By BILL WARNER, Special to LTW

Editor’s note: Bill Warner writes “The Angel Connection” which is a regular feature in WRAL Local Tech Wire. LTW asked consultant Bill Warner to share advice for entrepreneurs seeking angel investors and/or venture capital investment. He is chairman of the , an angel investor network with members throughout the Southeast.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Every day of his life, John Draper had time for an entrepreneur who needed help. Now we have lost John to an untimely death, but his influence on the world of entrepreneurs will long be felt.

I am proud to have known John from the time he started the rejuvenation of the in Research Triangle Park. From the first day I met him he always wanted to know how he could make First Flight a success.

John, , wanted to know how to approach state government with a positive message about the future of First Flight. He wanted to meet the movers and shakers in the area.

He had a flood of new ideas coming out of his head on how to help entrepreneurs create successful businesses.

To say that John had energy is an understatement. He was a gusher of compassion, advocacy and innovation when it came to finding ways to help entrepreneurs.

My closest relationship with John was on the board of the Triangle Accredited Capital Forum, a local angel investor network. John was one of the original board members who helped us establish our founding principles and was a day-to-day critic of where we needed to focus.

He was always available to coach the entrepreneurs through their business plan presentations and would go the extra mile or two to help them meet people they needed to meet.

We had some heated debates about the viability of businesses that approached us, and in every case John spoke from his love for the entrepreneur and his sincere interest in helping them be successful.

Our hearts and prayers go out to John’s family as they deal with John’s passing. John will be greatly missed in our community.

There will be a memorial service and celebration of John’s life on Tuesday, July 13th, from 3 to 6 pm, at the First Flight Venture Center at 2 Davis Drive in RTP.

About the author: Bill Warner is the Managing Partner of , a business consulting firm in the Research Triangle Park area of central North Carolina, is the chairman of the , an angel investor network with members throughout the southeast, and is the Executive Director of a business mentoring organization.

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