North Texas Angel Network Names Executive Director to Enhance the Deal Flow Experience

The early-stage investment organization is bringing seasoned angel investor Aaron Gathmann onto the team.

BY: David Kirkpatrick | February 13, 2020

Early-stage investment organization North Texas Angel Network (NTAN) announced Aaron Gathmann as its executive director. Gathmann is an existing member of the ten-year-old nonprofit, member-led organization and is a seasoned angel investor.

As executive director, he plans to lead NTAN’s mission of presenting quality early-stage investment opportunities to its members as well as nurture angel investing across North Texas. For both angel investors and entrepreneurs, that means Gathmann is tasked with enhancing the deal flow experience with technological efficiency, communication, and process improvements.

NTAN founder and former executive director Chuck McCoy will stay on with the group as a board member.

Gathmann told Dallas Innovates his team wants the organization to be viewed as a “worthwhile stop in the fundraising process where there’s truly a high degree of interest in your deal if invited to present.”

“It also always helps to have other investors already on-board,” he says. “Early stage fundraising usually takes a lot of checks from a lot of people, it’s hard work.”

Gathmann’s background includes serving as co-founder or advisor for startups including Tri Global Energy, Neighborfund, Skyven Technologies, RedWorks Construction Technologies; creating an angel investment portfolio of more than 20 startups; and serving in dozens of consulting roles. He has also worked as a commercial banker and underwriter with BBVA Compass, an analyst with Bear Stearns, and an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“I’m honored to take the helm and lead NTAN into its next chapter and decade,” said Gathmann in a statement. “My goal is to increase the engagement of accredited investors and entrepreneurs and to grow the NTAN organization. While I’ve joined with a strategic plan and areas to improve such as more focused meetings and deeper deal analysis, my first step is to listen to our members and entrepreneurs, past and present, and ensure we meet their needs.”

Gathmann understands both investors and entrepreneurs, making him the “perfect person” to serve as NTAN’s executive director said Chris Wilkes, NTAN Board Chair, in a statement adding, “He comes to the role armed with ideas to enhance the experience, streamline processes and improve the communication for members, entrepreneurs and sponsors.”

NTAN connects early-stage companies with angel investors to help private investors make private deals with private companies, according to a statement.

“Deals at this stage are inherently more risky as the business is oftentimes prior to or in the early stages of commercialization and there are still many factors to be tested and figured out,” Gathmann says. “Having a network of investors that can share experiences and knowledge ideally helps individual investors make more informed decisions.”

Over its ten years, NTAN’s members have invested more than $10 million in startup companies with notable investments including Haxiot, Ikonopedia, Stocked Robotics, Tella Firma, TeVido, and Vital Arts & Science. Gathmann told us NTAN is “industry agnostic,” as every investor is entitled to their own deal preferences.

“Early stage investing has a high bar because there is a reasonable expectation of adequate returns of many multiples of the investment because of the high degree of risk with it, so it needs to be a type of business that can make a reasonable case to deliver those types of returns,” he says. “It’s the startups’ job to show a well thought-out execution plan that is forecast to deliver ‘X’ value at a given time and then convince investors why they should believe in them to be able to make that happen. A track record of successful execution is attractive; a growing base of happy customers is attractive.”

NTAN is also a member of the Angel Capital Association and the Alliance of Texas Angel Networks. Plans for the organization include invite-only, in-person presentations for members from select companies every other month, video conference meetings, and more.

“Later this year we’ll be looking at potential opportunities for strategic partnerships with corporate innovation groups where we can help serve as a resource for particular areas of interest in emerging technologies that companies may have because of the wide range of early-stage deal flow that we see,” Gathmann says.

Quincy Preston and Alex Edwards contributed this report. 

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North Texas Angel Network (NTAN) Names Aaron Gathmann as Executive Director

(DALLAS, TX – February 13, 2020) – The North Texas Angel Network (NTAN) has appointed Aaron Gathmann as Executive Director. A seasoned angel investor, serial entrepreneur and existing member of NTAN, Gathmann is uniquely suited to lead the organization’s mission to present quality, early-stage investment opportunities to members and nurture active angel investing in North Texas. Founder and former Executive Director Chuck McCoy will remain active with NTAN as a board member.

