Pittsburgh-based and angel-backed IF Ventures closes on investment in its first startup company

Pittsburgh Business Times- Pittsburgh INNO

(By Nate Doughty)

A new Pittsburgh-based investment program backed by local angel investors has marked the close of its first capital infusion into a startup company.

IF Ventures, a joint program from Pittsburgh-based nonprofit economic development organization Idea Foundry made in partnership with Pittsburgh-based law firm Babst Calland, announced it invested over $300,000 into one of the program’s inaugural cohort of companies.

Chris Farmakis, a shareholder and board chair at Babst Calland, declined to disclose the name of the startup that received the investment citing confidentiality agreements made between the parties but noted that this is just the first of several deals the program is looking to make in the coming months.

Farmakis said the program isn’t to be likened to a fund like those raised by venture capital firms. Instead, IF Ventures serves as the vetter of hundreds of companies looking to take on investment and only selects a few firms to be presented to its cadre of angel investors who are open to deploying capital in budding enterprises.

There is no requirement that individuals in this program invest in every company, Farmakis said, though periodic investments must be made if investors wish to remain participants in the program.

“This is more about taking successful entrepreneurs, successful business people and people that have the ability to invest in these companies, aggregate them together and give them access in a painless way to make discernible investment decisions,” Farmakis said. “And that’s what we’re doing with this program.”

IF Ventures is expecting to close on its second investment soon and a second cohort of companies will be brought before the investors in its program next month.