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Plains Angels Members Invest Nearly $2.5 Million in Startup Companies in 2014

March 18, 2015

Plains Angels announced today that its members invested a total of $2,425,000 in seven startup companies in 2014. The companies were Naiku, Iowa Approach, Igor, Pear Deck, ClusterFlunk, Men’s Style Lab and Peppermint Energy. Investment totals for 2014 were higher than any other year since Plains Angels was founded in 2012.

“This substantial improvement in investments solidifies Plains Angels as a long-term entity. This is a sign of maturity in the investor scene in our region,” said Tej Dhawan, co-leader of the initiative. “Plains Angels has established itself as a connection point for investors to discover startups companies in Greater Des Moines and the entire state of Iowa.”

Local venture capital firms Next Level Ventures and CMA Ventures benefited from the ability to discover area startup companies that could benefit from investment and not only made initial investments in many of the companies, but also made add-on investments after the initial investment.

“Next Level Ventures is happy to be an active participant in Plains Angels. We find it extremely beneficial in keeping our fingers on the pulse of what is happening in early stage investing in Iowa,” said Craig Ibsen, Managing Principal of Next Level Ventures. “We look at Plains Angels as a forum to both source exciting investment opportunities and network with active investors in the state.”

“CMA Ventures finds it valuable to have partners like Plains Angels. Plains Angels brings potential deals to the forefront and helps local startup companies foster and grow,” said Terry Sullivan, Vice President Chief Financial Officer of Central Iowa Power Cooperative, which owns CMA Ventures. “Plains Angels is another great piece of the puzzle in building up the entrepreneurial scene in Iowa. We are proud to be a partner with Plains Angels and a part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

In addition to the high level of investment dollars, 2014 was a big year for Plains Angels in two ways. First, Plains Angels launched a second group in Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, which is led by Eric Engleman, CEO of Geonetric and the founder of the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

Second, Plains Angels received accreditation as an Established Angel Group (EAG) from the Angel Capital Association. An angel group with an EAG designation indicates to entrepreneur issuers, their legal counsel and others that reasonable steps have been taken to verify that the group’s member investors are accredited investors. Benefits of EAG certification include:

Instant accreditation proof: EAG certification removes the burden of angel investors having to provide documentation of their wealth or income to issuers and other third parties for deals and add-on investment to funds.

No financial documents required: Because EAG certification addresses SEC rules for “reasonable steps to verify” accredited investor status in generally solicited offerings, 506(c) deals, angel groups are provided a reasonable, private, and approved way for angel investors to self-certify.

Less burden for entrepreneurs: The legal paperwork related to verification proof for 506(c) entrepreneurs is significantly reduced, making the deal process faster and easier.

For more information on EAG certification, go to angelcapitalassociation.org/eag.

“The advancement of Plains Angels in 2014 is another step toward strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Central Iowa and the entire state,” said Mike Colwell, Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives at the Greater Des Moines Partnership and co-leader of Plains Angels. “To continue to build this ecosystem, we need more entrepreneurs to apply to pitch to the Plains Angels investors. This is a great opportunity to show potential investors what your startup company has to offer.”

Plains Angels members often work as a team and are involved with regional partners in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Missouri. Plains Angels is an angel investor forum. Its mission is to provide high return investment opportunities for investors in early-stage companies positioned for rapid growth. Plains Angels was started in 2012 and is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

For more information about Plains Angels, go to plainsangels.com. Media inquiries should be directed to Mike Colwell at (515) 402-0791 or mcolwell@DSMpartnership.com.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,100 Regional Business Members and more than 330 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.