Atlantis Group Plans to Back Start-ups –

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Armed with the idea that investing as a group is always more efficient and effective than investing solo, angel investor and entrepreneur Robbie Hardy in late-September formally founded The Atlantis Group LLC to back seed-stage companies.

Hardy has been involved with another band of angel investors, TriState Investment Group, for a few years and said the idea to establish the Atlantis Group came to her when she noticed the number of angels who were investing on their own in seed-stage companies. “Investing in seed-stage companies is fun, but hard. However, I found myself doing it and I saw a lot of other angels investing in these companies, so I contacted some young entrepreneurs and seasoned investors to start a new group to focus on seed-stage companies,” she explained. On an administrative basis, it is also easier for seed-stage companies to deal with one fund rather than an army of individual angel investors, she added.

The Atlantis Group will have a membership of just under 100 angels, Hardy said, adding she contacted a core group of about 40 local entrepreneurs and veteran angels to join the circle of investors. To join the group, prospective members must make a minimum investment of $50,000 in Atlantis’ investment vehicle, Hardy said. Atlantis was aiming for an October 15 first and final close on the $6 million-targeted fund. The vehicle is also open to institutions, at a maximum investment of $500,000, Hardy added. At press time, the fund had received a commitment from one institution, Silicon Valley Bank.

The fund will focus largely on technology companies because of the expertise of its membership, Hardy said, noting a majority of the fund’s members have technology backgrounds. The vehicle may also do some life sciences deals, she added. The group will likely back approximately 10 to 12 companies with an average deal size of $250,000 to $1.5 million. Hardy anticipated that the fund’s membership will also do some co-investing alongside the fund. All of Atlantis’ portfolio companies will be within driving distance, said Hardy. “Angel investors like to touch and feel companies,” she said.

Companies interested in receiving funding from Atlantis will be required to fill out a 20 question form on the group’s Web site in order to initiate the investment process. “This will allow us to compare companies side-by-side,” Hardy explained. Final investment decisions will be made by a majority vote of the entire membership.