The New Mexico Angels, a local angel investment group, remains the bright spot of investment activities in what has been several years of gray skies for the state’s venture capital community. Angel investments have been critical to funding the early stage technologies coming out of the University of New Mexico. The Angels formed two start-up companies last year around UNM technology and have already funded two new start-ups from UNM technology this year through their unique company, the New Mexico Start-up Factory, an entity specifically formed to spin out tech start-ups from UNM innovations. See Dan Mayfield’s article on the Angels, reprinted below from the April 24, 2013 online edition of Albuquerque Business First.

NM Angels defy national trend of shrinking funding, Chavez says

Nationally, angel investment hasn’t rebounded from the Great Recession.

But locally, at least, New Mexico is heading in the right direction, John Chavez, president of the New Mexico Angels, said Wednesday at the Economic Forum of Albuquerque.

Nationally, the median angel investment has stayed relatively the same at around $600,000 for the last three years, according to the Angel Resource Institute.

The New Mexico Angels — the largest angel investment group in the state — haven’t invested that much annually, but the group has seen a steady increase in the amount of funding it has provided local companies.

In 2010, the Angels provided $750,000 in funding. In 2011, that number rose to $1.3 million, and to $1.6 million in 2012. Already in 2013, Chavez said, the Angels have invested $490,000 in two ventures.

As the New Mexico Angels have grown their investment amounts, venture capital investments, and funds, have shrunk in the last two years.

“It has been a struggle for VC because the asset class has performed really horrible,” Chavez said. “In New Mexico, kudos to the [State Investment Council]. A lot of money went into a lot of deals and we’re excited about the new Sierra Ventures investment and we’re working with Sun Mountain.”

Since 2005, Chavez said the New Mexico Angels have invested $6 million in startup companies. Some of those deals have been as small as $7,500 per investor. Some have been four times that size.

Though angel investments are traditionally high-risk, those that have paid off their investments have provide a 400 to 700 percent return, Chavez said.

Source: Albuquerque Business First