Top Angel Investors in North Carolina

Last updated: February 02, 2024

North Carolina, best known for its exceptional startup scene and is also home to tons of innovative tech ideas. Similarly, the state has been named as the Bustling Epicenter by Inc in their latest report and has raised more than $1B for funding in 2023.

Thinking about who are the angel investors and investment firms that fund startups? Well, I have got the perfect answer in the form of a list.

So, let’s wait no longer and jump onto the list of the top 7 angel investors in North Carolina and ways to pitch to them.

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    Top 7 Angel Investors in North Carolina

    Although it’s true that most angel investors are in RaleighCharlotte, and Durham, they still fund startups throughout the state depending on their ideas and estimated ROI.

    Enough said, here is the list of the top-ranking angel investors and VC firms that fund startups in North Carolina. 

    Thomas Darden

    LinkedIn: Thomas Weidner | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Tech and AI

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Funding startups for over a decade, Thomas Darden is one of the most experienced and active angel investors in North Carolina. He has funded over 100 companies and is still actively investing in startups that show decent growth potential.

    When funding startups, Darden has a unique approach and selects startups through online applications and specific meetings. He usually invests in businesses that are related to tech and renewable energy at an early and seed stage.

    Thomas Darden is also the CEO of Cherokee Investment Partners and has huge networks. He also helps his portfolio companies through various mentorship programs and workshops.

    The investment range of Thomas Darden isn’t available. However, most of his previous individual investments are around $250,000. Some recent portfolio companies are:

    MatDash: An AI platform for materials engineering, MatDash was founded by a group of UVA School of Engineering Ph.D. candidates. The software platform is tailored specifically to materials engineering, helping clients process large amounts of data, curate their own databases, and benefit from predictive analysis based on AI and machine learning models1.

    GreenPlaces: A platform that helps businesses meet their sustainability goals, from carbon reporting to emission reductions. It provides tools for accurate carbon footprint reporting, identifying cost and energy savings, meeting customer sustainability requests, and even becoming GreenPlaces certified.

    EvoApp: A productivity software startup. The company developed a platform for big data analysis, finding patterns in relevant conversations that impact business decisions

    Bob Young

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: AI and consumer products

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Another notable name in the investment community of North Carolina is Bob Young. Similar to Darden, Bob Young also prioritizes businesses in the tech industry and is going to fund around 15 startups in 2024. He usually interacts with startup leaders through LinkedIn and invests in ideas that are attracting attention.

    During the meetings, Bob Young asks questions related to the growth potential, competition, and estimated ROI of the startup. According to his portfolio, startups that are led by experienced individuals and have decent portfolios often secure the investment.

    Aside from his investment activities, Bob Young also participates in numerous startup events. He often attends growth programs and workshops to guide businesses about what they can do when startups go in an unplanned direction.

    The investment range of Bob Young ranges from $100,000 to $900,000. Some of his portfolio companies are:

    Liquid AI: This is an AI startup that emerged from MIT. The company’s technology is based on what’s called a liquid neural network. Bob Young is one of the angel investors reported by TechCrunch in Liquid AI, which announced $37.5 million in funding. After stepping down as Red Hat CEO, Bob Young founded, an online self-publishing firm. Today, it has enabled more than 2 million creators to publish over 300,000-plus projects.

    Tyler Scott Ward

    LinkedIn: Tyler Scott Ward | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Fintech and Blockchain

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Tyler Scott Ward is also an active investor who funds North Carolina-based startups. Since the start of his angel career in 2021, Tyler Scott Ward has funded more than 10 startups and continues his active involvement in the industry.

    When funding startups, Ward focuses on networks that have decent growth potential and have generated at least $50,000 in revenue as he invests in the early stage. Once he analyzes the startups and understands their growth potential, Tyler Scott Ward usually invests in the range of $25,000 to $100,000.

    Aside from his investment activities, Tyler Scott Ward also participates in different startup events and guides his portfolio companies. Among his investments, one notable name are:

    Altitude: Altitude is a financial services platform offering alternative investment tools. The platform allows investors to find a new class of alternatives and promises annual yields of 16-18%, a notable Delta of 4-5% over conventional fixed-income products. 

    prePO: prePO is a decentralized trading platform that allows anyone, anywhere to speculate on the value of any pre‑IPO company or pre‑token project. It offers neutral liquidity provision, token incentives, and high composability. 

    Fancy Birds: Fancy Birds is a blockchain-based play-to-earn game. It is a single-player mobile game with 8,888 randomly generated NFT characters minted initially with custom features. 

