SOURCE: Keiretsu Forum

Keiretsu Forum

November 18, 2009 11:00 ET

Keiretsu Forum Continues to Fund Entrepreneurs During the Economic Downturn

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 18, 2009) - As the US struggles to move out of a major recession, funding for entrepreneurs has shrunk nationally. Yet even with the downturn, Keiretsu Forum continues to fund entrepreneurs and their emerging companies.

"I presented to Keiretsu this year (2009) and had good success raising money," says Wolfgang Daum, President and CEO of Boston Heartlab. "Keiretsu has an ordered and systematic investment approach. Venture Capitalists keep 2% of their fund as a management fee to maintain their operation. Angel groups don't have that luxury. They charge angels and presenting companies a fee to cover expenses. Keiretsu is not the only Angel group doing so, but it is one of the best structured in the country. I recommend Keiretsu and will return to them to raise further funds."

Keiretsu Forum, founded in the San Francisco East Bay in 2000 during the dot.com crash, is a professionally managed association. Keiretsu Forum facilitates monthly meetings between more than 850 angel investor members and start-ups seeking capital in 18 chapters on three continents.

Keiretsu Forum has funded more than 225 companies at over $200MM during the past nine years. For entrepreneurs, Keiretsu Forum offers a structured approach to private equity investing. During the past three years, of the 4-5 companies that present each month in northern California, half received investment traction. Not all start-ups resonate with the Keiretsu community of investors, all of whom invest as individuals. However, every entrepreneur goes through the same due diligence and briefing process and many companies that do not receive funding benefit from targeted introductions to industry leaders and possible mentors.

Keiretsu Forum operates by invitation only. Angel investor members pay an annual membership fee. Entrepreneurs in Series A and B rounds pay to present after receiving 8-10 hours of free services.

Fees for entrepreneurs vary by location and chapter size. Northern California has 4 seasoned Keiretsu chapters with 350 members and charges $1500 per chapter to present. Keiretsu Forum Pacific Northwest has a similar membership and follows the same model. Newer chapters like New York City -- operating since March 2009 -- charge lower fees until membership grows. Entrepreneurs who wish a larger audience of angels are encouraged to apply to a seasoned chapter. Those who want to minimize costs are encouraged to apply to newer chapters.

Keiretsu Forum offers more than capital to entrepreneurs by providing sector resources and mentoring. In September 2008, Keiretsu Forum and Verge, a San Francisco consulting firm, founded the Entrepreneur Boot Camp. Keiretsu member and Verge CEO/Founder Greta Remington co-leads a one-day intensive session teaching entrepreneurs the ins and outs of the typical entrepreneur funding process. Instructors are investors and experts with extensive industry expertise. After one year, the Boot Camp has 180 graduates.

In the spirit of giving back to the community, in 2004 Keiretsu founded the Charitable Foundation, a 501 (c) (3). Keiretsu members have donated more than $1MM to 105 charities.

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