Clate Mask, co-founder and CEO of Infusionsoft
Glass Door

One year ago, Clate Mask, co-founder and CEO of Infusionsoft, delivered a powerful keynote message at the East Valley Partnership Economic Forum.

He shared that “the ingredients for a successful innovation hub to attract entrepreneurs is talent with an entrepreneurial and engineering focus, capital and government support in tightly bound communities.”

In analyzing Clate’s message, we found that our region is filled with entrepreneurs with great business ideas, but they often lack funding options to start or grow their businesses. Thus, finding capital, as defined in financial terms as assets or funds available to a business, has been on our minds.

Specifically, we have been brainstorming about how to find more capital or funds for our start-up or fast-growing companies in the East Valley.

An idea to locate more funds has been identified by several partners in our region. This new regional initiative will provide entrepreneurs with one more key resource – access to early-stage funding.

The proposed approach is to identify, educate and activate “angel investors” who will want to support and invest in local companies.

Many may not know what it takes to be an angel investor – or even think that angel investing is something that they could do – so an important part of the initiative is to raise awareness and educate our community on the ins and outs of angel investing.

A simple description of an angel investor is someone who invests their own money into new start-ups or early-stage companies in exchange for an equity share of the business.

In addition to providing capital, angels often mentor companies in their investment portfolio to help them grow. While return on investment is the ultimate measure of success, many angels are also motivated by a desire to give back to their local community by supporting promising entrepreneurs. 

Regional business leaders believe that angel investing and this initiative will present the opportunity to make a difference for the business ideas that need capital to grow and succeed.

We are passionate about startup success and continuing to build a reputation for our region as the “Innovation and Technology Hub of the Southwest.”

The awareness and education of angel investing will include six workshops that will be available to the community. Monthly workshops will begin in early October, with each being an hour in length and free of charge.

Attendees will learn how to become an accredited investor as defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange and how to evaluate startup companies and their potential for success.

After identifying and educating, the final step of the initiative will be to activate. To provide investments opportunities for local angel investors to support local startups and early-stage companies.

Identify. Educate. Activate. Interested in learning more about the PHX East Valley Angel Investor Initiative? Additional details can be found at

– John Lewis is president/CEO if the East Valley Partnership.


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