“Aaron understands the perspective of the investor as well as the entrepreneur, which makes him a perfect person to serve as Executive Director. He comes to the role armed with ideas to enhance the experience, streamline processes and improve the communication for members, entrepreneurs and sponsors,” says NTAN Board Chair Chris Wilkes. “NTAN was founded a decade ago by Chuck McCoy as an advocate for the investor community eager to connect angel capital and aspiring entrepreneurs. Since that time, he has guided countless investors and entrepreneurs, resulting in excess of $10 million in capital invested and many early stage company successes. Our entire region owes gratitude to Chuck for his vision and commitment to fueling angel investing.”

Gathmann notes, “I’m honored to take the helm and lead NTAN into its next chapter and decade. My goal is to increase the engagement of accredited investors and entrepreneurs and to grow the NTAN organization. While I’ve joined with a strategic plan and areas to improve such as more focused meetings and deeper deal analysis, my first step is to listen to our members and entrepreneurs, past and present, and ensure we meet their needs.”

He has served as a co-founder or an advisor for startups including, Tri Global Energy, Neighborfund, Skyven Technologies, RedWorks Construction Technologies, and dozens of consulting roles as well as creating an angel investment portfolio in excess of 20 startups. Previously, he worked as a commercial banker and underwriter with BBVA Compass, analyst with Bear Stearns and auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, which brings a strong foundation to guide effective deal flow and due diligence evaluations. Gathmann is a graduate of Trinity University with a master’s and bachelor’s degree in accounting.

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The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC) and North Texas Angel Network (NTAN) Announce Strategic Partnership to Accelerate Startup Growth

(DALLAS, TX – April 4, 2019) – As part of Dallas Startup Week, The DEC and NTAN announce plans to form a strategic and operational partnership between the two organizations. The collaboration is intended to expand the long-standing, accredited angel investor network and the startup entrepreneur community to spur innovation, deal flow, and company launches in North Texas.

“As an investor-focused organization, NTAN exists to present quality, early-stage investment opportunities to our membership and to nurture active angel investing in our region overall. By aligning with The DEC, we will more rapidly tap into opportunities and increase our visibility,” says NTAN Board Chair Chris Wilkes. “More so, leveraging The DEC’s operational excellence allows our increased focus on evaluating and investing in strong founders and ideas.”

The DEC CEO Alyce Alston notes, “North Texas has long been associated with solid, savvy entrepreneurs and investors – and a growth trajectory that is enviable. As the market evolves, connections become more paramount for the success of our entire ecosystem. Our partnership with NTAN will open doors to angel funding sources for entrepreneurs and offer leadership and operational support for the NTAN organization.”

Over its 10-year history, NTAN members have invested in excess of $10 million into startup organizations. Notable investments, totaling more than $1 million each from NTAN members, include Ikonopedia, Natural Dental Implants, Tella Firma, and Vital Arts & Science. In 2018, angel investments were made into Natural Dental Implants, Pheramor, Stocked Robotics, teleCalm, and TeVido, among others.

The collaboration is intended to include strategic, revenue, operational, and marketing elements to attract and introduce entrepreneurs and angel investors more efficiently and effectively. The organizations will continue to exist as separate entities and plan to commence the partnership on May 1, 2019.

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North Texas Angel Network Announces Portfolio Company Savara’s Transition to the Public Market

(DALLAS, TEXAS – May 3, 2017) – The North Texas Angel Network (NTAN) wishes to congratulate Savara Inc., a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company and one of NTAN’s largest life science portfolio companies on its trading debut on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol SVRA. Savara features three inhaled product candidates, each in advanced stages of clinical development.

“NTAN is proud to be playing a role in bringing new therapies to populations that have few or no good treatment options,” said Chuck McCoy, executive director for NTAN. “CEO Rob Neville was an experienced industry executive with a vision of how to combine existing knowledge and products in an innovative way to solve a real problem. During multiple rounds of funding Rob continuously impressed our investors with his ability to execute the plan. This deal has brought benefit to society and strong returns to investors.”

Eleven members of NTAN have invested $4.5 million into Savara during multiple funding rounds, first beginning in May 2012.

