One of the Triangle’s most active angel investors with money wagered on Wedpics, Adzerk, Groundfloor, Offline Media, Rocketbolt, SnapYeti, and Trinket, says the lack of crowdfunding is going to hurt startups in N.C. But he also supports GroundFloor’s move to Georgia where its crowdlending model already is being rolled out. 

The investor is Mark Easley, and he’s been the most outspoken private sector advocate of the NC JOBS Act that would make crowdfunding in the state reality. But the bill went down to defeat in the N.C. General Assembly on Wednesday when the House overwhelmingly rejected a Senate bill that packed crowdfunding alongside other controversial issues.

Coincidentally, GroundFloor, which focuses on crowdlending, announced a new $1 million round of funding this week in which Easley participated. And the startup said it would move its headquarters to Atlanta. While the failure of the NC JOBS Act was not cited as a reason for the move, Georgia legislative leaders have obviously embraced this emerging way to fund startups.

“I support their move, and I actually strongly suggested that they do that back early in the year so they could maximize their traction and validate their model in the much larger Atlanta real estate market first,” Easley told WRAL TechWire. ”They have been exceeding their goals in that regard all year.”

But crowdfunding is much bigger than just GroundFloor to Easley, given his growing investment portfolio. And what other companies will either move – or choose not to locate in N.C.?

“[W]ithout our crowdfunding bill we will lose out on plenty of new opportunities to fund startups and small business like is already happening in the U.K. and other states like Georgia,” Easley complained.

Easley invested in GroundFloor because he likes the new model for financing real estate deals – and he likes the founders: CEO Brian Dally and partner Nick Bhargava.

“They are the first crowdfunding company to enable everyday investors to invest in real estate projects using debt offerings,” Easley explained. “They want to be the LendingClub of real estate, and they have a very good chance of doing it. Like with any investment, the team is the most important factor, and Brian and Nick have a great combination of skills to go after this new sector.”

GroundFloor fit Easley’s model for investment, which includes several criteria:

“I am a strong believer in the lean startup model as advocated by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf. The idea is that a startup is not yet a company, it is an entity in search of a business model that works. That process typically takes one to two years. So I look for strong founders who are passionate about their very early idea stage companies and try to help them figure out what they are going to become.” 

Given how active Easley is,  he is well aware of the region’s deal flow. He’s convinced no crowdfunding will hurt.

“There are many [startups] that could have taken advantage of the bill had it passed,” he said. “But now they will have to look for different methods to finance their growth.”