Do you have a promising early-stage business, but can't seem to get the attention of a venture capital firm?
You're not alone...
In Indiana, Ohio, and the surrounding region, there is a significant gap between the number of early-stage companies seeking venture capital and the amount of venture capital targeting such investments. Angel investor (high net worth individuals) activity and state-based support for start-up companies have been accelerating — driving the creation of more businesses seeking venture capital. At the same time, several of the early-stage venture firms that historically served this region, particularly those investing outside of the life sciences, are no longer making new investments. Others have shifted to later-stage (i.e. already profitable) companies. And, firms based on the coasts are hesitant to invest in "flyover" land, or at the very least like to have a local lead. All of these trends have made it hard for entrepreneurs to continue the momentum started with the help of their friends, family members, and angel investors.
We formed Allos in early 2010 to help fill this gap. We only invest in early-stage companies, augmenting the capital provided by angel investors who have helped the companies reach a stage at which they are ready for their first institutional financing round. While Allos may be relatively new, we are leveraging the investment experience and business-building skills and resources developed over the past 15+ years by our principals — Don Aquilano and John McIlwraith. Additionally, many of our investors are successful technology company entrepreneurs, allowing us to tap into an even broader experience base of business-building expertise.
We all share a common view of the benefits of a “hands-on” approach to venture capital investing — benefits both to our partner companies and our investors. This vision drives everything we do — from the number of investments we'll make (a select group of about 10 companies in the current fund), to the geography we cover (places we can drive to in 4-5 hours), to the industries we'll invest in (only things we know well - B2B software and business services).
Things we strive to do
- Lead your syndicate — too many venture firms like to wait for the round to come together, rather than commit to help you make it come together; we'll develop a mutually-agreeable term sheet with you and work to build the best investor syndicate for your company
- Stick to our knitting — just like we stress to our entrepreneur partners, we focus on what we know best: early-stage companies in industries where our investment professionals have operating and/or investing experience
- Be responsive — including getting back to you within two days of an initial meeting with our decision and next steps
- Add value as a hands-on partner in growing your business — we're experienced early-stage investors who can contribute meaningfully to the success of your business in areas such as board and management recruiting, fundraising, and strategic and exit planning
- Stay out of your way while you run your company — while we have operating backgrounds and will seek to add value where we can, we only back entrepreneurial teams we believe can build their businesses, and don't invest with the intention of replacing the team
Things we won't do
- Phone in to your board meetings (and listen only part of the time), or show up late, leave early, and play with our iPhones in between — we actually enjoy spending time helping our partner companies, and we'll do it in person (even between board meetings, if you invite us)
- Sit on dozens of company boards, and ask you to remind us at every board meeting what your company does — we are going to invest in a select group of companies, so we will have time to properly engage and learn about your business
- Make you run a gauntlet through an inexperienced associate — a partner will be engaged with you from early in the process, and all three of us are engaged to some extent with each company through the due diligence process; this means fewer repetitive presentations and faster decision making (plus, we don't even have an associate)
- Treat a term sheet as a starting point for further negotiation — we don't deliver term sheets until the majority of our due diligence is complete, so while a subsequent find could stop us from ultimately investing, we don't use the due diligence process as leverage for better terms after locking you in early in the process