The launch of a new "angel fund" focused on investment in Oregon-based companies will be announced at the Bend Venture Conference Friday at the Tower Theatre.
The Cascade Angels Fund aims to drive economic growth and prosperity in Oregon by creating opportunities for investors and businesses, according to Tuesday's announcement
Based in Bend, the fund is committed to Oregon's entrepreneurial ecosystem and will typically invest in launch stage companies from any industry or market, in investments averaging from approximately $50,000 to $200,000.
Investors in the fund must be accredited and will typically come from Oregon, Washington, and California. Funded companies can be from anywhere in Oregon, but the natural bias will be for Central Oregon-based companies.
“The Bend Venture Conference and its investment community are a high point of angel activity each year,” said Jim Coonan, venture catalyst for Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) and lead organizer of BVC.
“Cascade Angels Fund will take our regional commitment to entrepreneurship and make it a year-round effort.”
Fund Manager Julie Harrelson was selected by a committee of Bend entrepreneurs and investors.
The founder and CEO of Harrelson Group, a mobile accelerator and change agent in the Pacific Northwest, Harrelson is a serial entrepreneur who has also led businesses, participated as an angel investor on due diligence teams, and cultivated an extensive professional network.
Past and current clients include Starbucks, Nike, Greater Portland Inc. and other private sector businesses and regional organizations.
“This is the only fund of its kind in Central Oregon and we have the opportunity to connect the best entrepreneurs and angel investors, providing an avenue to strengthen the entrepreneurial effort in the region,” said Harrelson. “The Cascade Angels will help catalyze economic opportunity in Central Oregon and throughout the state.”
“We knew that the fund manager would be critical and Harrelson brings startup experience, management experience, and has helped us to galvanize our vision,” said Coonan. “We also expect her to help us bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are fortunate to have a professional fund manager of Harrelson’s caliber."
Early sponsors of the fund include Karnopp Peterson LLP for legal services, Jones and Roth for accounting services and Bank of the Cascades for banking services.