    Todd Collins

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Tech, Software, and E-Commerce

    Investment Stage: Early

    Todd Collins is an angel investor and the founder and CEO of Red Hill Ventures. Talking about his background, Collins has been working and offering tech innovative products for more than 20 years. He has been a consultant, executive, and investor in growth and mid-market companies for 25 years. Before Red Hill Ventures, Collins worked with Accenture as a Senior Manager.

    Similarly, just 3 years back, Todd Collins has also started to make individual investments and prioritizes startups that produce solutions. He invests in startups through investor meetings and fundraisers with a strong focus on startups that have low competition and solve real-time problems.

    The investment range of Tod Collins isn't disclosed but he often makes early-stage investments around $150,000. Some of his notable investments are:

    Puttshack: Puttshack is a high-tech mini-golf startup that raised $150 million in a growth capital round. Puttshack locations also turn into 21-and-over nightclubs and serve alcoholic beverages to lure in older adults.

    Next Glass: Next Glass is a global provider of software and eCommerce solutions, primarily operating in the beverage alcohol industry. The company offers technology that connects producers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers.

    First Carolina Bank: First Carolina Bank is a premier community financial services institution with branches in Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia. It has become one of the safest and most efficient banks in the US.

    Chip Mahan

    LinkedIn: Chip Mahan | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Tech

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Chip Mahan is an entrepreneur and businessperson who has been the head of 6 different companies. He is the Chairman, CEO, and Founder at Live Oak Bancshares Inc. 

    When funding startups, Mahan has a preference for investing in technology that helps banks of all sizes innovate and cut through the red tape. He has a particular interest in startups that can bring greater levels of efficiency, regulatory compliance, customer relationship management, and revenue growth to the banking industry.

    The investment range of Chip Mahan can range up to $1M. One of his notable investments is: 

    nCino: nCino is a cloud-based bank operating solution for the financial services industry

    CFV Ventures

    Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm

    Investment Interests: Tech, Software, and SaaS

    Investment Stage: Early

    Founded in 2017, CFV Ventures is a notable venture capital firm that invests in North Carolina-based startups. The network was founded by Dan Roselli and Nathaniel Clarkson with a total of 61 investments in their portfolio.

    When funding startups, CFV Ventures prioritizes fintech-related businesses that can generate 3-5x ROI within 2 years. They often conduct 3 different phases of screening tests to analyze a startup idea.

    The investment range of CFV Ventures ranges from $100,000 to $250,000. Some of their portfolio companies are:

    AleFi: A startup that verifies trades in real-time to help with investment strategies and portfolio compensation.

    VoiceScript, Inc.: VoiceScript, Inc. is a leading supplier of legal technology and SaaS solutions designed to modernize court reporting.

    Capitala Group


    Website: Investment Advisors | Junior Capital Providers | Capitala Group | Capitala

    Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm

    Investment Interests: Marketing and Tech

    Investment Stage: Seed

    Capitala Group is one of the biggest venture capital firms in North Carolina. Founded in 1988, the network has made around 200 investments and opened 10 new startup funds.

    With a strong focus on tech and healthcare, the investors at Capitala Group invest in startups that can grow 2-3x within 5 years. The team of investors organizes several pitching competitions and startup accelerators to find deserving startups that provide them with the required funding.

    The investment range of Capitala Group can range up to $4M. Some of their notable investments are:

    HotPads: HotPads is an efficient rental search platform for urban areas across the United States, enabling users to find their next apartment, condo, or rental home

    Overdrive Interactive: Overdrive Interactive is a digital marketing agency that delivers customized brand-building marketing programs.


    Summing up, always prepare a strong pitch deck and pitch to angel investors who have identical business interests. Do strong research, have confidence in your startup idea and you will definitely secure the required investment for your business. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What do investors look for in startups?

    A: Investors evaluate startups based on several key factors. Firstly, they assess the market potential – is there a sizable market for the product or service? They also consider the uniqueness of the solution and whether it addresses a genuine pain point. The startup's team is crucial, as investors look for skilled and adaptable founders capable of executing the business plan.

    Q: Do Angel Investors Provide Mentorship Programs?

    A: Yes, many angel investors provide mentorship programs and financial support. They leverage their experience to offer strategic insights, assist in critical decision-making, and facilitate introductions to their network connections. This mentorship is pivotal for startups, aiding them in overcoming obstacles and expediting their growth trajectory.

    Q: How to secure a warm introduction to angel investors?

    A: To secure a warm introduction to angel investors, always try to participate in startup networks, attend industry events, and actively seek referrals from mentors or acquaintances already connected with investors.

    Building genuine relationships and demonstrating your passion for your venture can also open doors for warm introductions.

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