NextGen Angels’ partner Eric Koester had a hunch it wouldn’t be hard to find a group of eager young Raleigh-Durham entrepreneurs interested in investing together in startups.

Just four months later, he’s got a who’s who of at least 40 local startup founders and executives ready to start vetting deals in the Triangle and across the increasingly national angel network. They hail from later stage startups like Automated Insights, WedPics, Zift Solutions and Republic Wireless as well as early stage players like RocketBolt, Fabl and Upswing. Some agencies, consultants, existing VCs and ecosystem builders are involved, and there’s one craft brewer in Lonerider Brewing CEO Sumit Vohra.

The chapter kicks off tonight with an event at American Underground in Durham. 

NextGen is a big deal for the region. Besides that it introduces a new crop of people to angel investing and gives them a way to share in the success of other local companies, it also opens up another funding option to our still capital-strapped community and has the potential to expose local startups to investors across the nation. Combined with a fresh Triangle Angel Partners fund, Cofounders Capital, the Duke Angel Network and new Triangle Venture Alliance, early stage capital may get a bit easier to find here.

Joining NextGen was a no-brainer for Derek Holt, a Duke University grad who moved back to Raleigh last summer after years working for the Startup America Partnership and in the DC startup community. He’s now president at K4Connect.
“It’s about activating people who are often really busy building their companies to get engaged with the next generation,” he says. That pay-it-forward mentality is important for building a strong startup ecosystem, he believes, and mirrors some of the work he did around the nation at Startup America.

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