Members of the largest multi-state network of angel investor groups in the country will gather in Minneapolis for the 6th Annual RAIN Makers Conference on September 23-24 at the new Hilton in Bloomington. Sponsored by St. Paul-based Rain Source Capital, this event has been held in other cities throughout the Upper Midwest in previous years. In addition to members of the RAIN funds network of angels, this is the first year that members of the Angel Capital Association are also being invited. RAIN Source Capital is partnering with the ACA, which is dubbing the event a regional meeting for their organization, to encourage networking and sharing of best practices in investing and syndication.
RAIN Source Capital anticipates more than 100 angel investors representing its 23 funds across six states will be in attendance, along with investors of other angel investment organizations. The company told me they expect a larger representation from the Twin Cities this year, of course, since the event is being held here. Any active or would-be angels (accredited investors) are welcome to register for the event, and RAIN said entrepreneurs may also register, although they will not be allowed to attend the second-day (Thursday) morning sessions.
Minnov8 is a media partner for the RAIN Makers Conference. Steve Borsch and myself will each be attending portions of the event, and we’ll have a table where we plan to do some audio and video interviews during breaks. (I’m returning from DEMOfall in San Diego late the night of the 23rd, and will attend RAIN Makers the morning of the 24th.)
The first day of the event will feature sessions devoted to trends in angel investing, due diligence tools and techniques, corporate governance/board service, valuation and deal terms, and patent landscaping, followed by a reception. One the second day, there will be a session in the morning devoted to four companies making presentations, chosen from among RAIN Source’s portfolio companies. The presenting firms have each received an investment from at least one RAIN fund (angel network), but are now being syndicated to the rest of the fund network for additional financing. Those companies are:
• Inovus Solar (Boise, ID) — This company has pioneered the next generation of outdoor street and area lighting that reduces dependence on the grid, power bills, maintenance bills, and CO2 pollutants. Its SmartPole™ and Visia™ LED retrofit product lines come from the minds of people who helped build companies like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft. and CH2M Hill.
• Ntractive (Grand Forks, ND) — Ntractive launched the latest release of its product, Elements CRM 2.0, on July 21st, 2009. The release of Elements CRM 2.0 has garnered significant attention and recognition from Apple and the Mac market, including the honor of being named an Apple “Staff Pick.” Elements CRM is a Customer Relationship Management solution built on a new “hybrid” platform, which is part desktop and part cloud. Elements CRM is currently available on the Mac and iPhone.
• Pranah Storage Technologies (Stillwater and Mendota Heights, MN) — Pranah designs and manufactures scale-out unified storage systems for the SMB market, in the under $50K market segment, the fastest growing part of the data storage industry. Its hardware and software systems are purpose-built for data storage, designed and built domestically, delivering simple, scalable, and flexible network storage. The efficient design behind the Pranah product makes it the most complete network storage system available in a 1U footprint.
• Recon Robotics (Edina, MN) — The company launched the Recon Scout® throwable reconnaissance robot in the local, county, and state police/SWAT market. Building on that successful start, it continues to design, develop, manufacture, distribute, and support miniature robotic systems. The company’s robots are specifically designed to provide real-time information in hazardous or restricted space areas, for military, police, and commercial markets worldwide. It has now sold more than 500 of its Recon Scout family of robots, has recently won a large military order, and has distributors in 28 countries.
After these companies present, in what’s being called a “Syndication Showcase,” attendees will divide into four breakout groups to discuss due diligence and investment recommendations relating to each of those firms. The afternoon of day two will feature panels focusing on the topic of exits, including M&A, the current market, and analysis of some of the RAIN Funds network syndicated investments and their exit potential.
Cosponsors for this year’s RAIN Makers Conference include the Blandin Foundation, Cimarron Capital Partners, Development Capital Networks, MN Deptartment of Employment & Economic Development, Oak Ridge Financial, Deloitte, Sage Group, ESD Group, Quazar Capital, Ethicon/J&J, Gray Plant Mooty, Granite Equity, Sofia Angel Fund, and South Metro Investors.
More About RAIN Source Capital
RAIN Source is a multi-state network of investment funds that are made up of angel investors who are interested in supporting growing companies. The company helps bring together like-minded angel investors to form individual RAIN funds, and then provides these funds with a process for due diligence, legal templates, management support, access to deal flow, and other resources. RAIN funds share expertise, deals, and experience between and among RAIN Source Capital’s multi-state network to support growing companies throughout the area. RAIN Source Capital works with angel investors in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and other areas, where it expects to form additional RAIN funds in the next year. There are currently 23 RAIN funds located in:
• Minnesota – based in Alexandria, Grand Rapids, Worthington, Willmar, Montevideo, St. Cloud, Mankato, Northfield, and Minneapolis.
• Iowa – based in Cedar Falls, Mason City, and Rock Rapids.
• North Dakota – based in Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismark.
• South Dakota – based in Sioux Falls, Brookings, and Sisseton.
• Idaho – based in Boise.
• Montana – based in Kalispell.
RAIN funds range in size from seven to 61 members, who have pooled anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million in each fund. Each fund determines what industry(ies) it will focus on, and the type and level of financing to provide, based on the interests and expertise of its members. Each group or fund uses the proven RAIN fund model, with support from RAIN Source Capital’s headquarters staff, for identifying potential deals, performing due diligence, making investment decisions, and monitoring those investments. The RAIN fund network currently has more than $33 million invested in 55 companies.
To register for the upcoming event, go to the RAIN Makers Conference page. Or, for more information, please call Dawn Lundquist at RAIN Source Capital at 651-632-2140, or email her at dlundquist (at) rainsourcecapital (dot) com.