Top Angel Investors in Illinois

Last updated: January 16, 2024

Known for tech hubs like Chicago and Aurora, Illinois has quickly transformed and become one of the top states in the US. With around 5,000 startups and more than $200M million funded in 2023, many angels and VC firms have stepped into the startup landscape.

Thinking about who these angel investors might be and how can you secure funding?

Well, fear not!

The following is the list of some of the top 6 angel investors in Illinois.

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    Top Angel Investors in Illinois

    Even when cities like Chicago are known for hosting the highest number of angels and tech hubs, there are many VC firms and angels that fund startups throughout the state.

    Before pitching, it is recommended to do proper research from the official sites to avoid any later regrets.

    Enough said! Let’s jump onto the list.

    Bill Pescatello

    LinkedIn: Bill Pescatello | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Education, Food, Software, and Gaming.

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Investing for more than 15 years, Bill Pescatello is one of the top ranked angel investors in Illinois. Previously, He worked at GE Capital, where he helped finance early-stage life science companies, and was a Financial Analyst at Morgan Stanley. Throughout his career, Pescatello always had an interest in funding education and software-related startups.

    Unlike traditional VC firms, Bill Pescatello funds startups through different fundraising programs and networking events. He is an active member of the Chicago Booth entrepreneurial community and guides many startups through his workshops.

    The investment range of Bill Pescatello ranges from $100,000 to $2M. He invests in both early and seed-stage startups, with some of his famous portfolio companies being:

    Udemy: An online learning platform aimed at professional adults and students. It provides a platform for experts of any kind to create courses that can be offered to the public, either at no charge or for a tuition fee.

    Fooda: A food tech company that connects restaurants with people while at work. The company provides pop-up restaurants, catering, and delivery services.

    PerBlue: A mobile gaming company. They are the developers of the award-winning location-based, real-time strategy game Parallel Kingdom.

    Chicago Arch Angels


    Website: About Chicago ArchAngels - Chicago ArchAngels Chicago ArchAngels

    Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm

    Investment Interests: Fintech, Consumer Products, AI, and Medical. 

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Chicago Arch Angels is one of the most active fintech investors that fund startups in Illinois. The network was founded in 2012 and has funded around 50 startups, with a focus on fintech and software-related startups.

    When funding startups, the investors focus on ventures that can solve real-life problems. Looking at their portfolio companies, it is evident that Chicago Arch Angels highly prioritize uniqueness and only fund low-competition startups.

    Every year, Chicago Arch Angels fund more than 500,000 into seed and early-stage startups. The investment range of Chicago Arch Angels ranges from $500,000 to $5M.

    Some of their portfolio companies are:

    SetBone Medical: SetBone Medical is a company that develops novel bone cement for the treatment of spinal vertebrae fractures and other orthopedic procedures. Their technology developed acrylic bone cement. They have raised a total of $1.6M in funding.

    Autobon AI: Autobon AI is a company that focuses on upgrading existing semi-trucks into safer, smarter vehicles.  Autobon AI has raised a total of $1.3M in funding over three rounds.

    Verda: Verda is a company that connects retailers and couriers with legal cannabis to connect customers to easily accessible products. Verda has raised a total of $920,000 in funding over 2 rounds.

    Deborah Quazzo

    LinkedIn: Deborah Quazzo | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Education and Software

    Investment Stage: Seed

    Deborah Quazzo is also one of the most experienced angel investors in Illinois. With a history of working with several VC firms, Quazzo is currently working as the managing partner at GSV Ventures. Since the start of her angel career, she has funded a total of 30 startups and continues to expand her portfolio.

    When funding startups, Deborah Quazzo looks for ventures that can at least provide a 3-4x ROI within 2 years of investment. In her portfolio, most companies are related to the education and tech sectors.

    Once she has funded a startup, Deborah Quazzo also provides expert mentorship to her portfolio companies through her wide networks.

    The investment range of Deborah Quazzo can range up to $3M. She has invested in many notable ventures, with some prime names including:

    Learn With Homer: Also known as HOMER, it is an essential early learning program that gives kids the best start to their learning journey. It develops literacy applications on iPad for kids between the ages of 3 and 8 years. HOMER has raised a total of $52.2M in funding.

    Degreed: Degreed is a company that develops a learning and upskilling platform. It provides skills graphs, personalized feeds, ratings, and assessments. Degreed has raised a total of $340.9M in funding.

