I wanted to announce a new era for Country Roads Angel Network (CRAN), the first West Virginia accredited Angel Investment Network. We are moving to become a standalone angel investing group!
In 2019, Bill Massey, and I, and some others, saw a need for angel funding to support West Virginia entrepreneurs. With the support of the Massey Family Foundation and One Foundation, and working with New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA), a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant was secured to accelerate CRAN’s development.
We used this financial support to grow CRAN to 32 accredited investors and, thus far, have made direct investments totaling $1,089,250, with nearly $8 million raised in additional capital, to five Mountain State companies: Iconic Air, Parthian Battery Solutions LLC, Endolumik, Inc., Cox Telecom, and Mountain Steer Meat Company. Investments in additional ventures are pending.
Among the goals set forth in the original EDA grant were for CRAN to be able stand on its own at the end of the 3-year grant period. That time is up, and we now are ready to take the next step in our growth. NRGRDA has wound down its services and the CRAN board has implemented a transition plan that will culminate with the hiring of talent to provide the services that we need. As the saying goes, “Many hands make for light work”. The board would welcome help from any member that may be interested in assisting with the transition. Please contact Marc Halbritter at [email protected] or 804.840.3700 and he will work with the board to find a role for you.
Under dedicated leadership, the expectation is that we will grow our actively investing membership base; develop closer relations with those who develop West Virginia’s entrepreneurs; and materially increase the number of West Virginia ventures supported by CRAN. We are fortunate to have the unwavering, on-going support of Bill Massey and the Massey Family Foundation. In addition, we have identified several other foundations and organizations we can partner with to grow CRAN into a recognized leader in angel investing across the entire state of West Virginia. This includes the Benedum Foundation, One Foundation, WVJIT, Vantage Ventures, Intermed, Purple Tiger, Venture South and Advantage Valley.
We are grateful for the contributions made by NRGRDA to get CRAN to this point. As we broaden our horizons, we will continue to invest in southern West Virginia entrepreneurs, especially those brought forward by WV Hive, and we will look to other economic development groups throughout the state to bring forth entrepreneurs with bold ideas that CRAN can support and mentor.
Thanks for your continued commitment to CRAN in these exciting times.