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AIO Annual Meeting and Holiday Reception

December 14, 2018

By: Dennis Ensing

Angel Investors Ontario (AIO) held their Annual General Meeting and annual Holiday Networking Reception this week in Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York. As I wrote about separately, they also arranged for complementary VIP passes to the Toronto Global Forum, which is otherwise an invitation-only event.
 
This year's event was definitely bigger than last, a testament to AIO's efforts to exert its influence and spread the best practices of its affiliated groups in the angel investing ecosystem. 
 
Later this month as part of a 2018 year end message I will recap the SWO Angels recent investment data. In 2017-18, Angels invested more than $56.7 million in aggregate into early stage ventures, and members of the AIO network made 221 investment rounds into 155 companies. That's an incredible accomplishment! Since 2007, there has been a cumulative total of $365.7 million invested into 656 companies. 
 
As a result of these investments, over 11,700 jobs were created or retained: proof of the significant contribution of Angel investment has made to the Ontario jobs market and economy. What's notable about this investment is the leverage it represents. For every $1 of government funding granted to Angel groups to support entrepreneurs, an additional $80 was reinvested back into the ecosystem.
 
With a great report all in all, the holiday reception was a celebratory affair. It was both fun and rewarding to connect in person with many of my Angel investing colleagues, as well as some of their portfolio investees. 
 
One of those was Andrew White, Founder & CEO of Char Technologies (TSX-V: YES), a venture that I met in 2011 as a competitor in Ivey's IBK Business Plan Competition. After getting his MBA and deciding he actually wanted to start Char, I introduced Andrew to my Cleantech colleague, James Sbrolla, who expertly guided Andrew to start and grow his new business - including making an investment. I have stayed connected with both as our virtual world so well enables, but as always seeing each other in person and picking up where we left off was so much more productive! One of they key outcomes of this face-to-face meeting is a plan for a SWO Angels member tour of Char's plant in south-east London in early 2019.