March 5, 2021

Training angels: Fledge accelerator founder leads new courses for budding startup investors


Michael “Luni” Libes, founder of Fledge. (Fledge Photo)

Folks curious about making angel investments in promising startups can sign up for online training through the new Angel Accelerator program.

The training is offered through Fledge, a Seattle-based worldwide network of accelerators, investors and mentors focused on supporting entrepreneurs internationally who are creating companies with social missions. Luni Libes is the founder and managing director of Fledge, and himself an entrepreneur of multiple ventures.

The session kicks off Wednesday with free, weekly webinars that run through February. Paid programming is available from March until mid-May. The program is available for accredited investors.

Last June was Fledge’s inaugural Angel Accelerator session, which drew 18 participants from the Seattle Sound. Fledge also runs startup accelerators, which attracts applicants internationally.

Now the organization is working to scale its angel investing training program, with a few expected to run this year. When the US-based program starts Wednesday, Fledge is simultaneously launching a training for angel investors in Africa.

The Fledge Angel Accelerator program was inspired and assisted by the Seattle Angel Conference, Libes said. SAC runs a semi-annual 5-month program designed to train and educate accredited investors. Libes views his program as a next step for the conference graduates.

Libes is a proponent of addressing social and environmental challenges by investing in entrepreneurs, as opposed to relying heavily on philanthropic, nonprofit support. He urges others to consider backing socially conscious ventures that aim to make a difference – not just a massive return.

“You don’t have to follow this model of raising missions of dollars and pray for an exit someday,” he said. “We’re pioneering a new space and every day we’re helping people do better. My only complaint is the whole industry needs more money. ”

Fledge has put its startup accelerator program on hold until people can meet again in person for daily – a model that seems to work better than remote, weekly sessions. Since its launch in 2012, Fledge has helped launch similar accelerators around the globe, including programs in Boston, Barcelona, ​​Lima, Nairobi and Padua, Italy.

Last year, the startup program had 842 applicants that were whittled down to 25 companies in 11 countries that made their pitches. The newly-minted angel investors from the Angel Accelerator invested in nine of the startups – eight in Africa and one in South Carolina.

“There are so many good entrepreneurs out there, so many good ideas,” Libes said.




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