Ben Franklin News

Lehigh Valley Angel Investors Seek New Members

The Lehigh Valley Angel Investors network (LVAI) is seeking new partners that will expand its portfolio and allow for greater investment in companies throughout the region. LVAI has financed six start-ups with a total of $594,000 over the past three years.

Founded in 2010 by Todd Welch of Charter Partners, Stu Schooley, founder and co-owner of Dutch Springs, and approximately a dozen other successful entrepreneurs, the Lehigh Valley Angel Investors share a “pay it forward” philosophy that drives them to help new entrepreneurs raise the start-up capital they need to forge a successful company.

“All of us are entrepreneurs and we all built our companies from the ground up,” said Schooley, president of LVAI. “Now, we are interested in supporting like-minded people. Somewhere along the way, someone helped us and we want to return the favor.”

Among the companies benefitting from Lehigh Valley Angel Investors are: Carmell Therapeutics, which is developing biomaterials manufactured from human blood plasma that contain a concentration of natural regenerative factors to promote healing; EggZack, a Software-as-a-Service solution that requires only a single entry to update a client’s website and other marketing functions;  mdCurrent, a health and medical publisher serving practicing doctors in India; Orion Fleet Intelligence, which provides GPS-derived Business Intelligence  software and services to companies with fleet operations; and CERORA, INC, a brain biosensor information company developing accessible neuro-diagnostic information for brain health assessment.

Schooley said that the network’s goal is to grow from the current 21 members to a group of about 35 to 40 investors. Members must be qualified investors, with at least $1 million in net worth excluding the value of their homes, or $200,000 in annual earnings for the last two years for an individual and $300,000 for a husband/wife. The network meets monthly to hear presentations from start-up applicants and each member decides individually if he or she wants to invest in that company. Individual investments are a minimum of $5,000 per investor per deal, and total network investments generally start at $50,000, Schooley said.

All applicants are screened by a network committee. Those that meet the early qualifications make presentations to the group before any decisions are made on investments.

LVAI is associated with the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania as an Affiliate Member of Ben Franklin TechVentures®, BFTP/NEP’s award-winning business incubator/post-incubator located on the Mountaintop Campus of Lehigh University. Members meet at TechVentures to listen to entrepreneur presentations.

“Hosting the Lehigh Valley Angel Investors Network ties in with Ben Franklin’s mission to help our tech-based early-stage clients identify and raise follow-on funding,” said Wayne Barz, manager of entrepreneurial services at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. “Partnering with other investors and economic development organizations allows us to multiply our combined efforts to accelerate the growth of the regional economy.”

“Successful LVAI start-up applicants should be experienced in their industries and have a strong management team, a viable product or service, manufacturing access where needed, and an exit strategy that extends no further than five years,” said Schooley. A member of the network generally serves as a liaison to the LVAI start-ups to help guide the entrepreneur.

Individuals interested in joining the Lehigh Valley Angel Investors Network should contact Schooley at 610-759-2270 or Entrepreneurs interested in applying for funding from the network may go to