The Mid-America Angels Network set a record-breaking year for investing in 2016. According to Startland News, the Kansas City-based network injected $3.6 million of capital into 15 startups in 2016, which topped its total for 2015 of $2.8 million in nine investment deals.
There are a number of reasons for the boost in investments. According to the Kansas City Business Journal, the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Kansas City has changed significantly in the last three years. The recent emergence of startup accelerators like Digital Sandbox KC around the city have increased the number of viable early-stage companies that are ready for capital investments.
The increase in total investments is also due in part to a recent expansion of the Mid-America Angels. Several angel investors from Manhattan, Kan., and St. Joseph, Mo., joined the network last year, which allowed for more applicants to seek funding from Mid-America Angels. MAA also added an affiliate chapter of 20 additional investors.
A few of the local companies that were added to the Mid-America Angels portfolio in 2016 were JobShakers, a Fairway-based employee referral software company and Life Equals, a Kansas City-based social enterprise. Tomboy Exchange and Kenzen are not Kansas City-based but are both run by leadership teams with local connections.
Since its inception in 2006, the Mid-America Angel network has made 85 investments that total over $21 million. Steve Roatch, CEO of Twentyseven Global, is an angel investor and also a member of Mid-America Angel network. Roatch says, “it has been amazing to watch the entrepreneurial community expand, and the early stage funding sources along with it, in the decade since MAA began. MAA has been an important part of the emergence of Kansas City as a technology startup hub.”