North Bay Angels links entrepreneurs, investors
North Bay Angels, a classic angel group based in Sonoma County, brings together accredited investors and startup companies desperately seeking capital.
Che Voigt, a mechanical engineer who specialized in linkages in aerospace applications, serves as board chair of the North Bay Angels, and has been on the board for about seven years. He is CEO of a Sonoma County-based company called SV Tool that started about four years ago, making furniture for high-intensity computer users.
After the angel group sets up the presentations to investors, "we make no recommendations and no financial decisions for our members," Mr. Voigt said. "All those decisions are made on their own."
The program selection committee of the North Bay Angels analyzes each presenting startup. "It is charged with trying to bring good investment opportunities in front of our membership," he said.
The group has about six business meetings a year where companies present to members.
"It has to be closed-door," Mr. Voigt said of the meetings, because SEC rules prohibit such presentations for non-accredited investors -- individuals who have less than $200,000 a year income, or couples who have less than $300,000 income, or those who have less than $1 million in investment assets apart from their homes.
"Some people are high income," but haven't accumulated much wealth, according to Mr. Voigt. "They're still considered sophisticated investors," according to the SEC. "Other people may have a very low income, but a high net worth," also acceptable to the SEC.
"It's a long-term investment strategy," Mr. Voigt said. "It takes a long time," sometimes 10 years or more before an investor sees positive results, if ever.
"I have made several investments I am quite happy with," he said, but declined to pick a favorite. "I don't wish to pick among my children. I think that would be inappropriate. I'm happiest with the organizations that are still in business and growing, and where, both in investing and mentoring, I have been able to have a significant impact."
He sees his role as "giving back to the entrepreneurial community, and trying to help the North Bay."