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Ann Arbor Spark

April 23, 2018

2017 Michigan Angel Activity Executive Summary

Angel investment data is hard to gather. Nationally, regionally, or in-state — it’s just plain hard to get. There is a lengthy list of reasons, all understandable, but it’s important data to try and document. It’s important our policymakers understand the significant role high net worth individuals play in our economy. Small businesses are the job creators. Small businesses struggle to get capital to grow which is the role angels play. Within reason, it is appropriate for a community to encourage this risk capital. Michigan has a great eco-system of support for entrepreneurs. We need to create an equally robust investment community for them if we want to be competitive with other regions of the country and nations for that matter.

Collecting this data also helps promote the area to entrepreneurs inside and outside the state. It also encourages capital from outside the state, particularly VCs, to know we support our own and are determined to grow successful companies here.

To that end, we embarked on an aggressive effort to collect as much data as we could on angel investment in Michigan in 2017. We started by doing what everyone else does which is survey angels we know. But then we took a different tack. SPARK, through our many programs including our own angel group, has information on a large percentage of tech companies in the state and we surveyed them, too. Thanks to SBDC for augmenting our list of companies. Also, thanks to the angel group leads who made us aware of their group’s activities last year.

We didn’t know what to expect but pleased with the degree of cooperation and participation we received. We were surprised by the number of angels we could identify as active. Nearly 800 individuals/households made an investment in a startup or early-stage tech company last year. Seventy companies received funding. We now have 11 angel groups in the state.

Here are some more highlights.

  • Total angel dollars invested last year – $41.86 million
  • Total fund raised by these angel-backed companies – $106 million
  • Number of employees at these 70 companies – 507

Please note: The companies and angel investment we gathered was for science and technology companies, not retail or consumer goods.

Check out the full report here. In future years we will continue to collect data and tell the story so we can entice more and more Michiganders to consider investing in our startup, tech economy.