According to Chris Wilkes, an NTAN board member and CEO for Sigmetrix, “The NTAN business model gives clear and direct engagement between early-stage investors and high potential start-up entrepreneurs, such as Rob and his team with Savara. We are the place where real innovation gets the material investment needed to spread the benefits of new products to society at large. These investors coordinate among themselves to find, select, and fund the next generation great companies. Those new companies are the foundation of our country’s future and our members are honored to participate.”

Austin, Texas-based Savara began the development of AeroVanc in 2010 and is now in preparation for a Phase 3 study. In July 2016, Savara acquired Serendex Pharmaceuticals adding Molgradex to its pipeline. With the closing of its most recent merger, Savara adds Aironite to its pipeline. Savara intends to continue its growth strategy focused on indication expansion, strategic development partnerships, and product acquisitions.

“We are grateful for the support of NTAN and thank each member for believing in our company, team, and mission to help those who suffer from rare and debilitating lung diseases,” stated Rob Neville, chairman and CEO of Savara. “We believe Savara presents an attractive business opportunity with our pipeline of unique products that bring considerable market potential as well as significant value-driving clinical milestones.”

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Tella Firma Receives $1.5 Million in Funding from North Texas Angel Network: Investment Sets Record for NTAN

(November 3, 2015 – DALLAS) Tella Firma Foundations (tellafirma.com), a company that is revolutionizing new home foundations, announced today it received over $1.5 million in Angel funding led by the North Texas Angel Network (NTAN). In all, more than 25 experienced Angel investors participated in the round of funding. According to Chuck McCoy, Executive Director of NTAN, the investment is the largest for NTAN in terms of the dollar amount and the number of members who participated, actually oversubscribing the Series A offering.

“Tella Firma has the key ingredients we look for—an experienced management team, a real solution to a well-known problem, and intellectual property that protects the investment they must make to bring the product to a widespread market,” McCoy says.

The Tella Firma foundation product is proven and patented and until recently was utilized predominately in luxury and custom homes or commercial projects. The company offers a solution for homeowners worried about active soils and the increase in earthquakes in the North Texas area and what it may do to home foundations. Lennar Homes recently signed on as the first volume production builder to use Tella Firma throughout their Irving subdivision. The Tella Firma system has been used extensively in DFW as well as Austin and San Antonio with plans to expand outside of Texas.

“Tella Firma is one of those rare companies with a remarkably simple innovation that is in fact revolutionary,” says Dr. Woodrow Gandy, one of NTAN’s most active investors. “I love companies with a product that makes you say, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ Add top-notch management and you have a winner!”

By elevating a slab-on-grade foundation, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the home itself. This application isolates the slab and guards it from damaging soil swells, contractions and unexpected movement caused by light earthquakes. Most foundation damage results from soil movement that can be caused by expansion and contraction of clay soils due to moisture change or by seismic activity. A time-lapse video of how the system works can be found here: http://www.tellafirma.com/how-it-works/.

Tom Montgomery is an investor and Managing Partner of Montgomery Coscia Greilich
LLP. “I like this deal because of the experienced management who are creative at adapting to meet market demand,” he said. “In addition, it is a proven market with a unique solution and a defensible patent, which means as investors we have a great upside opportunity and also downside protection.”

In an interesting twist, Tella Firma CEO, Jim Fontaine, who is also an active Angel investor with NTAN, found himself on the other side of the table pitching investors.

“There is an advantage to knowing what Angel investors are looking for, but the fact is we have all of the right ingredients for success,” says Fontaine. “We have a very large market opportunity right here in Texas with a patented and proven product that we are already selling to top builders. Tella Firma foundations can be found in approximately 15–20 percent of the luxury and custom homes in DFW and we expect to do the same with volume production builders. In five years, we predict our product will be used in over 10,000 foundations a year.”

About Tella Firma:
The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for over 50 years. The system provides the strength and protection of a pier-and-beam foundation yet is much more affordable and takes less time to install when compared to most traditional, suspended foundations. Tella Firma foundations also utilize a green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the home.

Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin “strong home.” The company’s foundations have been tested in Dallas-Fort Worth and it plans to grow across new developments and custom homes throughout the area. For more information, go to tellafirma.com.

