Let it RAIN, times two

North Dakota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2006  | September 2006 issue

Much is made of the role of entrepreneurs in state economies, and North Dakota is now home to two new angel investor groups, one in Grand Forks and another in Bismarck-Mandan.

The new North Dakota funds have about a dozen members, which include both angel investors (wealthy individuals) and lending institutions that have put up a total of a half-million dollars to invest in projects they deem to be good opportunities. The goal of both funds is to expand the number of investors, as well as the amount of investment capital to $1.5 million.

Both investor groups were organized through RAIN Source Capital, a multistate network designed to seek out and support local, growing companies, and headquartered in St. Paul, Minn.

To date, according to the firm's Web site, RAIN funds have invested $20 million in 40 companies. But each RAIN fund is independent of the others and determines what industries and businesses to focus on given the expertise of each fund's members. The Grand Forks RAIN fund—dubbed the Valley Angel Investment Fund—has said it would focus on high-potential growth companies in value-added processing, ventures that spin out of research at the University of North Dakota and other expansion projects.

Ronald A. Wirtz