Announcing an investment in Don’t Get Mad Get Paid

Don’t Get Mad Get Paid addresses the problem that 78% of divorced mothers don’t receive the child support that legally belongs to them – money that could be instrumental in improving the lives of their children. Long time child support expert, activist and author Simone Spence has been successful in helping moms collect their arrears for more than two decades. Her expertise is now Don’t Get Mad Get Paid.

Announcing funding in Harmonic Bionics and in Skyven

The Southwest Angel Network is pleased to announce that it has participated in the funding both Harmonic Bionics and in Skyven.

The mission of Harmonic Bionics is to innovate the rehabilitation process with robotic technology. The company was founded in 2016 as a spin-off of ReNeu Robotics Lab at The Univ. of Texas at Austin, and is actively developing a robotic platform for introduction into the clinical market. The company aims to revolutionize the fields of therapy for stroke and spinal cord injury. Their exoskeletons are already being tested in pilot clinical trials and are well known in the rehabilitation robotics research community.

Skyven recognizes that industrial process heat is the last bastion of fossil fuels. It accounts for 20% of all emissions worldwide. And it’s expensive. Skyven is taking over this carbon stronghold, by turning industrial plants into their own heat sources. The journey to low-cost carbon-free process heat starts with Thermal Energy Efficiency. Thermal RE-injection™ captures high-value low-temperature heat rejected from process equipment such as boilers and dryers and re-injects it back into the facility. Each BTU of heat recovered is one less BTU of new fuel burned. And Intelligent Mirror Array (IMA™) technology capture heat from the sun, raises its effective temperature (up to 400F), and injects it into the plant to further displace fossil fuels.

With these two investments, the Southwest Angel Network has now invested $4M in 20 companies since the network’s founding in 2016.

Techstar’s Impact companies out-perform other Techstars companies

Picture: Jerold McDonald and Ani Bagipalli, CEO and CTO of Omaiven Health, and Zoe Schlag, Executive Director, Techstars Impact

Techstars is an American seed accelerator, founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2006. As of 2019, the company had accepted over 1,600 companies into its programs with a combined market capitalization of $18.2B. Less than 1% of applicants are accepted.

They operate accelerators in 60 cities worldwide, and their international Social Impact accelerator is in Austin.

Their impact companies have outperformed their non-impact companies. You can read about these results as reported in Forbes Magazine.

Announcing an investment in SHYFT Power Systems

The Southwest Angel Network has invested in SHYFT Power Systems, which believes that the future of energy in emerging markets is distributed energy resources.

SHYFT is building IoT and software to enable and intelligently manage solar, generator, inverter and utility power. Their solutions help a customer’s energy solutions work together seamlessly in order to help save money and make life easier.

Working to Have a Positive Impact on Society

From the Desk of Bob Bridge

Our network thinks about impact in two ways.

Supporting Impact Companies

An important impact goal for our network is funding companies that are working to address serious societal challenges, such as improving education or healthcare outcomes, or protecting the environment, or empowering or improving the lives of disadvantaged people.

We look for companies whose primary business mission is clearly focused on having an impact, and where impact is not a secondary result or a sideline.

We ask the companies for as much evidence as possible that their product or services offerings actually does have a measurable impact and goes beyond “isn’t that a nice idea”.

Supporting Diverse Founders

It is natural for me, and all of us, to feel most comfortable around others who are most like ourselves and to feel at home in an environment similar to the environment in which we were raised.

As a result, when those with wealth and power, the overclass, all belong to one demographic group, wealth and power tend to get easily shared with others in that group. Such sharing is a natural result and does not necessarily reflect a deliberate strategy to be exclusive or limiting.

Those who possess wealth and power may not have experienced the day-to-day and life-long challenges faced by the underclass, and it easy for the overclass to assume that the same rules that allowed the overclass to be successful in life will allow anyone to achieve similar success. That is not how it normally works for the underclass.

Our network believes that all individuals should have the support needed to reach their full potential. We recognize that glass ceilings exit, and sometimes even concrete ceilings exist and that all entrepreneurs need to be treated with respect and provided encouragement. We welcome diverse founders into a thoughtful and constructive discussion about their business.

By diversity, we think of those who have historically been disadvantaged in term of receiving funding, possibly because they are women or people of color. We strive to support startup teams with diverse C-level founders.

Diversity is neither required nor sufficient to receive funding from us. That said, half of our funding to date has been to teams with a diverse C-level founder.

And we think about supporting diversity more broadly than just funding companies. For example, we mentor Title 1 high school students in entrepreneurship by partnering with the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Superstar program, and we provide a college scholarship to a student in that annual program.

Podcast interview with Executive Director, Bob Bridge

The podcast series “Investor Connect with Hall Martin” helps startup and investors connect for funding. In this podcast, Bob shares his advice for impact investing. According to him, you don’t look for the unicorns, but rather focus on two factors, the ability to provide a financial return, but more importantly, having the companies convince you that they positively affect societal or environmental problems.

Listen to the podcast

An Investment in Curb

The Southwest Angel Network is pleased to announce that over half of its angels have invested in CURB.

CURB provides a home energy monitoring system that helps homeowners to take control of energy use by providing a system that plugs directly into the electrical circuit breaker panel, providing real-time data on energy consumption and production, allowing:

  • Smarter decisions about energy use.
  • Recognition of abnormal patterns of energy use, pointing to potential problems of various appliances.
  • Estimating the energy bill, allowing homeowners to see the cost of energy usage in real-time.

CURB users have been able to reduce energy consumption by up to 20%

Impact Investing Conference

The Southwest Angel Network’s Executive Director, Bob Bridge, was invited to serve on a panel at the Impact Investing Conference held on May 24th at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. The conference was organized by the Texas Impact Alliance, a statewide organization working to scale social and environmental impact in the state of Texas by uniting stakeholders from the private sector, academia, public sector, and finance.  Bob discussed how the social-impact of mission-driven start-up companies is measured and reported.

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