ACA Midwest Regional Event Leads to $470,000 in Funding of Nine Companies


By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

One of the best things about some ACA regional events is the opportunity for members to not only focus on learning, but also to participate in collaborative investing.  ACA members joined together in Des Moines, IA in September for the 2018 ACA Midwest Regional: Best of the Midwest with over 140 attendees.  Hosted by Plains Angels, angels from across the Midwest came to learn about latest industry trends, build relationships, minimize geographical barriers and partake in syndication opportunities. 

Multiple companies were selected for company presentations for investors attending the event to learn about onsite funding opportunities for Midwest startup s with high growth potential, and nine innovative companies were selected to be funded by the Best of the Midwest DSM, LLC, a special purpose entity formed by BrownWinick on a pro-bono basis. Think of it as an “event fund.” The companies included MakuSafe (Iowa), Pitchly (Iowa), Alchemie (Michigan), SpellBound (Michigan), Metametrix (Minnesota), Thrivors (Minnesota), Fourstarrz (Nebraska), Recoup (Colorado) and Sense Diagnostics (Ohio).

The event was an overwhelming success.  The total amount raised by investors for 2018 more than tripled from the event in 2017 with $470,000.  Each of the nine companies received an investment of more than $50,000 through the fund.   Iowa investors supplied over 70 perfect of the funding.  This is the second event fund the Midwest has created to invest in companies that pitch at the Best of the Midwest event, which is an innovative way for angels across the region to invest in the selected companies.

The key advantage of the fund for angel investors is that they can invest a small amount of money – the minimum investment was $5,000 - that gets diversified into multiple companies that made great pitches.  This allows angels to spread their investments out to different companies that spark the angel’s interest. 

Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives at the Greater Des Moines Partnership and also Plains Angels, Mike Colwell, was very pleased with the outcome, “The results of the 2018 Best of the Midwest regional meeting in Greater Des Moines perfectly illustrates the strength of our region’s startup ecosystem.  Iowa investors stepped up and made a statement that promising startups can obtain funding here.”  

Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director, adds, “We are extremely pleased with the showing in the DSM fund.  This was a positive experience for all of the investors and startups involved and it continues to build the Midwest’s reputation as a strong region for entrepreneurial activity.”

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