All I know is that it will be the first angel network in Atlantic Canada.” This was my co-founder Brian Lowe’s response to my question about what we should name our envisioned little angel group. “Then that’s our name.” I said.

It was March of 2005 and we had just wrapped up over a year of pitching Immunovaccine Technologies to hundreds of potential investors around the region. We had raised a lot of money during that year and were having a coffee to talk about what we wanted to do next.

We had enjoyed working together and thought it would be good to help other early stage companies in Atlantic Canada raise the most difficult money to get – arms-length capital – angel money from strangers. We both agreed that, if an angel group had existed in the region, the Immunovaccine raise might have been a lot easier.

We fleshed out our concept over the next two months and decided that, if ten people agreed to join, we would officially start the First Angel Network. We pitched twelve people and had ten membership cheques by May. We spent the summer meeting others and quickly had a healthy group of interested investors in Cape Breton. We officially launched the Network at our first investment meeting in September with sixteen of almost thirty shiny, new members present.

We took our second investment opportunity to New Brunswick in late fall. By Christmas there were fifty members and we’d made two investments. Today, well over two hundred investors have made angel investments through the First Angel Network.

Our approach was to remain low-key, focus on what we do best, build relationships and find the highest quality opportunities. We wanted both members and entrepreneurs to have a valuable experience going through our process. We’ve stayed true to this ever since.

Over the years we’ve learned a lot; become more sophisticated in our processes and spread the gospel of angel investing throughout our region, Canada and many other parts of the world. First Angel Network is recognized from St. John’s, NL to Auckland, NZ. Our portfolio continues to grow and we are continually astonished with the quality of the innovations emerging in Atlantic Canada. Let’s keep that up!

Ross Finlay
Co-Founder, First Angel Network