For 14 years I’ve led the River Valley Investors angel investor network. A year ago the group was on death’s door. Membership was down to the lowest levels since I’d taken over leadership from our founder and my mentor, Joseph Steig. And none of us knew that COVID was just around the corner. If RVI failed then our region would have lost its only active angel group – a huge potential blow to local startups.
It was time to pivot. I spent the last 3 months of 2019 conducting intensive customer discovery, interviewing RVI’s top members, past and present. They taught me a lot.
In January RVI leveraged that learning and pivoted to focus on speed, convenience, and syndicated deals. In March we switched to meeting online permanently.
- Membership has nearly doubled in 9 months, pulling in people from a much larger geography than conceivable before.
- Membership is continuing to grow at the fastest rate in seventeen years.
- We’re investing in more deals than we’ve ever invested in before.
- We’re helping our members get more diversification than they’ve ever had before.
I’m proud as hell of what we’ve done in less than a year, and excited to see where the next year takes us. We’ve accomplished all of these results because of the incredible feedback our members, past and present, generously gave in Q4 of 2019. I can’t thank them enough for helping ensure our region continues to have a source of high-risk capital for startups!
If you aren’t familiar with the River Valley Investors (RVI), we are a network of successful business executives and entrepreneurs who invest in exciting startups. No one investor has all of the time and expertise needed to fully vet all deals. That is why we only look at startups that have already passed the hurdle of securing another angel group or venture fund as their lead investor. RVI members then leverage each other’s expertise and networks to vet the opportunities and come to a decision in just a few short hours of work, then co-invest to secure optimal terms.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, learn what is required to be an RVI member.