Friday, February 29, 2008

TAN Enjoys Time in the Sun

The TacomaAngel Network has swiftly become a major economic driver in Pierce County. At a recent meeting, the TacomaAngel Network Board announced that since the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber founded the organization in the spring of 2006, TAN has facilitated the investment of $3 million by its members to small businesses.

In just 2 years, it has also grown its membership base to a size that was not achieved by a similar organization in Bellingham for almost 10 years. Companies and investors alike are saying that the high-touch TAN is not only a regional success, but a model for other communities around the country.

At a recent TAN meeting, four new Northwest start-ups and early-stage companies presented to about 60 onlookers at the Tacoma Club. The companies represented cities from all over the Northwest: Fox Island WA, Beaverton OR, Bellevue WA and Redmond WA. Their products ranged from software to board games to high-tech devices; but their goal was the same.

“The majority of these companies are disciplined, ambitious and poised for growth,” said Paul Ellis, TAN’s secretary and treasurer. “These are the kind of companies investors like.”

Out of the almost 200 companies that apply each year for funding on the organization’s website about 100 are scored and ranked, and about 50 are pre-screened and coached in person. Twenty-five finalists present to members. Fifty percent of these finalists will most likely receive funding - one of the highest funding ratios in the Northwest.

(L to R) Paul Ellis, John Dimmer, Larry Kopp

John B. Dimmer and Larry S. Kopp co-chair the organization and work closely with Paul Ellis, who is also the director of metropolitan development for the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber. All three men were honored at a recent TAN meeting for their exemplary service.

Four new board members were also added by the election of the membership in the board’s first expansion since its founding. The new board members include Greg Olson, Bjorne Hansen, Paul Miller and Dawn Lucien. While Ellis will soon relocate to Illinois, the TAN Board plans on adding David Graybill, President of the Chamber, to its list of board members.

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