Startup entrepreneurs seeking mentoring, advice and maybe capital can get assistance from experienced investors in a new quarterly event sponsored jointly by the New Mexico Angels and the ABQid business accelerator.
The two entities are partnering up to offer direct guidance to individual entrepreneurs through “New Mexico Roundtables,” a new networking format that aims to pair at least six startups with a dozen or more angel investors at each quarterly event, starting with the first online forum on Nov. 20.
The New Mexico Angels unite individual investors to pool their resources, providing seed and early-stage capital to startup companies. ABQid, run by CNM Ingenuity, manages the Activate NM business accelerator for technology startups.
“Our missions are aligned to work towards the same goal of seeing startup companies in New Mexico advance,” said Angels President Drew Tulchin. “With COVID-19, it’s hard for entrepreneurs and investors to come together to engage. This program offers a new way to facilitate regular connectivity.”
Rather than typical “pitch” events, where entrepreneurs present to investors to raise capital, the roundtables will focus on mentoring and advice to help startups work through critical challenges, said ABQid Executive Director T.J. Cook.
“It’s all about experienced investors sharing their knowledge and advice with local startups,” Cook said. “It offers a forum for individual entrepreneurs to discuss operational challenges they face with investors.”
Participating startups will be asked to prepare a short presentation on their top two or three challenges. After initial group introductions, each entrepreneur will be ushered into separate discussion rooms with at least two investors who have specific knowledge of the type of technology the startup is pursuing.
“Entrepreneurs and investors will be paired up by interest,” Cook said. “If a startup is working on, say, a new software product or service, then the entrepreneur will meet with investors who have experience in that area.”
The potential for investment is always on the table, but that’s not the goal.
“Rather than a ‘shark-tank pitch’ dynamic, this is all about team dynamics to help startups advance,” Cook said. “It’s a dialogue-centric event.”
That’s advantageous for everybody, Tulchin said.
“For angels to invest, they need to build relationships and trust with entrepreneurs, and that’s been really hard in the pandemic,” Tulchin said. “This is one way to build a new web of communication.”
The roundtables will be conducted through Zoom for the foreseeable future. Startup entrepreneurs interested in participating can contact ABQid online at www.abqid.com. Interested investors can contact the Angels at www.nmangels.com.