Dingman Center Angels (DCA) is a Maryland based angel investment group that provides funding to early-stage companies primarily located in the mid-Atlantic region. Our members are entrepreneurs, CXO's, venture capitalists and business leaders who have founded, funded and built world-class companies. Our investors come from a variety of industries, have diverse investment experience and expertise; and, in association with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, help foster a vibrant local early-stage venture investment community.
Generally, we are looking for innovative startup companies that have developed a product or service that addresses a significant market opportunity or need and demonstrated some early evidence of traction. We also look for companies where our investment and expertise can help accelerate growth. Although DCA is sector agnostic, most companies that receive investment capital have developed some degree of technology-enabled differentiation and/or competitive advantage. We introduce prospective entrepreneurs to DCA investors at monthly investment meetings held from September to June.
Typically, DCA invests between $100,000 and $250,000 in growth seed/early-stage companies and will often participate in syndicates with other local angel groups and VC’s for capital raises up to $2 million. DCA is not a fund and does not invest as a group. Our members often collaborate on due diligence but make individual investment decisions.
Since 2005, DCA has completed over 140 transactions, representing over $19 million in capital invested.
Eligibility & Application Process
To be eligible to apply, the company should be located in the mid-Atlantic region (we give preference to companies in Maryland, D.C., Virginia, or Delaware). A complete application must be submitted, which includes an executive summary (one-page length) and investor pitch. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please review our detailed Investment Criteria page, but generally you should apply when:
- Seeking capital in one of the following ranges:
- $100K to $1M in series A preferred stock or convertible note
- $1M+ with lead investor and term sheet
- Have a fully-developed product or service offering
- Have a current sales pipeline & revenue stream
- Can demonstrate that the business is likely to grow rapidly, is scalable and has sufficient untapped market potential
- Have developed and tested a sales/marketing strategy with defendable market differentiation
- The company addresses a high-growth market (20% CAGR minimum) or a large market ($500mm+) with a demonstrated strategy to obtain market share
- Pre-money valuation expectations are less than $7.5M
Before submitting your application for our consideration, you must determine if angel capital — and specifically capital from our group - is right is for your company. Please review our investment criteria and current portfolio companies to evaluate that fit.
Take this quiz to help assess if your company is prepared to pitch to the Dingman Center Angels.
Step 1: Submit Application
Dingman Center Angels accepts applications through Gust. There is a $75 application fee payable by credit card at the time of application. Dingman Center Angels Application.
Our process will result in actionable feedback and insight that will prove helpful for business development and in other investor meetings. This application fee is the only fee we charge throughout our process. We encourage you to network with one of our members to get a warm introduction to our organization.
A completed application to Dingman Center Angels will include: a company pitch deck, a completed "executive summary" section on Gust and completed financials. In addition, applicants should review these Key Questions to Consider to ensure that all questions applicable to your company have been answered in your combined application and supporting materials.
Step 2: Pre-Screening
Your application will undergo an initial screening by our team. The Dingman Center Angels team conducts due diligence of the product, financial plan and business team. Our goal is to bring in companies that are prepared to successfully pitch investors. Following our initial screening, we will send you an email to inform you of whether your application has been advanced to the review committee.
Step 3: Screening Day
After reviewing your materials, our internal committee will determine if your business could be of interest to our members. If you succeed, you will be invited to present to our screening committee which includes Dingman Center entrepreneurs-in-residence and select angel investors. These coaches are professionals who have experience in raising capital across many different industries and will provide real-time feedback on content and delivery. Be prepared to deliver a 10-minute investor presentation followed by in-depth questioning and advice. We usually look at five to six presentations during this meeting and devote about one hour to discussing the investment merits and concerns of each business opportunity. After the meeting, each presenter is notified regarding the results from the screening committee and receives feedback. Normally, three to four of the candidates receive an invitation to present their business to our full membership.
Step 4: Presentation to Full Membership
Following the review committee, a select few companies will be invited to present to our full membership. Invited entrepreneurs deliver their presentation at a formal Dingman Center Angels investor meeting, held between September and June. Entrepreneurs will deliver a 10-minute presentation and address questions for an additional 10 minutes. Following the Q&A session, the investors will meet privately and then allow additional time for the entrepreneur to answer any final questions. The objective is to peak investor interest in a follow-up due diligence meeting. The goal is to get the second date, not to get married right away. You will have the chance to go into the details of your business with no time limit in a subsequent due diligence meeting with any interested investors. After all the presentations, we excuse the entrepreneurs and have an extensive discussion on each business opportunity. The investors express their interest by filling out indications of interest forms which are then compiled and send to the entrepreneurs as a follow-up.
