven’t funded anything in 12 months.  Later, Anil Jain one of the panelists let me know that they were not aware that was the topic and that was why they never covered it.  Fair enough.  It still would have been nice to hear which members of TiE had been funded or what the investors involved with TiE were funding.

At Gangplank in the last 18 months we invested in Authority Labs, Simple Seating and Date Designer. Additionally, many of us have put significant resources into 5th DimensionIntegrum has invested significantly for minor equity positions in various local start ups, trading equity for serivces. Additionally, we have launched two products that have been released to others in the community (Glen Garry and Back Tracker).

We currently have budgeted just over a $1 million to invest in the community over the next 5 years.  We have been working hard with others to make a home for Funding Universe and Sun Mountain Capital as well.  Between the two of them they could represent over $300 million in additional funding for the metro area. More information on this soon.

So you can see why it is frustrating to hear Angel “groups” time and time again ride their high horse about why we (the lowly entrepreneur) should respect them.  When in reality the community is finding ways to fund itself.  Which in many ways is how it should be.  We believe in the community and we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.  We hope that these other groups will as well.  We wish we could be doing more.  Providing capital to entrepreneurs is exactly what this economy needs to rebound.

Note:  The are companies receiving angel funding from individuals and there are some angel groups like ATIF that appear to be doing certain types of deals.


  1. I don’t think most of us even understand how angel funding even works and I assume it’s because most investors don’t want them to.

    Isn’t it a highly subjective process?

  2. So, a couple of questions/ideas spring to mind when thinking about Gangplank’s investments into local startups.

    1) What about letting individuals, who might not otherwise be considered “accredited investors”, participate in the funding pool, and reap some of the financial wins/losses alongside Gangplank itself?

    2) Could Gangplank start a Credit Union, based entirely upon pooling money from/related to, and investing in local startup companies?

    Has that been done elsewhere? Is it even legal? Would it be awesome, or shitty?

  3. I’ll be coming by Hack Night tonight at 5:30. I’m with Derek on this one, Arkayne received enough funding for a 2 year runway. We did it locally and we did it through angels.

    If you want to know more about how we did this and how you can do the same, I’ll be there tonight at 5:30.

  4. I don’t know much about about startup investment, venture capital, or angel funding (I hope to learn more …), but that is really awesome how the community is turning to supporting and funding itself.

    In the big picture, I know this isn’t as important and that it wasn’t the main thrust of this blog, but it’s the thing that drives me nutty: If there was a misprint in a program or as things were denoted online, why didn’t they take the time to correct it.

    Theater companies print simple program inserts for any corrections or past-print-date info that needs to be passed on. Or, they could have simple addressed the error at the beginning of the panel.

    It seems careless and not respectful of people’s time and energy to not do so.

  5. My opinion only —

    There are quite a few VC’s that have yet to “learn” about @Gangplank.

    Once they take the time to come visit — the $/funding will follow.

    Lots of it.

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