Monday, October 22, 2012

"Chemical Angel Network" funds startups

This is a pretty cool thing to hear about. By Marc Reisch, from the pages of this week's C&EN:
The Angel Resource Institute, a nonprofit information clearinghouse for early-stage investing, lists 329 angel investor groups in North America. But only one, the Chemical Angel Network, specializes in providing seed capital for chemistry-related start-up companies. 
Founded just five months ago, CAN is a group of high-net-worth individuals with a background in chemistry. They have linked up through CAN to gather intelligence and share insights on potential investments, explains Mark Vreeke, one of the network’s founders... 
White, an inventor with a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Texas Christian University, says chemists are uniquely positioned to understand both the science of a chemistry-related start-up and the financial challenges it faces. 
Unlike software and information technology firms that don’t require a lot of infrastructure, chemical start-ups need lab space, vented hoods, scientific instrumentation, and ways to handle hazardous chemicals, White points out. Chemical start-ups also need more time to do experiments and refine their products than do software-related businesses. 
CAN hopes to offer early-stage chemistry-related firms a lot more than just money. “We’ll be able to offer help on the technical and business side,” Vreeke says, “and we’ll be able to provide connections to the rest of the chemical industry.”
It will be interesting to track whether or not this will actually launch successful companies -- I certainly hope so.


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