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Frontier Angel Fund 2 Celebrates Milestone - Montana based Startups are on the Rise

December 5, 2014View for printing

The Frontier Angel Fund 2 , Montana's only angel investor fund, will be turning one on December 9, the same day the Fund met its minimum capital requirements to begin investing.

Larry Cates, Chairman of Fund 2, was also a member of Frontier Angel Fund 1 which invested $1.5 million from 2007-2014. According to Cates, the first Fund had to syndicate more deals than it led - meaning, more investments were led by out-of-state angel funds - "because the Montana-based deal flow was very modest, and we needed to make investments to learn." Cates says, "The experience for Fund 2 thus far is that Montana entrepreneurs are definitely increasing in quantity and quality, and there are more start-up funding opportunities than in the past. The interest from both investors and entrepreneurs is very exciting."

At the November meeting of Frontier Fund 2 in Bozeman, the Fund saw great presentations from four very interesting and sophisticated Montana-based startup companies: Wegener Safety Latch , RightPSI , Drop Trip and Lucky Day. The Fund's quarterly meetings rotate between the Flathead and Bozeman, and include a WebEx remote option.

The long term goal of members in both Fund 1 and 2 has been to make early stage capital available in Montana. Fund 2 intentionally built a stronger presence statewide than Fund 1, and includes investors from Bozeman, Billings, West Yellowstone, Whitefish, Kalispell and Angels in 7 other states with ties to Montana. " I joined because I like entrepreneurs and the opportunity to help them succeed here in Montana." Says Susan Carstensen, former CFO and COO at Right Now Technologies. Scott Rosenzweig, a successful Bozeman entrepreneur says, "It's an enjoyable "club" to join, to explore new business opportunities while meeting and engaging in business opportunities with many local like-minded investors."  

The Fund benefits from Montana's place as the No. 1 state in the U.S. for startup activity, according to the annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, having raced to the top spot this year... people were more likely to launch businesses in Montana than in any other state in the country last year."1. Rosenzweig notes that the members themselves are not all retired, but often also looking for companies they can work with, where they can contribute their expertise to increasing the value of their investments. Entrepreneurs benefit from the many Members' multitude of skill sets.  It's not distant - it's neighbors feeling like they're contributing to their neighbors' success, greatly benefitting the community as a whole."

Internationally known Angel investor and part-time Montana resident Bill Payne points out that "90% of the seed and startup capital for entrepreneurs in the U.S. (after friends and family money has been exhausted) comes from angel investors, who are willing to invest time and money in new company formation and growth.  The Frontier Angel Fund 2 makes it easy for entrepreneurs to find these angels in Montana, through the Frontier website and a large and growing network."  But, why would Accredited Investors want to become angels and join Frontier 2? "It is not just about the money, although return on investment is our #1 motivation.  It is also a very personal commitment to investing our time:  Helping Montana diversify the local economy, continuing to hone our business skills, and the joy of mentoring exciting businesses and staying busy in a Montana business after retirement or recently exiting a job. I am pleased to be part of this likeminded group of business people."

Liz Marchi, Frontier Fund 2 founder, is extremely pleased with the experience, expertise and diversity of the funds more than 40 investors to date. She attributes the growing number of interesting deals to the collaborative efforts of people in organizations like the Blackstone LaunchPad, Startup Weekends, Dev Con, Code Montana, Startup Bozeman and events like TedX Bozeman, which connect likeminded individuals. The state is also getting more attention as a place where high tech can thrive, given the press on Right Now Technologies, Ligocyte (Takeda), Submittable , Schedulicity and others. The highly skilled and ambitious person who is an entrepreneur is increasingly a Montanan.

Frontier Fund II will continue to pioneer and grow its small fund model serving non-traditional venture capital communities in Montana and locally. The fund has now established strong syndication relationships across the region, enabling additional expertise and capital to flow into Montana, spreading investment risk across a larger and wider portfolio. Angel investors are a critical and growing source of capital to fund new companies, the drivers of new job creation.

For more information about Frontier Fund 2 contact Liz Marchi,, or visit our minimum viable website at
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