Home Venture Capital New World Angels launches Innovation Fund to write pre-seed checks

New World Angels launches Innovation Fund to write pre-seed checks

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By Riley Kaminer

Angel investors play an important and too-often overlooked role in the startup investment landscape. Often willing to take a chance on companies when institutional investors are not, and often open to rolling up their sleeves to an extent that many funds cannot, these individual investors play a critical role in pushing startups forward – bringing our whole ecosystem along for the ride.

New World Angels (NWA) is a major angel group in South Florida, having had a presence here since 2003 and now comprising a veritable flock of 100+ angels. NWA typically invests between $250,000 and $2 million into companies valued at less than $20 million; the syndicate recently invested about $700,000 in Miami-based Fuego

With the launch of their new $350,000 Innovation Fund, however, NWA is able to dip its toes into the really fun stuff: investing in Florida’s earliest stage startups.

Sam Guren

“The idea is to broaden NWA’s reach,” explained Sam Guren, a longtime venture capital and private equity executive who is one of the NWA angels leading the new initiative. “This will give us the opportunity to invest in companies that are earlier than what we’d normally do. And when they’re successful, then NWA will have the opportunity to invest further.”

The average check size for the Innovation Fund will be around $50,000. Crucially, NWA will look to invest in startups that have successfully completed a qualified incubator or accelerator. That will allow NWA to de-risk their investment, reducing the amount of due diligence required. 

“The very fact that you’ve got into an accelerator means that you’ve passed a hurdle in perceived quality,” asserted Guren, who had worked with Techstars in his hometown of Chicago.

Guren added that NWA will also look to work with other groups to bring their funds and know-how to make a collective investment that packs even more of a punch. “$50k doesn’t create much of a runway, so we really like to see other people with us. But we’re very willing to roll up our sleeves and add value when necessary – and get out of the way when appropriate.”

The Innovation Fund will invest in the same set of verticals that NWA typically does – running the gamut from industrial to consumer to B2B and beyond. The one caveat Guren mentioned is that it is unlikely that NWA will be able to invest in life sciences through this fund, as they typically invest in more mature businesses in that particular vertical.

“We’re thrilled to introduce the inaugural launch of NWA’s Innovation Fund,” NWA Managing Director Jessica Miley told Refresh Miami. Miley [pictured above] has been at the helm of NWA for two years and is also an angel investor with NWA, Miami Angels and FAU Tech Runway. 

“This fund aims to partner with and provide pre-seed financial backing to promising founders and ventures based in Florida who have completed a top-tier incubator or accelerator program,” Miley continued. “Our Innovation Fund is designed to assist entrepreneurs in reaching an early milestone for their company or product.”

Miley noted that NWA plans to make around five to seven investments this year. So far, NWA has not made any investments through the Innovation Fund.

READ MORE IN REFRESH MIAMI:

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