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Michiganders launch angel investing group to create equity

Posted at 11:23 PM, Sep 07, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A group of Michiganders is hoping to connect start ups and investors across the state with their new angel investment group.

“We’re just trying to bridge that gap between capital and the ideas from diverse experiences,” said Darren Riley, co-founder of Commune Angels. “Let’s say we find five really great ideas that the investors would be attracted to ... We have monthly meetings where we bring those ideas and entrepreneurs to present to a group. The group, with their own capital, makes that decision if they want to invest.”

Their goal is to increase diversity in investing.

A 2017 report found just nine percent of investors were Black, Asian, or Hispanic, and only 22 percent were females.

Commune Angels is targeting 50 members by the end of 2021 and looking to invest in up to 10 start ups.

“You see more Black and brown investors, you see more Black and brown, women, LGBTQ, etc. --you name it -- entrepreneurs,” said Riley. “The next generation that comes before them, they’re encouraged, because they see those examples.”

Riley is hopeful the group will create equitable opportunities at a time when it’s needed, citing a 2010 study that found angel investment groups increased a start ups likely hood to survive four years later and improved its growth.

“If you truly believe that diversity creates innovation and we invest in diversity from a thought perspective, from a skin, creed, etc., perspective, then we will have great returns,” said Riley. “The greater the value, the greater returns, the bigger the business, the more jobs for our economy.”

To apply, click here.