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|Articles - February 2011|
|Thursday, January 27, 2011|
Page 3 of 7
Donna Blake retired from the corporate world in 1996 and switched to investing in the stock market. It was a new challenge, but she missed her work: “The planning, the excitement, the strategy sessions, the marketing campaigns. I missed it all.”
She heard about the Oregon Angel Fund from a friend and signed up immediately after sitting in on a meeting. She enjoyed the collective approach and the fun atmosphere, but the real attraction for her was the work. “What’s exciting to me is learning about all of these business ideas,” she says. “It’s such a wealth of exposure to so many industries. We’re vetting businesses starting with concepts I never would have thought existed.”
With a background in sales and marketing, Blake stayed away from leading due diligence into the high-growth technology companies seeking funding. But she is also an avid pilot who earned her license in her 20s, so when Seaport Airlines came before the group, “My hand shot up and I said, ‘I want to lead this team.’”
The group ended up investing $400,000 in Seaport in 2009 following a thumbs-up recommendation from Blake and her team. Blake also moved outside of the fund to invest as an individual. The company struggled finding business commuters during the recession but found its way to profitability by smartly tapping into the market for essential air services for rural towns. Since expanding its business plan with encouragement from angel investors, Seaport has expanded to 120 scheduled flights a day in seven states, soon to be eight. Blake has been deeply involved with the expansion as a board member, flying to Memphis to help close the deal to move into the Tennessee market.
Blake has personally invested in other companies vetted by the angel fund, including the vacation rental business Second Porch; the e-commerce business The Clymb; and Celilo Group Media, the publisher of the popular Chinook Book. She also plans to bring three friends into the fund this year as new investors. “It’s a great diversification tool, and it’s fun,” she says.
Nick Wade agrees. He joined the Oregon angels last spring. After being introduced to Rosenfeld through mutual friends, he sat in on a meeting and immediately saw the potential. “I walked up to Eric afterwards and said, ‘I’m in,’” he says. “It was the vitality of the group that sold me.”
Wade, a former researcher at Intel with a lifelong interest in investing, appreciated the group’s methodical yet aggressive team approach. “It’s a risk investment,” he says. “But the thought and consideration that goes into each investment is prudent and thorough… And it will lead naturally to a more diversified Oregon economy.”
It already has. Among the companies within the OAF portfolio are the latest Oregon medical devices firm to gain FDA approval (Bend-based Clear Catheter Systems), the fastest-growing private telecommunications business in the nation (Vancouver-based Clear Access) and an emerging player in the wide-open wave energy industry (Corvallis-based Columbia Power Technologies).
Those are exactly the sorts of companies that could help improve Oregon’s lagging per capita income if they catch on and grow. And they all benefited from investors who might not have heard about them had it not been for the Oregon Angel Fund. “No way would I have considered investing in small companies in Oregon without this structure set up,” says Sandler, the former Novas CEO.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
The technology at the center of Oregon’s road usage fee reform.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
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