Manitoba Looks to the Minnesota Angel Network

February 15, 2013

Three start-up companies based in Manitoba took part in the Minnesota Angel Network advisory program in January. Innovate Manitoba and the Life Science Association of Manitoba, both nonprofit organizations that support the development of new technologies and companies in the province, enrolled the med-tech start-ups with MNAN.

Leaders of the two groups are investigating MNAN’s advisory and certification program as they consider establishing a similar program in Manitoba. Their immediate goal, however, was to get rigorous analysis of the three companies and their readiness to raise capital from investors and grow.

“It was a way of getting a multidisciplinary view of the business” and doing it in “a safe setting,” says Marshall Ring, an executive representing a company with a portable, noninvasive technology for measuring the degree of atherosclerosis in a person’s arteries. The other two companies that came to MNAN have developed new imaging technology for radiologic and surgical procedures and drug discovery focused on cancer treatments.

“One’s always a little concerned about going to the market to get feedback,” Ring says. By presenting his company’s technology, business model, and investment opportunity to MNAN’s panel, including med-tech industry veterans, he learned that his business is on the right track, he says, and that there’s “an acquisitive market out there for us.” He also discovered what the company needs to do differently without turning off a potential investor or buyer, he adds. This wasn’t, he says as an example, “our one chance to go to Boston Scientific and pitch.”

Ring’s company had raised $75,000 earlier from the Manitoba Knights investor group, and now has another $50,000 from them “as a direct result” of his trip to the Twin Cities, Ring says. The guidance and relationships gained in the MNAN advisory session gave the Knights confidence to invest further.

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“It was a way of getting a multidisciplinary view of the business and doing it in “a safe setting." -Marshall Ring, BCC