Keiretsu Forum NW Invested a Record $43.5M in 2015

Angel investors affiliated with Keiretsu Forum Northwest invested $43.5 million in 57 companies last year, a record for the organization in this region.

Keiretsu Forum Northwest, which began with a single chapter in 2005, has also seen its membership swell, attracting about 100 new members each of the last two years—including members gained through its acquisition of another angel group, the Zino Society. Keiretsu Northwest now counts about 460 members spread across eight chapters around the region, including in British Columbia, Canada. It is part of the larger Keiretsu Forum, an international angel investing community that has grown from its start in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000.

Also, Keiretsu Capital, a new co-investment fund set up last year to join investments made by Keiretsu Forum and other angel groups, made some 27 investments in 2015, totaling more than $3.4 million. (About $2.3 million of that is included in the Keiretsu Forum Northwest total for the year.)

Keiretsu Northwest made first-time investments in 18 companies, and re-invested in 39 more last year. Most of the 2015 funding went to real estate investments (31 percent), life sciences (29 percent), and technology companies (26 percent).

While most of the 2015 investments are in the Northwest, Keiretsu Northwest members backed companies based as far away as Massachusetts and Florida. The investments include Aqueduct Critical Care, Health 123, Kineta Bio, Minetta Brook, and Pebble Bee.

Sherry Calvert, president of Keiretsu Forum Northwest, says the record year of investments was helped by returns members realized on earlier investments.

Calvert

Calvert

“In 2015, we saw a significant amount of liquidity coming back into market and it shows in the funding rounds by our discerning investor members,” Calvert says in a news release. She adds via e-mail: “We saw several exits and dividends paid out last year so our members had significantly more capital available to invest.”

Calvert declines to provide details on the exits, “as most sales are private,” but she says “one of my personal investments paid a dividend of 4x in December, and I was a late investor, the first round received 8x.”

Calvert says 2016 is off to a good start “and we expect the funding volumes to continue to grow.”

Like many angel investing groups, Keiretsu members share responsibilities such as screening companies that apply for funding and performing due diligence on potential investments, though individual members decide on their own investments. Startups that make it through an initial application and screening process must pay an administrative fee to pitch at Keiretsu’s full forums.

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