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Hanah Cho of Dallas Morning News interviews Jim Lafferty

Angel Capital Association says new SEC rules could hinder angel investment
By Hanah Cho
hcho@dallasnews.com
11:48 am on July 17, 2013

Last week, federal securities regulators lifted a ban on advertising by startups and companies seeking to raise capital, a decision hailed by supporters who believe the move will make it easier for entrepreneurs to find investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission approved the change that was part of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was passed by Congress in 2012.

The Angel Capital Association, a trade group that represents networks of angel investors, however, is raising concerns about the new rule’s impact.

SEC’s new rule says startups can advertise their investment opportunities as long as they take steps to verify the investors are accredited. Accredited investors are generally wealthy individuals, whose net worth generally exceeds $1 million or annual income exceeds $200,000 in each of the two most recent years.

SEC guidelines call for startups to review copies of an investor’s IRS forms for income verification or get written confirmation from a registered broker-dealer or investment advisor.

Those steps pose a problem because the new rule eliminates the ability of angel investors to self-certify their status, according to the ACA. As a result, many angel investors will stop investing, the group predicts.

Asking investors to provide personal financial information to a startup or entrepreneur is akin to a bank demanding to know your net worth before you could open a bank account, said Marianne Hudson, ACA’s executive director. It is also a violation of privacy, she said.

Dallas angel investor Jim Lafferty agreed.

“Today, every time any of us makes a private investment, we sign a document that indicates that we meet the SEC’s definition of an accredited investor,” said Lafferty, chairman of the board of the North Texas Angel Network, an ACA member. “We take on the liability associated with saying that we’re an accredited investor. If we’re not, it’s our problem, not the entrepreneur’s problem.”

Lafferty said angel investors would be weary to provide personal financial information to entrepreneurs.

“Angel investing is a private investment with a private company,” said Lafferty, who runs Lewisville-based Genesis BioSystems, a medical device manufacturer. “Investors will have concerns over privacy and disclosure and where the data goes. Will it end up in the hands of the IRS or the SEC? It will immediately have a major impact on private investment.”

The new rule becomes effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Separately, the SEC is still considering rules for so-called crowdfunding, which is intended to open up equity investment opportunities to the general public as part of the JOBS Act.

Source: www.fundable.com

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Member Larry Blackledge leads company to a $7MM round of strategic investment

LG Electronics Selects Active-Semi’s Power Technology Resulting in Strategic Investment

Power Application ControllerTM (PAC) Platform and Active Direct DriveTM LED Driver Semiconductor Solutions Provide Unprecedented Energy Savings and Cost Reductions

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Active-Semi www.active-semi.com, the leader in flexible, highly integrated semiconductor power management solutions, today announced that LG Electronics Inc. is the major new investor in a round of strategic funding that will accelerate the development of power semiconductor solutions ideally suited for LG Electronics’ diverse lines of industry-leading electronic products.

 “Active-Semi’s power solutions with firmware meet LG Electronics’ stringent next-generation electronic system space and cost requirements,” said Dr. Sam Ha, Head of Energy Components Business, LG Electronics. “Our investment and joint collaboration with Active-Semi will enable fast and broad implementation of this flexible power application controller platform that scales across numerous product lines such as our smart home appliances and air conditioning systems.”

 LG Electronics will initially target Active-Semi’s Power Application Controller (PAC)™ platform to enable rapid worldwide conversion to energy efficient home appliances, then expand to other applications that can leverage the benefits of the platform.

LG Electronics joined Active-Semi’s existing investors including U.S. Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and others in this $7 million round of financing.

“We are delighted about LG Electronics’ strategic investment in Active-Semi,” said Winston Fu, Chairman of Active-Semi and a general partner at U.S. Venture Partners. “We value them as a significant customer for Active-Semi’s technology and as a key member of the company’s investment team.”

 “LG Electronics is a long-time valued customer of our mobile charging solutions,” said Larry Blackledge, CEO, at Active-Semi. “This new investment further validates our approach to developing the world’s most energy efficient and flexible Power Application ControllerTM (PAC) platform. Active-Semi continues to sustain rapid acquisition of key customers who value the comprehensive power management functionality offered in our PAC platform as well as our LED lighting and mobile charging solutions, but at the lowest total cost of ownership.”

