RadioBDC Logo
| Listen Live
Text size +

Amping Up the Local Angel Investing Scene

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 2, 2009 10:14 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

We could use a population explosion around these parts -- of angel investors.

While Boston is home to some great angel groups like CommonAngels and Launch Pad Venture Group, we're definitely at a deep angel deficit compared to our country's other innovation region. But I'm encouraged by some new data points I've been hearing about...

Angels typically invest in a fledgling company well before the product or technology has been "fully baked" or the first customer order signed -- there may just be one or two employees. And "angel money is often the least restrictive, least dilutive kind of financing available to an entrepreneur," says Lawrence Gennari, a partner at Choate Hall & Stewart in Boston. One of Gennari's goals is to "create and discover more angels."

To that end, Gennari has been running a super-secret dinner series this summer, bringing together angels with company founders. "There's no agenda," he says. "We just talk about what we're seeing." The investors who attend, Gennari says, "don't want to join a group [of angel investors], and they don't want to be listed on a Web site. Their view is, just show me something that's interesting."

I asked whether the monthly dinners, usually held out in the western 'burbs, have produced any investment success stories yet. "It's too early to say there are deals done, but some are in process," Gennari says. "But we're not sitting at the table cutting term sheets at the dinners themselves."

Gennari also runs an annual angel investing conference at UMass Boston (here's a PDF of last year's agenda); the 2009 date isn't yet set.

One other encouraging data point is Golden Seeds, an angel group that funds start-ups founded by women. It first put down roots in Boston three years ago, and the inaugural pair of angel investors were Jill Preotle (an investor in ZipCar and Dancing Deer Bakery) and Jean Hammond (JAM Technologies and iTeam, among others). They've now grown to 19 members in Boston, and the group actively encourages others to explore the world of angel investing. Their September meeting takes place on the 17th; it's by invite only.

Is there any other new angel activity you've been hearing about, in Boston or elsewhere in New England? Post a comment if you would...

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

9 comments so far...
  1. If you are an accredited investor and interested in the Golden Seeds mission of funding and promoting start-ups founded by women, we'd like to invite you to attend one of our forum meetings to see what we are all about. Anyone interested should contact me at

    Anita Brearton
    Golden Seeds

    Posted by Anita Brearton September 2, 09 05:25 PM
  1. It would be nice to locate a forum where those having ideas can get some help, expose those ideas to potentially interested parties/investors. I'm sure there are many pre-seed and seed stage entrepreneurs who dont fit into the mold.. but with some backing..

    I use, for example, ME!
    As one example of several I could share, I have acquired over the years dozens of quality "New England" domains at, names that represent nearly every aspect of our life & economy here in New England, a region I might add, that has about 30 times the population of "Boston"... I would love to get some help in turning these sites into a regional portal. Then we can stop hearing about the demise of media in our area.

    A few dozen others at

    I'd be ashamed at the self promotion, but isn't the premise of the article basically about helping connect investors to the ideas? And visa versa..

    Posted by Robert Fontaine September 2, 09 05:37 PM
  1. This is great information and I would LOVE to find out more about this. As an entrepreneur with a live business concern (a web design/development company) and a startup we're incubating out of this existing business, Angel money is a very attractive consideration for us. As noted, the number of Angel groups in the area is truly impressive but finding a less formal venue while still attracting numbers of Angels is always a challenge.

    Posted by Bill Shander September 2, 09 07:39 PM
  1. Check out MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge ( for startup events. Also check out for other start up and other business related events in Boston.

    Posted by JB September 2, 09 09:38 PM
  1. Like the rest of the economy, angel groups have contracted somewhat, but are very much alive, and New England enjoys a vibrant constellation of them. Besides the above mentioned, Beacon Angels meets here in Boston. Walnut and Boston Harbor meet at Babson College in Wellesley. Hub, founded in 2000, meets in Cambridge (I think). To the west, we have Boynton in Worcester and River Valley in Springfield. To our north are Granite State in Hanover and Ecoast in Portsmouth, NH, as well as Maine Angels. In Rhode Island are Cherrystone.

    -Bill Swiggart, Manager, Beacon Angels, LLC

    Posted by William F. Swiggart September 3, 09 09:44 AM
  1. Thanks for highlighting Golden Seeds, Scott. Jill Preotle and Jean Hammond are wonderful investors who really work hard for their companies, including mine! I think the world of their business savvy and deep, deep investor experience.

    Good pickup in talking to Larry Gennari too...he has a terrific reputation in town...his name keeps coming up in my travels and people have nothing but good things to say about his contributions to the entrepreneurial community.

    Posted by Jules Pieri September 3, 09 08:50 PM
  1. To: Oversights and Omissions Department:
    MA Medical Angels ["MA2"] was founded in the depths of recession, the end of last year, to focus exclusively on life science opportunities, our state's premier natural resource. We hold a "floating meeting" approximately once a month at one of the various premier research institutions around the city. MA2 just led a $2.2M financing of Daktari Inc, a point of care device for determining white blood cell count in global health settings. Investor interest has been very high as we benefit from a combination of locally produced intellectual property with a concentration of entrepreneurial talent. Over 150 individuals have attended our meetings to date. We rush in where conventional VCs fear to tread into the pre-clinical valley of death.

    Posted by Carl Berke September 8, 09 08:15 AM
  1. Agreed. MA2 is experiencing a wonderful ground swell and putting to work the tremendous collective wisdom in the health sciences arena that Greater Boston has to offer. We're excited about Daktari and there are more great companies in the line-up.

    And, as a new Golden Seeds member, I am already benefitting from the wisdom of Jean, Jill and the team. Thanks for mentioning them in the above post, Jules.

    Posted by Karen Katz September 8, 09 11:03 AM
  1. Scott - in addition to angels, who play a very important part in funding seed and pre-seed stage companies, we also have some "institutional" seed investors as well here in the greater Boston area. Groups like Launch Capital, Founders Collective, et al are institutional (i.e. full-time professionally managed firms investing on behalf of limited partners) but invest small amounts rather early on in a company's development.


    Posted by Lee Hower September 16, 09 05:40 PM


BetaBoston technology news logo
Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

On Facebook

Subscribe via e-mail

Get Innovation Economy updates via e-mail. Enter your address and click 'Subscribe':

More from Scott


March 3: Web Innovators Group
Demos, drinks, and schmoozing at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.

March 7-8: MassDigi Game Challenge
Competition for aspiring game developers... plus panels and keynotes related to the business of play.

April 3-4: Mass Biotech Annual Meeting
Issues facing the region's life sciences community.