Friday, May 20, 2011

Jeff's Press Release

Angel network hires McCombs student

Austin Business Journal - by Christopher Calnan, Staff Writer

Date: Friday, May 20, 2011, 7:28am CDT

The Central Texas Angel Network has enlisted its first full-time employee to handle the day-to-day duties of managing its growing roster of investors.

Nevada native Jeff Harbach is scheduled to assume his duties at the Austin-based angel investor group in August. He will replace Executive Director Randall Crowder, who plans to focus on local investment firm TEXO Ventures, where he is managing partner, while taking an advisory role at CTAN.

The move to a full-time employee coordinating CTAN’s activities is the latest in a series of indicators that the popularity of angel investing is surging in Central Texas. Such growth is a positive development for local entrepreneurs seeking investment in early-stage companies and investors who want to be involved in Austin’s startup community.

CTAN, which was founded in 2006, reports having about 70 member investors. Crowder managed the angel group while completing his MBA at the University of Texas - bizWatch-infoPopup’ McCombs School of Business.

Harbach, who is also a McCombs School student, is in France completing his MBA at HEC Paris, one of Europe’s highly regarded business schools. He plans to build on what has already been created at CTAN instead of making any major changes.

“We want to strengthen the [executive director] position for entrepreneurs to get advice and investments,” Harbach said.

CTAN invested 60 percent more during 2010 than during 2009, the angel network reported in January. The increase came one year after the group tripled its annual investments.

During 2010, the angel group invested $5.7 million in 15 companies compared with $3.5 million invested in 12 companies the prior year. As a result, the amount of capital CTAN annually invests more than quintupled during a two-year period.

Life sciences continued to be the largest sector for investment, attracting 19 percent of the capital that CTAN invested in 2010, according to CTAN officials.

Most of the group’s investors are busy with their own ventures, CTAN Chairman Jamie Rhodes said. As a result, a full-time employee is important to coordinate the funding process when investors consider the viability of startup companies.

“We’ve got to keep them organized and focused on the due diligence,” he said. “It’s difficult to carve out enough time to study plans and then sign checks.”

Austin attorney Pete Winstead, who helped established CTAN five years ago, didn’t anticipate the organization’s rapid growth. The group was formed to create jobs by filling the capital gap that existed for new companies not large enough to collect venture capital.

“There was this huge vacuum for what had been one of Austin’s strengths — entrepreneurship,” said Winstead, a founding shareholder at Winstead PC. “It has turned out to be really, really good.”


karlin said...

good job jeff! we are proud of you guys. jason wants talk business... that kind of stuff is his passion!

also, i'm loving hearing about your paris adventures!!

Christa said...

Thanks Karlin! Tell Jason that if he wants to talk to Jeff then you will have to take a family trip to Texas when we get back. We would love to see you, and we have to make up for lost time. ;) Seriously though, Jeff would love to talk to Jason anytime! ... xoxo