Athens, Ohio (April 20, 2023) – The Athens Ohio Investment Alliance (www.athensohioinvestmentalliance.com) is pleased to announce its formation as a new angel investing group focused on supporting and promoting high-growth potential businesses in Athens and the surrounding region.
Comprised of local business leaders and investors, the AOIA aims to provide funding and mentorship to promising entrepreneurs, helping to fuel economic growth and job creation.
“Many of us in the fund know first-hand the importance of early-stage funding and business advising, and we know that high-growth companies can be built here because we’ve done it,’ said Michelle Greenfield, founding member and chair of the AOIA.
She and her husband, Geoff, founded Third Sun Solar, one of the largest solar companies in the Midwest. Third Sun Solar was purchased in 2022 by Kokosing Industrial, Inc. “Ultimately, our group supports the entrepreneurial culture in the region, and our communities will benefit with the growth of these companies.”
“Our region needs a high-performing, sustainable angel group that taps into Ohio Valley’s capital resources and business connections,” said Neill Lane, founding member and secretary of AOIA. “It’s a way to provide favorable returns to member investors and to make sure that promising companies are getting the business expertise and other support they need to succeed, support that can be difficult to access here.”
Lane was the founding CEO of Stirling Ultracold, an Athens, Ohio, company that delivered the first environmentally friendly, energy efficient, ultra-low temperature cooling products to customers worldwide. He led four rounds of fundraising as the company established cleantech manufacturing in Athens. In May 2021, the company was acquired by BioLife Solutions (NASDAQ: BLFS).
The AOIA plans to invest in a wide range of industries, including technology, healthcare, and renewable energy, among others. Members of the group have experience in a variety of fields, including finance, marketing, and operations, and will provide essential expertise and mentorship to the startups they support.
The AOIA partnered with the Appalachian Investors Alliance (appalachianinvestors.org), a non-profit corporation based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission through its POWER Grant program. AIA helped facilitate the fund’s formation and will provide fund management and technical services such as due diligence, deal structuring, valuation, closings, portfolio curation and bookkeeping. AIA has helped local investors establish 14 similar, successful angel investment funds throughout Appalachia.
“With AIA, we expand our reach. The AOIA becomes part of a much greater network of community-minded investors, business resources and deal flow opportunities,” said Geoffrey Morgan, founding member and treasurer of AOIA. Morgan is the former vice president and general manager for Quidel’s advance manufacturing subsidiary located in Athens. Prior to that, he served as the CFO for Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc. He led the corporate finance group and partnered with CEO Dave Scholl to guide the company through rapid growth and it’s 2010 acquisition by Quidel (NASDAQ: QDEL).
“AIA works with entrepreneurs to help them understand how to become “investment ready” from an investor’s standpoint,” Morgan added.
The AOIA is currently accepting applications from startups in the Athens County and surrounding region. Interested entrepreneurs can visit the group’s website, www.athensohioinvestmentalliance.com, to learn more about the application process and criteria for investment.