The Rio Grande Valley Angel Network

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The Rio Grande Valley Angel Network (RGVAN) is an organization that provides a platform for entrepreneurs to access funding, with a scalable gain on business profits for its Angel Investors.

“It’s comparable to [the show] Shark Tank,” RGVA board chairman John Martin said.

Martin shared how different entrepreneurs come and pitch their business idea to angel investors with hopes of getting the funds they need for their businesses to take off and produce successful revenue.

“Generally, we invest in smaller amounts [compared to Shark Tank]. And we do it as a group,” Martin said. Angel investors are not competing with one another for who will get the whole investment.

Angel investment groups are made up of individuals, sometimes business owners themselves, who can provide financial backing and resources for small startups and entrepreneurs. The angel investors will sometimes exchange funding for equity in the company. Investors can be one-time investors or can be ongoing to help support and carry the company through the early stages of launching a business.

Ideally, a new company would need funding from investors only once. However, the RGVAN permits entrepreneurs to return as many times as needed to provide updates on their business, express needs for the company, and pitch new ideas to angel investors in hopes of more funding.

“We’ve actually had one local company come back to us three times. [They did pitches to] show us their growth and what a great thing they [were] doing and how their sales [were], and we [said], ‘Oh, ok. Well, let’s do this again,’” Martin said.

Last fall, two businessmen came to RGVAN, and Martin described their venture as one of the unique startups he had invested in. One of the men had recently sold his truck equipment manufacturing company, and the other had worked for SpaceX and Tesla.

“When a semi-truck goes down the highway, it’s all connected together. When that semi-truck gets in trouble for one reason or another and starts to tip over and crash, the whole thing goes over. You lose,” Martin explained that the entrepreneurs developed a device that goes between the tractor trailer hook up and the trailer. Once the device senses that the truck will flip, the trailer will disconnect.

“So you save a $200,000 tractor and the driver, and you only lose the trailer,” Martin said.

The businessmen had just launched their business venture and had their idea patented.

“They had a great business plan. They had a great idea. They just didn’t have anything else,” Martin said.

The men had gone to multiple angel investment groups attempting to raise $2 million for their company and gained $100,000 from the RGVAN.

Investors have the freedom to pitch their idea to multiple angel investment networks. Angel investment groups exist all over the country. However, the procedure of investment looks different from group to group. RGVAN investors have the freedom to decide if they’re in or out and exactly how much they are willing to put in.

Other angel investment groups may force investors to come to a decision together, which can sometimes mean the entrepreneur in need misses out.

“Our real mission is to try to get manufacturing and technology companies and startups in the Rio Grande Valley. That’s our number one,” Martin said. He added that he is especially passionate about children and adults having the opportunity to learn the importance of starting their own businesses.

The investors within RGVAN cherish the community of the Rio Grande Valley and hope to see it flourish economically. More information about becoming an investor or pitching a business idea can be found on their website at https://www.rgvan.org/ or by calling (956)-357-0167.

Jillian Cameron