Creating options: financing startups in Alaska.

Author:Barbour, Tracy

A few years ago, Fractal OnCall Solutions won some much-needed start-up financing from an unlikely source: the Municipality of Anchorage's 49th State Angel Fund. The competition was stiff, with about two dozen applicants vying for funding and only four receiving an investment recommendation. Fractal OnCall Solutions, doing business as CallDR, ultimately received $200,000 to support its innovative mobile medical software.

CallDR is the brainchild of co-founders Kevin Halvorson, Dr. Carl Rosen, and Dr. Michael Levy. It enables emergency and on-call physicians and other health care professionals to collaborate securely on point-of-care consultations using an iPhone, iPad, or other device. They can connect with consulting specialists anywhere in the world to send/ save patient data, collaborate on treatment, and confirm a diagnosis.

The 49th State Angel Fund is CallDR's largest cash investor, providing credibility and visibility on a national level. "It was very helpful," says Halvorson, vice president of sales and product development. "It allowed us to get out into the marketplace."

Consequently, CallDR has been selected as a telemedicine tool by Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America, which owns Alaska Regional Hospital. Hospital Corporation of America owns and operates approximately 165 hospitals and 115 freestanding surgery centers in twenty states and Great Britain. "If we can get it right in Alaska, we can take it to companies in the Northwest and elsewhere," Halvorson says.

The 49th State Angel Fund is just one of the resourceful ways budding entrepreneurs like Fractal OnCall Solutions are financing commercial endeavors in Alaska. Other viable options are the Path to Prosperity contest, traditional financial institutions, and creative financing solutions.

49th State Angel Fund

The 49th State Angel Fund is made possible by a $13.2 million federal allocation from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The program promotes entrepreneurship and innovation, creating jobs and economic benefit for Anchorage. Any high-growth business that shows significant economic potential for Anchorage is a prime candidate.

The fund seeks to support a diversity of businesses in Alaska, according to Program Manager Joe Morrison. "I feel like because we work in a challenging startup environment, we try not to be biased toward any particular industry," he says.

The 49th State Angel Fund provides investments by directly investing in businesses and by indirectly taking a partnership interest in locally-focused angel or venture capital funds. Direct investments can range from $30,000 to $3 million; indirect investments can fall between $100,000 and $5 million.

Whether direct or indirect, angel fund investments require matching funds. So...

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