    Clever: Clever operates as a single sign-on platform for K-12 education. It provides digital learning, so teachers can meet students. Clever has raised a total of $43.3M in funding.

    Irish Angels


    Website: Home - IrishAngels

    Investor Type: Angel Group

    Investment Interests: Tech, Medical, Software, and Esports. 

    Investment Stage: Seed

    Another prominent name in the investor community of Illinois is Irish Angels. The network was founded in 2012 and consists of more than 270 angel investors. Headquartered in Chicago, the group has a primary focus on tech related startups and has funded more than 65 companies in the last decade. 

    Aside from their investment activities, Irish Angels also focus on arranging mentorship programs and networking events. The experienced network of mentors understands what problems startups go through and guides them at different stages of a startup.

    The investment range of Irish ANgels ranges from $500,000 to $10M, depending upon the growth potential and sector of the startup. Notable portfolio companies are:

    BiomeSense: BiomeSense is a biotechnology company that develops an integrated biosensor and bioinformatics platform for continuous, at-home microbiome measurement and analysis. They have raised a total of $8.18M in funding.

    Poppy Flowers: Poppy Flowers is an online platform that provides full-service wedding florals. They have raised a total of $6.3M in funding.

    Automotus: Automotus is a technology company that uses computer vision to help cities, airports, and fleets manage congestion and emissions at the curb. Their platform equips cities and universities with parking, traffic, and security services. They have raised a total of $19.5M in funding.

    Peter Rahal

    LinkedIn: Peter Rahal | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Cloud and Consumer Products. 

    Investment Stage: Early

    Peter Rahal is an American entrepreneur and investor. He was the former CEO of RXBAR. Funding startups for almost 5 years now, Peter Rahal has made around 20 investments and continues to expand his portfolio.

    When funding startups, Peter focuses on ventures that can drive growth. He usually invests in the business that manufactures in-demand products. Unlike many investors, Peter Rahal spends a lot of time understanding the companies and then provides them with the funding.

    The investment range of Peter Rahal ranges from $50,000 to $250,000. Some of his portfolio companies are:

    Usage AI: Usage AI is a cloud-based financial analysis solutions provider for businesses. It offers solutions for purchase management, financial forecasting, payment management, and sales management. Usage AI has raised a total of $9M in funding.

    Gently: Gently is an operator of a personal care product brand intended for children and babies. Gently has raised a total of $2M in funding.

    JuneShine: JuneShine is a hard-kombucha company. The company offers a variety of hard kombucha flavors, made with real fruit and spices and brewed with a unique jun scoby that provides probiotics and other health benefits. JuneShine has raised a total of $24M in funding.

    West Suburban Angels


    Website: Home - West Suburban Angels

    Investor Type: Angel Group

    Investment Interests: Tech and Education

    Investment Stage: Early

    West Suburban Angels is also a famous angel group that is headquartered in Chicago. The network has been operating for more than a decade and has funded around 35 companies. 

    Consisting of many experienced angels and mentors, the network funds startups that understand their competitors, have a success plan, and can promise profitability. During the investment stages, West Suburban angels invest an amount, depending on the estimated ROI, and prefer startups that can at least generate 5X ROI within 3 years.

    Aside from their funding activities, the angel group is also involved in conducting many startup events.

    The investment range of West Suburban Angels ranges from $50,000 to $500,000. Recently, they have funded many startups, including:

    Wrap Up

    In conclusion, entrepreneurs and new startup owners should remember that angel investors, like most other businessmen, focus on profitability. If you are pitching to any investor or a firm, always present your startup as the most profitable investment that matches their requirements.

    Finally, prepare a solid pitch deck, remain confident, and research the portfolio companies of your targeted investor/firm.

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    Q: How do angel investors differ from venture capitalists?

    A: Angel investors and venture capitalists invest in startups but differ in their funding sources and investment stages. Angel investors use their funds, while venture capitalists manage pooled funds from institutional investors. Angel investors are more likely to invest in the early stages of a startup when it is still developing its concept and product, while venture capitalists typically invest in later stages when the startup has already demonstrated market traction and growth potential.

    Q: Is it a Good Idea to Offer Startup Equity to Employees?

    A: Yes, offering startup equity to employees can be a beneficial strategy. It aligns the interests of employees with the success of the company, creating a sense of ownership and motivation. Equity serves as a powerful tool to attract and retain talent, especially in the early stages when cash compensation might be limited.

    However, there can be several pros and cons for offering startup equity to employees.

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