The recent news has not all been good for the First Angel Network, but Director and Co-Founder Ross Finlay is focusing on the positive, especially his chance to once again host the National Angel Capital Organization, or NACO, Summit in October.
``It will be fabulous,’’ Finlay said in an interview Friday. ``It’s going to be even better than the last one.’’
Anyone who’s spent time with Finlay might find it difficult to believe anything could be better than the last Naco Summit in Halifax in 2008. He’s never been shy about describing its wonders (and, incidentally, others agree with him) and he’s insisting the conference at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront on Oct. 24-26 will exceed its predecessor.
It’s refreshing to hear Finlay so ebullient these days as FAN has suffered a rare setback in its portfolio.
Adventus Inc., a Halifax-based music education software developer, was placed in receivership in April, the first time any of the 19 FAN-backed companies has gone belly-up. Finlay expressed some sadness at the news, but he added that the overall performance of the FAN portfolio has been strong.
Many FAN members make the minimum investment of $10,000 in a range of companies, which means they build up a portfolio of investments and expect one or two of them to fail.
Finlay came to life when he described plans for the NACO Summit. As one of the truly active angel networks in the country, FAN has a reputation for organizing splendid events and this year’s conference will feature top flight speakers, an associated exhibit and some fun features.
There will be an exhibit and conference at the World Trade and Convention Centre on angel investing as economic development, presented by the Angel Resource Centre of Overland Park, Kansas. Springboard Atlantic, the organization that promotes commercialization at Atlantic Canadian universities, will also present a technology showcase.
The Naco Summit will also feature short debates throughout the program, modeled on the CBC radio show, The Debaters. The subjects will be of interest to investors and entrepreneurs, such as whether companies should accept government funding.
In another piece of FAN-related news, the network’s esteemed investment analyst Nicole LeBlanc is returning to the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation in Fredericton to serve as Finance Director. LeBlanc has a passion for young companies and her duties will include helping NBIF portfolio companies to prepare their accounts.