Step 5: Investor Follow-Up
Our investors make their own decisions about which companies, and how much, to invest. They lead their own due diligence and negotiations with the company. Investors with a mutual interest in a particular company may collaborate to perform due diligence, provide feedback, and/or pursue an investment in a company. Investors may choose to directly contact an entrepreneur or request the facilitation of a meeting through the Dingman Center.
Step 6: Dingman Center Connectivity
After presenting to Dingman Center Angels, you will be part of our community of entrepreneurs. If you so choose to be involved, this will provide you with opportunities to get connected with the various activities of the Dingman Center. We also ask presenting companies to keep connected with the Dingman Center so we can update our investors on your company’s progress and milestones.
Concerned About Disclosure?
Dingman Center Angels does not sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This is a common apprehension for most entrepreneurs. However, most professionals and venture capitalists will NOT sign an NDA until a time later in the due diligence process. A company presenting to Dingman Center Angels, or to any private or institutional investors outside of Dingman Center Angels, should prepare its business plan and presentation in such a way that its secrets are not fully revealed. Most ideas which entrepreneurs are afraid to disclose have to do with scientific or technical details. Entrepreneurs need to realize that investors are not concerned about such details in the first or second meeting. What they are concerned about is the market need; the cure for the need; the demonstration of a large and growing market; validation of product or service viability; and the management team and its capability to execute the business plan.
Dingman Center Angel Benefits
- Investor presentations by the region’s most promising early-stage companies
- Monthly networking with a diverse group of quality investors and advisors
- Unique access to a pipeline of proprietary technologies developed at the University of Maryland
- Mentoring opportunities with Dingman Center’s student entrepreneurship initiatives
Investor meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month from September to June. Dingman Center Angels invites up to three companies to present to DCA investors at our pitch events. After each event, the center works with investors on follow-up due diligence and supports companies throughout the funding process. Meetings take place both at Van Munching Hall and at various locations in the region.
Investors Meetings 2020-21
- Wednesday, September 9, 2020, from 10 a.m.-Noon (Virtual)
- Wednesday, October 14, 2020, from 10 a.m.-Noon (Virtual)
- Wednesday, November 11, 2020, from 10 a.m.-Noon (Virtual)
- Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 10 a.m.-Noon (Format TBD)
- Wednesday, March 10, 2021, from 10 a.m.-Noon (Format TBD)
- Wednesday, April 14, 2021, from 10 a.m.-Noon (Format TBD)
- Wednesday, June 2, 2021, from 10 a.m.-Noon (Format TBD)
The following credentials are required for our investors:
- You must be an accredited investor: an individual investor as defined in rule 501(a) of Regulation D or an institutional investor
- It is recommended that you live and/or frequently visit the Mid-Atlantic region
- Have experience managing and/or building successful companies
- Have a peer network of domain expertise and contacts to support your portfolio of investments
- Are sincerely interested in making at least one angel investment per year.
Join Our Network
To join our investor network, download and complete the Dingman Center Angels Investor application. Send your completed form and membership fee, either $1,500 for individuals or $2,500 for a business entity, payable to University of Maryland, to:
Robert H. Smith School of Business
Office of Finance & Accounting
ATTN: William Hedges
3570H Van Munching Hall
7699 Mowatt Lane (039)
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1815
What Our Investors Are Saying?
"I moved to Maryland in 2014 and began working as a full-time angel investor in 2015. The Dingman Center has been my "second office" ever since. I met my first angel investment through the Dingman Center Angels. DCA is indispensable to my work as a Maryland angel investor."
—Justin Label, Inner Loop Capital
"Veenome came to Dingman Center Angels with an object-recognition algorithm to make video searchable. I used a prototype of the Veenome service and loved it. I am now an investor in a company that could unlock a whole new way to monetize free video on the web. If you are an angel investor, companies like Veenome are what you want to see in your deal flow. Dingman Center Angels did a great job sourcing this deal for me."
—Jason Shrensky, serial entrepreneur
- Wednesday, February 10, 2021
- Wednesday, March 10, 2021
- Wednesday, April 14, 2021
- Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Thank you to our sponsors!