WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest University Health Sciences is making a $100,000 investment in the Piedmont Angel Network (PAN), a community-minded, member- managed investment fund that focuses its resources on local startup and early stage companies.
"We feel it is important for Wake Forest University Health Sciences to invest in this fund because it will aid promising local companies as they attempt to get going," said Richard Dean, M.D., president and CEO.
"Investment in this fund is tangible evidence of our continued commitment to the community and also to new companies that might grow to the point of contributing significantly to the Piedmont Triad Research Park," Dean said.
The Piedmont Angel Network currently has $3.8 million of committed capital.
John McKinnon, one of the network''s founding members and the former dean of Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest, said, “PAN is excited about the investment from Wake Forest University Health Sciences. Since we expect to see continued investment opportunities in the life sciences arena, WFU Health Sciences can be a valuable asset in our evaluation process.”
Health Sciences becomes the first university to invest in the network, according to Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, manager of the fund. She said PAN now has 68 investor members, mostly individuals, but including eight "entities," ranging from family trusts to corporations.
She stressed that the Piedmont Angel Network is carefully investing in only those companies that survive a rigorous screening process.
So far, the network has invested in Kucera Pharmaceutical Co., a Wake Forest spin-off, and in Batanga.com, a Greensboro Hispanic Internet broadcaster. Flanders-Stec said that typically the network''s screening committee reviews at least four companies each month, picking one or two to present to the members. The members will then vote whether or not to begin a step called "due diligence" on a company. Based on the outcome of the due diligence, a recommendation is made to the member investors and the members make the final decision.
The network was formed in December, 2001 as a joint project of the Piedmont Entrepreneurs Network and the Small Business Development and Technology Center and includes investors from throughout the Piedmont Triad including Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and the surrounding communities.
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