News

RVI Welcomes New Ecosystem Member – Chris Huntley

We are very excited to welcome our new ecosystem member Chris Huntley to RVI!

Christopher L. Huntley is a Business Analytics professor at the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University, where he has served in various capacities, ranging from department chair to NCAA representative. He is currently director of Fairfield StartUp, a talent incubator that connects student entrepreneurs with potential advisors, mentors, customers, and private investors. StartUp’s annual Showcase event, where students pitch their ideas in front of a live audience, attracts ~2500 viewers each year.
 
Dr. Huntley earned a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. Prior to completing his doctoral studies he worked as a consulting data analyst in the transportation and defense industries. A particular highlight was a project for ‘Carvin’ Marvin Runyon to reorganize / re-turf the US Postal Service in 1992; the resulting zip code maps are still in use today. He also played a key role in the Conrail / CSX Transportation merger in 1996.

We are very excited to welcome Chris to the RVI family. You can check out more about Chris on his LinkedIn page.

RVI Welcomes a New Member – Ali Usman!

We are excited to welcome our new member Ali Usman to RVI!

Ali is the Founder and CEO of PixelEdge, where he helps businesses monetize their content and data through our enterprise-level web applications and mobile apps platform. He is also a founder of Click Workspace in Northampton MA and Credit Market Intelligence, prior to which he served as President of Pioneer Valley Capital.

We are very excited to welcome Ali to the RVI family. You can check out more about Ali on his LinkedIn page,

RVI Welcomes a New Member – Steve Erickson!

Please welcome our new member Steve Erickson to RVI!

Steve is an experienced Principal with a demonstrated history of working in the accounting industry. He is uniquely skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Budgeting, Affordable Housing, Tax Preparation, and Strategic Planning. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) focused in Accounting from Drake University BS in Accounting, and a Trinity College MA in Economics.

We are very excited to welcome Steve to the RVI family. You can check out more about Steve on his LinkedIn page.

RVI’s New Model 9 Months in: 2x members, more investments, more diversification

As mentioned previously, in January RVI pivoted to focus on speed, convenience, and syndicated deals. In March we switched to meeting online permanently.

The results:

  • Membership has nearly doubled in 9 months.
  • Membership is growing at the fastest rate we’ve ever grown in seventeen years.
  • We’re investing in more deals than we’ve ever invested in before.
  • We’re helping our members get more diversification than they’ve ever had before.

I’m proud as hell of what we’ve done in less than a year, and excited to see where the next year takes us. We’ve accomplished all of these results because of the incredible feedback our members, past and present, generously gave in Q4 of 2019. I can’t thank them enough for helping ensure our region continues to have a source of high-risk capital for startups!

If you aren’t familiar with the River Valley Investors (RVI), we are a network of successful business executives and entrepreneurs who invest in exciting startups. No one investor has all of the time and expertise needed to fully vet all deals. That is why we only look at startups that have already passed the hurdle of securing another angel group or venture fund as their lead investor. RVI members then leverage each other’s expertise and networks to vet the opportunities and come to a decision in just a few short hours of work, then co-invest to secure optimal terms.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, learn what is required to be an RVI member.

RVI Welcomes a New Member – Spike Behn!

Please welcome our new member Spike Behn to RVI!

Spike works in data collection and analysis of current and emerging trends in the luxury buyer market and the luxury market purchase triggers vs perceived realities, with a strong emphasis on value perceptions vs product validity and price efficiency. He has served as President of Serenity Enterprises, President of Signs by Tomorrow, a Bond Trader at Nuveen, and a Bond Trader at Irving Trust Company.

We are very excited to welcome Spike to the RVI family. You can check out more about Spike on his LinkedIn page.

United Aircraft Technologies and IgnitePost Set to Present to RVI on September 16th

United Aircraft Technologies – We modernize and save money in maintenance of electrical systems for the transportation industry by replacing the metal clamps with our sensing clamps that can map, monitor, and diagnoses faults through AI and AR. Check out an Executive Summary here. Syndicated by Alchemy
IgnitePost – IgnitePost is a handwritten mail service that enables businesses to develop deeper relationships with customers & prospects. We do this by combining software and robotics to send real pen & ink letters that are indistinguishable from human handwriting. Check out an Executive Summary here. Syndicated by Launch413

River Valley Investors Invests in QSM Diagnostics

Western-Massachusetts based angel network River Valley Investors (RVI) has completed an investment in QSM Diagnostics.

QSM Diagnostics provides the only diagnostic instrument-sensor method for identifying and monitoring biomarkers produced by common bacteria in ear pus. In under 2 minutes, electronic sensors are used to detect the unique quorum sensing molecules that each bacteria produces and secretes. Their Pseudomonas sensor has been shown to be effective in pre-clinical human and animal studies, as well as with initial dog ear swabs.

This is River Valley Investors’ first investment in ApprentiScope.

River Valley Investors is the premier angel investor group in western Massachusetts.

We’re Stronger Together: CT River Valley

Startups in Hartford, New Haven, Worcester, Vermont, Western New Hampshire, and my own Western Massachusetts often struggle to get funding from the investors in Boston and NYC. I understand why: there is so much good deal flow in those places that investors don’t need to look farther to find great opportunities.

Meanwhile, because of our low population density and a cultural norm of meeting in person, there are few parts of the CT River Valley (From New Haven, CT up to Burlington, VT) that have enough angel investors to form and sustain a group. The groups that formed are small, so they tend to write smaller checks and have less specialization than our counterparts in Boston and NYC.

COVID-19 has changed everything. Our group, River Valley Investors, switched to meeting online back in March. Originally this was so that we could continue to serve our members and entrepreneurs. But now it is starting to look like the path we should keep. Within a month of switching to online meetings, we signed up our first member from Worcester (an hour away by car). At this month’s meeting, we had more than a dozen potential members from Connecticut attending. I’ve now had conversations with many regional leaders up and down the CT River Valley who have long wished for a way to aggregate enough angel investors to have an impact.

We are stronger together. Our cultures are more similar to each other than they are to the big cities. And perhaps most importantly, we know there are great startups in our region that the big cities are overlooking. If we work together, we can fund these companies and see them create prosperity in our communities and financial returns for us.

If you are interested in investing in startups in the CT river basin, I invite you to learn more about us and attend a meeting.