The Tulsa-based venture capital firm Atento Capital launched 412 Angels, a first-of-its-kind angel investing program that will help educate new investors and support early-stage start-ups in the corridor connecting Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas.
Atento Capital will partner with the Northwest Arkansas Council, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation on the effort, with the goal of increasing the total number of angel investors – high net-worth individuals who invest in seed an early-stage start-ups – who are contributing to the success and growth of start-ups in the region.
The launch of 412 Angels marks another significant step in the momentum of Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas’ collective quest to build one of the most competitive tech economies in the country with strengths in e-commerce, supply chain, energy tech and transportation – anchored by Northwest Arkansas’ recent commitment to become a global leader in transportation innovation by 2030.
“By helping more local leaders become angel investors, we will only deepen our region’s ability to support, launch, and scale early-stage startups. It is our hope that this network can serve as an introduction to our tech scene, and ultimately help new investors advise local startups, help traditionally underinvested founders attract new funding, or even found companies of their own,” said Atento Capital’s Managing Partner Michael Basch. “With a robust angel network, top-tier educational programs, and established local companies like Walmart, J.B. Hunt, Tyson Food and BOK Financial, which are eager to partner with new startups, our region has all of the ingredients to develop a thriving tech ecosystem.”
Angel investments currently represent 90% of outside equity raised by startups after friends and family. 412 Angels will build a network of leaders across the corridor – including corporate leaders, successful high-growth startup founders, academics and members of the investment community – through a series of educational sessions and direct learning opportunities. Top investors from around the country will also participate in regular programming designed to improve local members’ knowledge of start-up investing as an asset class.
The network will provide program participants with the following services:
- Teaching the fundamentals of angel investing through educational resources.
- Connecting investors across the region through in-person networking events.
- Providing access to high-quality investment opportunities vetted through Atento Capital’s both local and national deal flow and due diligence process.
“This partnership is an important step towards the long-held goal of bridging the Northwest Arkansas and Tulsa communities through venture capital,” said Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “A sophisticated network of angel investors in the heartland will attract innovative startup companies and entrepreneurs and bolster the growing economies in both regions.”
Named as a homage to Route 412, the road that connects the two neighboring regions,
412 Angels will bridge the two communities and advance their position as a viable place to launch and scale tech companies, fueled, in part, by a robust and collaborative angel investor ecosystem.
The network debuted with a gathering at Thaden Fieldhouse in Bentonville. Individuals interested in learning more about the startup ecosystem in the region and participating in the 412 Angels Network as an investor, can visit 412Angels.com to learn more.