About Active-Semi www.active-semi.com

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Active-Semi is the leader in flexible, highly integrated semiconductor power management solutions for digital control of analog power. The company has shipped more than one billion modular power management ICs which energize today’s consumer electronics and industrial designs by simplifying design, boosting equipment performance and enabling intelligent battery charging. With analog and mixed-signal semiconductor experts located in ISO9001:2008 certified R&D centers and sales facilities in the United States, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

About LG Electronics Inc.

 LG Electronics, Inc. is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances. With 113 operations around the world, LG achieved global sales of KRW 51 trillion (USD 45 billion) in 2012. LG is comprised of four business units – Home Entertainment, Mobile Communications, Home Appliance, and Air Conditioning & Energy Solutions – and is one of the world’s leading producers of flat panel TVs, mobile devices, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators.

About U.S. Venture Partners

USVP is a leading venture capital partnership, helping entrepreneurs transform their ideas and efforts into world-changing companies. USVP focuses on early-stage ventures in information technology and health care.

Contact:

North America and Asia Media Contact
Kaye Public Relations
Lynda Kaye, 250-266-5293
lynda@kayepr.com
mobile: 650-799-2888
or
Europe Media Contact
Wired Island
Mike Sottak, +33 (0)6 0115 7068
mike@wiredislandpr.com

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Savara Pharmaceuticals uses CTAN & NTAN to set $16MM funding trend

 

This is the first of a two-part series on the evolution of angel investing. To read part two, click here.

Savara Pharmaceuticals needed several million dollars to take its inhalable drug for troublesome infections in cystic fibrosis patients through Phase 2 clinical trials. So CEO Rob Neville, naturally, began talking with venture capitalists. But in the end, he didn’t end up needing any of their money.

Over the course of about a year, Savara raised a $16 million Series B round – in two tranches – led by a quartet of angel groups from central Texas to southern California.

It’s a case study on the burgeoning influence of angel investing networks, which are moving across state lines and outside of their own networks to piece together bigger deals. They’re also enabling angel investors to move upstream and fill funding gaps opened by more risk-averse and tapped out life science venture funds.

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“(Our) story had resonated well with first groups that we raised money with, and we found that we had traction and momentum in the angel groups,” Neville said. “It wasn’t a decision from the outset to go one way or the other; that was just the path where we had the most success.”

Neville said he first recognized that the company had traction among angel groups when it raised a $1.4 million Series A round from members of the Central Texas Angel Network in 2009. Although he talked to venture capitalists when it came time for the Series B, he said his team also went through a disciplined approach of identifying angel groups, looking at which ones were active in the industry, and prioritizing them. Then he began presenting to groups – a process much more complex and tedious than it sounds.

“Once you’ve gotten through the screening, you get to present in one chapter. Then, if you get traction, you get to present to another chapter,” Neville said. “Then they do due diligence, which usually takes about two months. Then you go back to those same people and say, ’remember us?’ and present again.”

To get to the scale of a $16 million round, Neville said he talked to somewhere around 15 networks. In the end it worked out for Savara: About half of the 220 investors who joined the Series B were individuals outside of the life science industry who likely would not have looked at the deal if they weren’t connected to the network.

Angel groups are enabling networking on a larger scale, too. Sergio Gurrieri, who owns a life science business consulting firm and invests in startups through Tech Coast Angels, said the group reaches out to other networks when they feel they have a strong company on their hands. Tech Coast Angels joined investors from the Keiretsu Forum, Central Texas Angel Network and North Texas Angel Network in Savara’s Series B.

Neville had high praises for all of the investing groups he works with, but had one work of caution for entrepreneurs: “As much as this is a process that is footing the gap for the venture firms, this is by no means a simple process,” he said.

In fact, that commitment of time and effort is one thing that’s kept other life science startups from pursuing a similar path.

To get the investor perspective on the trend, click here.

[Photo credit: Flickr user AdamSelwood]
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NTAN Member, Larry Kanter featured in D Magazine

Photo of Larry Kanter

photography by Joshua Martin

Why You Need to Know Him:
Because Kanter is not your average numbers cruncher. He has expertise in accounting, law, and business operations, and uses their overlap— forensic accounting—to help settle complicated business disputes…

Read the full article in D Magazine.

 

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WFAA Profile on the North Texas Angel Network

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