DENVER — Peter Adams, executive director of the Rockies Venture Club in Denver, was elected to the board of directors of the Angel Capital Association Board, a leading organization for angel investors.
The election is a significant step for Colorado, with Adams being the first in the state to be elected to the ACA’s board since its founding in 2004. Angel Capital Association is a professional association of angel investors across North America, with more than 13,000 accredited investors and 240 angel groups as part of its membership.
Under Adams, Rockies Venture Club has invested more than $30 million over the last 2½ years, with some of the capital injections coming from out-of-state partnerships through ACA angel groups. Rockies Venture Club has led investment rounds for more than 25 Colorado companies.
For Adams, after joining ACA about five years ago when he took over the Rockies Venture Club, one of the most important benefits to being part of the group has been his ability to learn.
“It’s really refreshing to see people who take investment seriously,” he told BizWest in a phone interview. After attending annual and regional conferences, Adams said, he started to get more engaged with ACA, even joining the education committee, a topic about which he’s most passionate.
Prior to serving as executive director of RVC, Adams had served as chief information officer, chief executive officer and as an adjunct professor at Colorado State University. He is co-author of Venture Capital for Dummies and founded BizGirls.org, a nonprofit CEO accelerator for high-school-aged women interested in starting e-commerce businesses.
Adams said that as a member of ACA and as a venture capitalist, he and Rockies Venture Club have been evangelists for Colorado startups and investment.
“We went to Japan last November and gave a whole talk about why Colorado is better than Silicon Valley,” he said. “So I’ve been an evangelist in that way. For over 40 percent of the deals we do, we bring in outside investors. People look at the deals we have and say, ‘oh my gosh, these are way better than what’s on the coast.’ Per capita, we have more startups than anywhere.”
As a board member, Adams said he hopes to grow that, namely through education.
“I’m really passionate about the education of angels,” he said. “There are lots of programs for the education of entrepreneurs but very few good, quality programs to educate investors on how to be angels.”
Adams said that in Colorado, fewer than 1 percent of accredited investors are actively involved in angel investing, whether because they don’t understand how it works or are intimidated by it. But by educating them, there can be more investment in early-stage companies.
He added that he also wants to help make investment more accessible, whether that be by promoting policy to expand the definition for accredited investors, or by helping more women become investors and be invested in.
“I think by developing knowledge and technology, we can increase access to investment opportunities,” he said.