An entrepreneur support program at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway plans to start a network for potential angel investors and early-stage companies. The Conductor Angel Network will meet for the first time Feb. 7.
The group will provide networking opportunities and investor education and will consider actual investment pitches from entrepreneurs, according to a press release from UCA.
The network will meet the first Tuesday of even-numbered months at 5 p.m. at UCA Downtown. The events are free and open to the public. Registration is available through Eventbrite, according to the press release.
“When we started Cadron Creek Capital in early 2015, we were surprised at the number of people in central Arkansas who had an interest in, but had never actually invested in, early-stage companies,” Jeff Standridge, founder of Cadron Creek Capital and team leader of the Conductor, said in the release. “In the best cases, [entrepreneurs] will find an investor and receive some high-quality feedback and mentoring on their investment pitch.
“At the very least, they will receive feedback on their pitch, which will help them prepare before they pitch to a venture fund like Cadron Creek Capital,” Standridge said.
Cadron Creek Capital is one of the largest member-managed venture funds in Arkansas, focused primarily on companies in Arkansas and across the mid-South, according to the release.
“An angel network serves multiple purposes,” Kim Lane, chief operating officer of Conductor, said in the release. “We want to connect startup entrepreneurs with potential investors, but we also want to provide a forum where interested investors can learn more about angel investing, network with other investors and become more comfortable with the angel investing process.”
The Conductor initiative started this past fall and aims to deliver mentoring, training and resources to all facets of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in central Arkansas. It was created through a partnership with UCA, Startup Junkie Consulting and the nonprofit Community Venture Foundation, both of Fayetteville.
The Conductor initiative is supported by the Central Arkansas Venture Team, led by Standridge, a retired Acxiom executive. The CAVT is a group of executive consultants, coaches, area leaders and experts who provide one-to-one consulting. Conductor also plans to offer a UCA entrepreneurship club, pitch contests, startup weekends, founder breakfasts and a speaker series, according to the program.