Happy October! If you haven't noticed yet, we’re happy to have launched a new version of the Baltimore Angels website and hopefully and accurately have explained the change in our model. In short, Baltimore Angels is no longer a membership based / group with annual membership dues. We have simplified our model to be a subscription based private placement syndicate versus a membership model. While we still offer a “membership” option, our goal is to open up our syndicated investment opportunities to a broader network of investors with the hopes of unlocking more capital in the region, while also creating a sustainable model for our business.
1. Recent Investment Activity:
This week we are happy to announce that we just closed our 17th Series investment with a $60,000 investment in FlikShop. We’re particularly excited about this investment, as Flikshop offers an important solution to improve the outcomes of incarcerated individuals, and streamlines communication between inmates and their legal counsel and outside services. You can find some brief information below, and at their website Flikshop.
FlikShop: The Instagram for inmates. An app based platform that allows users to take a picture and write a note and for < $.99, a postcard is sent to prison inmates. Flikshop is trying to help end recidivism for the 2.3M US, 10.74M globally incarcerated inmates by keeping them connected to their friends and family. Flikshop has three revenue models: App/Web (direct-to-consumer), Angels (community impact), and Enterprise (business/orgs).
2. Series LLC Investments Portfolio IRR:
As managers of our Series, LLC investment vehicle, we stay close to our portfolio companies and try to be as value added as possible. We are also very happy to report that as of October 1st, the Baltimore Angels Series LLC portfolio is performing at a 55% blended IRR. While we understand this is an unrealized IRR, we are happy with the portfolio’s performance to date and are feeling positive about the future trajectory of the majority of our portfolio.
3. Prospective Companies in Diligence
This App Saves Lives (TASL): Did you know that 10 people are killed per day in the United States as a result of distracted driving? This App Saves Lives (TASL) intends to put a dent in that number through positive reinforcement and a rewards based system. TASL was founded by serial entrepreneur, Ryan Frankel after he was subjected to severe injuries falling from his bicycle as a result of a distracted driver not seeing him on the road. TASL was just honored by the Tech In Motion as the best Tech start up of the year in Philadelphia.
TASL is a mobile app-based solution that rewards drivers who choose not to engage in phone-based distracted driving. TASL provides businesses with an innovative digital marketing platform to acquire new customers. TASL has a very simple business model, charging brands a monthly or annual fee to be on the platform. These fees are variable and are assessed based on the amount of traffic that TASL brings to the brand. The brands that are signed up, offer coupons on their products or services that cost TASL points which are earned by the individual users for non-distracted driving. From a brand’s perspective, they get the positive PR for being a part of the solution to the distracted driving epidemic and they will often see an upsell on the coupon offered. From a user perspective, they stay safe while driving and are rewarded for that good behavior with coupons to their favorite businesses.
For a point of reference, a $50 Amazon gift card costs a user 240 TASL points. For every minute that you drive undistracted you earn one TASL point.
ThinkBig Networks: A fiber optic based broadband service provider. ThinkBig has started their fourth year of business and they have networks in Kent County, MD and Baltimore City, and they are about to begin building networks in Queen Anne's County MD, and Charles County MD. ThinkBig has recently been awarded approximately eight million dollars in grant and Cares Act funding for the purpose of developing fiber optic networks in underserved areas. The six million dollar grant for Charles County, MD was the largest in Maryland this year and will allow ThinkBig to build over 100 miles of new fiber optic network over the next 24 months.
ThinkBig Networks is a current Baltimore Angels Series, LLC portfolio company. They have been granted capital from the State of Maryland to build fiber infrastructure in Harford County and Charles County. This current raise is being utilized to build additional infrastructure in under-served areas, allowing ThinkBig to expand their overall network and rapidly move into more densely populated areas.
Graff Golf: Graff has developed a smart golf ball and analytics platform that enables a golfer to track detailed analytics of their swing, as well as find the location of their ball. The ball is embedded with patented Bluetooth and charging technologies, with the ability to track score, launch angle, velocity, and many additional data points. Golfers are able to easily view these analytics using a smartphone app. The app enables both the amateur and professional golfer to analyze their game and track their training progression.
Graff is raising a $500K convertible note at a $4M valuation and a 10% discount. The capital has been allotted to their marketing, salaries, and inventory. They have a patent on the Bluetooth ball analyzing technology within the ball that is able to function at a high impact and at rotations of over 9,000 RPM. This technology within the ball could be applied to a variety of different sports, baseball, in particular. In addition, they have a patent pending for the charging technology. Being that the technology is embedded within the golf ball, the ability to charge the device was a hurdle that Graff has managed to overcome. Traditional wireless chargers are unable to charge a phone that they cannot at least directly contact but Graff has developed a charging technology that works through the thick rubber core and covering on a golf ball. This technology has a variety of applications including the potential to charge an electric vehicle.
4. The Future of The Baltimore Angels:
We mentioned in our August update that the Baltimore Angels would be moving to a subscription based private placement model moving forward. In 2021, we will have two options for participation with our syndicated deals. We will offer investors a pay as you go option where a 4% upfront subscription fee will be assessed on each investment made through our Series LLC. Alternatively, we will be offering a yearly subscriber option with a $2,000 upfront subscription fee. In lieu of the traditional membership fee model, we will be implementing a carried interest on all new investments through the Series LLC. This has already begun to allow us to expand our investor base and unlock more capital in the region.
Additionally, we are planning to do Series investments that are focused on social impact, black founders, women founders and beyond. These plans are in the works and we look forward to presenting them to you in the very near future.
Thank you for your time and attention. We appreciate your interest and your participation in supporting and growing great companies here in the region and beyond. If you have any questions or would like more information on either raising capital or investing please don’t hesitate to reach out via email here.
All my best,