By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold
Corey: That’s how it went from there, and it developed. I worked part time for my brother for a couple of years, and then I ended up moving out to western Massachusetts to work full time for him.
We were doing consulting work for entrepreneurs. We learned so much about the way investors and entrepreneurs interact and how investors like to be talked to and what kind of things turn them on, what kind of things scare them. So, we started actually working for entrepreneurs doing consulting work, teaching them how to make presentations, how to write executive summaries, and so forth.
And I was doing that, and then two members in RVI, they own a bunch of insurance agencies all over the state, and they said, Hey, you’re a sales guy, and I said, I have no experience in sales. And they said, We just know, you’re a sales guy, we can tell. And we’ve got an office back where you’re from – on the other side of the state in New Bedford, where I had just moved from – and the place is stagnant, it’s not growing, and we want to switch up over there and we want to revitalize that office.
So they asked me if I would move back over here and do that. That’s actually what I do full time now. I’m the director of sales and marketing in that office in New Bedford, and I still work part time for my brother running RVI.
Irina: Tell us about Angel Catalyst?
Corey: That’s my brother’s company. RVI contracts us to manage their groups, so Angel Catalyst manages River Valley Investors and also consults. I still do consulting work occasionally, but I’ve had to scale back a lot. A friend of mine is starting his own company and I’m doing some work on his website for him. My brother still does consulting, too, but, again, he has so many projects going on that he’s had to scale back a lot on that. The gentleman I mentioned earlier, Joseph Steig, now does something else called VentureWell. It’s investing in seed-stage companies that are too early for a group like RVI to get involved in. And he hired my brother to help him with that.
Irina: Where is VentureWell?
Corey: VentureWell is also in western Massachusetts and it acts like a fund, whereas RVI is not a fund. At RVI, all members invest individually, they make all their decisions individually, and there’s no fund. So, if three people want to invest, three people can invest. If ten of them want to invest in a deal, ten of them do. VentureWell is a fund which Joseph Steig is running.
Irina: I understand VentureWell is a fund, but RVI is an angel network, right?
Corey: Yes, RVI is an organized network of investors where we all view the deals together and my brother and I coordinate the entire process. But when push comes to shove, everybody makes his or her own individual decision about where he or she wants to put the money.
Irina: How many angels do you have at RVI now?
Corey: I believe that we are at 30 or 31. Actually, yesterday was our annual social event. Every summer we throw a big party, and we had three people let us know that they wanted to join. So, we’ll probably have a few more members after that.
Irina: How is the network organized? Do they have to pay membership dues?
Corey: Yes, they pay membership dues. I believe it’s around $2,500 a year.