2015 Community Catalyst Award Winner David Colligan creates podcast on How to Approach an Angel Investor.
The Upstate Unleashed Conference and 2016 Venture Ecosystem Awards will take place on September 16 at the Turning Stone Resort and nominations are open to celebrate the leaders of the UNY startup community. We caught up with last year’s Community Catalyst Award winner and angel investor, David Colligan, to hear about his recent ecosystem activity.
David Colligan is well known in the Upstate Entrepreneurial Community as an angel investor and startup mentor. He co-founded the Buffalo Angels ten years ago serving as their managing director until deciding to launch a new organization in 2011, Launch NY.
David took on the Chairmanship of Launch NY, a Venture Development Organization encompassing the 27 counties of Upstate New York, which is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find their mentors and develop successful businesses. According to David, Upstate Venture Connect and Launch, NY play different and complementary roles in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and help make it successful by being the right information connectors.
In 2015, David Colligan received the Community Catalyst Award – an award reserved for an individual who organizes programs to bring together diverse startup ecosystem players in a local community and/or increase the amount of capital and number of active early stage investors in that community.
“First of all, the actual award itself is beautiful, it still sits on my desk since I got it!”said Colligan.
He believes that he helped catalyze the entrepreneurial ecosystem through the creation of Launch, NY and the Buffalo Angels. “I was trying to get something going,” and he definitely played a critical role in it. In the last two years, the Buffalo Angels have invested $1M per year as a group, “which is more than any other angel group that I am aware of,” he explained.
About two years ago, David was also offered a position as Trustee of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, a $1.2 billion in fund institution that is gaining momentum and whose purpose is to help Upstate NY be a healthy community again, both economically and politically. He therefore resigned from his position as Chairman of the Launch, NY.
Today, David Colligan is still very much involved in the entrepreneurial community and he tries to help people who want to learn more about entrepreneurship. He was recently asked by Business First to create a podcast on angel investing, which he gladly accepted. In the podcast, this angel investor explains what people need to think about when they approach angels, and what angels need to think about when they invest in a company.
As this podcast got a lot of positive responses, Buffalo Business First asked David to record a second podcast about capital investment! David explains that he has a lot of contacts with people who have heard of him, feel like they know him and ask him for advice about their pitches. “It is a very nice feeling to see that people appreciate how I explained things and now reach out to me for advice.”
David is also staying active as a startup mentor as well, devoting some of his (busy) time to helping young entrepreneurs improve their pitches before presenting them to angel groups.
To him, the most difficult part of being a mentor is to talk them into finding the right partners. “Most entrepreneurs want to be Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. What I try to explain to them is that these people had a team around them. Entrepreneurs need to find the right teammates in order to take their business to the next level,” said Colligan.