CHAPEL HILL – After a little more than five years, the Carolina Angel Network (CAN) continues to provide investment opportunities and mentorship to startups connected with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Launched in early 2017, CAN’s network of member investors has invested more than $26 million in funding for 24 companies, generating more than $108 million for startups.
Seeking to expand its future support for startups, CAN has announced the hire of Ted Zoller, Ph.D., as the angel network’s new executive director. Zoller is a longstanding faculty member and entrepreneurial leader at Carolina and a T.W. Lewis Distinguished Clinical Scholar of Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. He will focus on building and cultivating external relationships for the network.

“I am honored to serve as the leader of CAN, building on the successful foundation already built by the network,” says Zoller. “Working with leaders in our impactful entrepreneurship culture at Carolina, I am setting out to make CAN the leading university-based entrepreneurship and investor network in the nation. We will be successful because entrepreneurship is in UNC-Chapel Hill’s DNA.”

Highly regarded in regional and national entrepreneurial communities, Zoller teaches and conducts research on entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he has been recognized by many national organizations for his work. He served as the director of the business school’s Entrepreneurship Center for 15 years and is an active practicing entrepreneur and angel investor. Over that period, Zoller helped create notable programs, including the Startup-UNC venture development program, Launch Chapel Hill accelerator, the Blackstone Entrepreneurship Network, the Adams Apprenticeship and BLUE, an entrepreneurship community embedded within an on-campus residence hall and makerspace.

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“This will be vital as our angel network continues to grow”

As one of the largest angel investor networks in the country, CAN makes financial investments and mentorship possible for UNC-affiliated startups. The network recruits UNC-Chapel Hill alumni to its network and provides them with access to early-stage investment deals with UNC-affiliated companies. Zoller’s significant entrepreneurial expertise and national connections position him to further expand CAN’s impact.

“Ted has a very broad and deep reputation in the entrepreneurship community,” says Randy Myer, managing director of CAN. “With more than 25 years of experience in teaching entrepreneurship, he’s built a circle of UNC alumni and entrepreneurs that extends across the country. This will be vital as our angel network continues to grow.”

With more than 400 members, CAN helps early-stage startups grow and flourish by providing advice, networks and capital that the young companies need to become well positioned for success. For its investors, CAN curates and provides visibility into the best UNC-affiliated startups.

“Ted’s long experience in investing in early-stage startups gives him a great background for knowing when deals are not appropriate because they’re likely to fail,” says Myer. “He’ll have a great sense for deals that have great potential for success.”

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Zoller will continue to teach several courses

As an experienced entrepreneur and early-stage investor himself, Zoller brings useful knowledge and hard-earned wisdom to CAN investors.

“I believe that university alumni networks can be activated to be one of the most impactful catalysts for the development and investment into Carolina’s most promising ventures and founders,” says Zoller. “I’ve seen the power of UNC in building an entrepreneurial flywheel and look forward to taking CAN into the future to support our alumni and student entrepreneurs by building the best university-based angel and advisor network comprised of Tar Heel alums and friends.”

Zoller will continue to teach several courses, allowing him to keep his finger on the pulse of innovation emerging from within the business school, the university and beyond. He will also continue to collaborate on innovation initiatives with Innovate Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill’s central team for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development, which oversees CAN operations.

For more information about CAN, visit


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