A group of private investors has incorporated Point Positive, Inc. It has already held two pitch sessions this year to listen to business plans presented by entrepreneurs in the Adirondack region. It is the outgrowth of 18 months of work funded by generous donors and organized by the Adirondack Foundation. The first company funded is ADK PackWorks, an innovative bag company using old packbaskets for design inspiration and now their product line is on Amazon as well as in local stores. Two more companies are in the due diligence process now.
The goal is 20 member (either individuals or institutions) group that would be able to raise seed money for startups to build product prototypes, for example. Or get an existing business to sufficient scale that it clearly will work and grow. The group has 15 members now and is seeking additional members and sponsors to help cover the cost of operations. It is based in Saranac Lake and coordinated by Melinda Little.
The idea is to develop business that serve markets here but also markets outside the Park. Improving fresh food distribution in the rural Adirondacks is a great problem to solve – but even better is to find a solution that can be applied to other rural regions nation-wide. Building a solar greenhouse to get winter greens here is an opportunity, but better would be selling a solar greenhouse ‘package’ to other northern farming areas, including Quebec. We are already seeing a surprising variety of ideas.
Angel investing is getting popular. There are so many groups in some regions that finding deals to present is quite competitive. But in our region, there is no other group. In a turn of the old phrase, we’re building an angel group to go where the money isn’t. And it isn’t just about money. We’re trying to create an ecosystem of people, ideas and funding. Mentoring and coaching involved is part of the work involved. Clarkson and Paul Smiths College are involved. The biggest goal is to make this a place where people can find support they need to get a real business up and running that can scale to markets well beyond the region.
The group is called Point Positive. It is a white water term. Before a white water run, a group of paddlers must agree to use paddles to point positive, the safe passage, or point negative, noting hazards to the paddlers behind you. The investor member are here to ‘point positive’ and in this sense, be more than just passive investors.