Skip to main content

Shasta Angels Group for Entrepreneurs

02/23/2015 12:30PM, Published by Jordan Venema, Categories: In Print, Community



Hand in Hand

March 2015
By Jordan Venema
Photos: Betsy Erickson

It can be said that behind every business is a good idea, but hwere would those ideas be without funding and direction? "Ideas are a dime a dozen, says Eric Hiatt, executive director of Shasta Angel Group for Entrepreneurs (SAGE). "It's execution that counts."

That’s why Shasta County business owners and entrepreneurs came together in 2011 to form SAGE: to create the county’s catalyst for turning good ideas into better businesses. Hiatt describes the 14 members of SAGE as “a group of individuals who saw a need in Redding for new startup companies, and a need for capital.”

Hiatt joined SAGE as an investor in 2013 and soon became its executive director, and he knows from personal experience the importance of local funding. As a founding partner of Security 1 Lending, now the largest reverse mortgage bank in the country, Hiatt had to do his share of seeking fundraisers. “We have thousands of employees across the country,” says Hiatt. Part of the company is based in Redding, but Hiatt couldn’t find local support for his startup. “There was no one locally who would spend the time to talk and invest in me,” he says. That wasn’t a problem for Hiatt, who was able to find money outside of Shasta County since his startup wasn’t locally restricted. But what about those businesses local to their communities, or those geographically restricted by their services? Where would they go to find investors if not in their own community?

Hiatt wasn’t the only investor who saw the “disconnect” in Shasta County between investors and startups, so SAGE was formed to bridge that gap. “SAGE itself,” says Hiatt, “is a conduit – channeling entrepreneurs to mentors and investors.” Its mission is “to create growth, cultivate partnerships, and promote prosperity for the betterment of the region.”

The two components of that mission are financial investment and mentorship. “We not only invest financially,” explains Hiatt, “but we also invest our time and energy.” And as Hiatt points out, as hard as it is to start a business, it’s even harder for that business to succeed. “There’s nothing easy about starting a business, and the majority of small businesses fail. Support is everything.”

While SAGE’s financial support is essential to the local startups, its mentorship likely has a greater, longer-standing impact. Hiatt himself serves as the treasurer of the board for FireWhat Inc., a wildfire mapping and tracking company that received support through SAGE.

“SAGE coming onboard gave us the opportunity to really grow,” says Sam Lenier, FireWhat’s chief executive officer and cofounder. Lenier also can attest to the need for local investment – for three years, FireWhat was nothing more than an idea before local investors got involved. “Really, no one from the Bay Area understood the wildfire risk and how important it was and what our business was doing, until we hit investors here in the North State who understood,” he says.

FireWhat was already up and running before SAGE invested financially, but it was the group’s mentorship that made a significant difference. According to Lenier, the mentorship came by way of counsel, helping to make connections through introductions to legal staff and other business contacts, as well as “the reassurance that somebody would be there backing us.”

Hiatt doesn’t pretend that SAGE isn’t a group of investors looking for a financial return. “Absolutely, I want to see the community grow,” he says, and “the members of SAGE want to see a return on their investment.” Of course, that’s the name of the game. But these local
investors aren’t interested only in the bottom line or dollar – they are members of the very community that they are trying to improve. A failed business doesn’t just hurt these investors’ wallets; it also hurts their community.

By late 2013, SAGE made its first investment, and it would like to support at least two startups per year. The group is currently made up of 14 investors, but Hiatt says they would like to see that number increase to 20 to 25 members, all actively investing in their community.

Personally, Hiatt loves the position in which he finds himself. “We all have our own things, but we want people to know we’re here for them.” And as somebody who has started his own business and watched it grow and succeed, being a part of others’ success has come naturally to him. “Quite frankly, it’s the perfect fit for me.” And if anybody with an idea and a plan thinks they might be a perfect fit with SAGE, they need only apply.

www.shastaangels.com





  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/21/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/21/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • An Evening at the Vineyard

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy the beautiful scenery that Matson Vineyards has to offer, all while enjoying Wine tasting, ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Art Show

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    On September 21st, The Crowning Jewels in downtown Redding will feature a fun art exhibit with ...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/22/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/22/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Free Taste Test

    09/22/2017
    03:00PM — 05:30PM

    Choose to make September the start of a healthier life by joining the fun at the following FREE r...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/22/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • 2017 Autumn Exhibit - Reception

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 07:00PM

    Please join us as we welcome the Artists whose work will be featured in Art in the City’s Autumn ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/22/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/24/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • A gathering and show by collectors of military memorabilia. Helicopter fly-ins, armament and equi...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Jewelry Making Classes for All Levels

    09/24/2017
    12:30PM — 03:30PM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir will once again offer a jewelry making class with Mt. Shasta...


  • Kitchen Tour

    09/24/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Kitchen Tour: Tour 5 fabulous renovated kitchens on Sunday September 24th, from 1 to 5 pm in the ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/24/2017
    02:00PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Leann Rimes

    09/24/2017
    07:30PM

    LeAnn Rimes has sold more than 44 million albums, won two GRAMMY Awards, three Academy of Country...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


Enter to Win!

 
Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors