Commune Angels, the first Michigan-based angel community focused on regional and national deal flow and increasing diversity amongst angel investors, launched today. They look to invest in scalable consumer, enterprise, and life science companies led by founders from all backgrounds, identities, and walks of life.
According to the 2017 American Angel Report, only 6% of angel investors in the U.S. were Asian, 2% Hispanic, and 1% Black. Only 22% of angel investors were women. Expanding the pool of angel investors and reach of investment dollars are critical ingredients for startups. According to a study conducted by William Kerr and Josh Lerner of Harvard and Antoinette Schoar of MIT, startups receiving angel investment were 20-25% more likely to survive after four years and 16-19% more likely to have growth to 75 employees.
“One of our goals is to increase awareness of angel investing as an asset class, especially among autonomous investors,” said Terrence Reeves, co-founder of Commune Angels. “We know there are a large number of accredited investors who are unaware of the portfolio diversity and benefits that angel groups offer. We’re tackling the important task of introducing investors to a broader range of companies that will transform the world we live in and a community of peers that will help them evaluate those companies.”
Through continuous learning opportunities for new and experienced investors, Commune Angels aims to deliver better outcomes for investors, portfolio companies and their customers. “Research has confirmed time and again that diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams,” said Marlo Rencher, co-founder of Commune Angels, citing a research study out of McKinsey & Company. “We know that D&I is a competitive advantage in business and believe investors should leverage D&I when investing and adding value to early stage companies. Diversity is both a good strategy for making investment decisions and when seeking higher financial returns.”
“We are a community of investors united by our common interest in high-growth ventures and strengthened by our diverse experiences,” said Jeff Ponders II, co-founder of Commune Angels. “Membership is open to individuals and organizations that want to support the next generation of radical innovators. We offer unique access to nationwide deal flow, hands-on participation in the angel investment process, and an exciting opportunity to build a more inclusive angel community.”
The group fosters unique partnerships to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem, open access to nationwide deal flow, and increase exposure to angel investing. At launch, Commune Angels has deal flow partners such as Lightship Capital, Invest Detroit Ventures, IrishAngels, Angeles Investors, the Michigan Angel Community, and Black Angels Miami. Commune Angels will facilitate continuing learning opportunities in partnership with TechTown Detroit, Ann Arbor SPARK, and the Angel Capital Association.
Commune Angels is founded by an experienced team with deep expertise in entrepreneurship, investing, and venture capital. With a focus on deal flow and relevant industry experience, the founding team consists of Dr. Dawn Batts, Detroit-based business and investment executive; Terrence J.L. Reeves, partner and venture capital attorney at Frost Brown Todd; Jeff Ponders II, marketing executive and serial entrepreneur; Dr. Marlo Rencher, director of technology-based programs at TechTown Detroit; and Darren R. Riley, manager of entrepreneur selection and growth at Endeavor Detroit. Commune Angels has assembled an advisor team of angel and venture capital professionals from around the country.
Commune Angels will welcome the organization’s charter members at an inaugural meeting on September 15, 2020. Prospective members should visit communeangels.com to learn more.