From Inside Business By

NORFOLK — Despite the struggles the pandemic has cast upon the economy, it’s good to know that angels are still among us. 757 Angels, which helps its investor members find investment opportunities that can lead to job growth in Hampton Roads, has been recognized for the second straight year as a Top 10 Angel Group in North America by the Angel Capital Association’s Angel Funders Report.

Monique Adams, 757 Angels executive director, said in an email that it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand that capital is still flowing in Hampton Roads.

“Despite a raging pandemic, growing tensions for social justice, political and economic uncertainty, 757 Angels demonstrated resilience in 2020,” Adams said in a news release. “We had to quickly adapt and report an expanded investor base, strong investment activity, and continued focus on diversity and inclusion.”

Angel and seed investments appeared to be in the most jeopardy when transactions moved to teleconferencing in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, according to PitchBook Data, a Seattle, Washington-based company that provides data, research, and technology to private capital markets.

However, 757 Angels were one of the first groups to pivot online, PitchBook said, and its transition to virtual secured $12.4 million in investment last year. The funding went to five new companies and six follow-on rounds for current companies.

The group also provides strategic advice and mentoring to select startup and early-stage companies in the region.

Nearly all of its investors remained onboard throughout the tumultuous year and it has expanded its membership to 130.

Nancy Grden, 757 Angels chair, said in the release: “In addition to deal flow, 757 Angels looks to continue to diversify its investor base, ensuring that wide-ranging perspectives are represented in the group.”

Since its founding six years ago, the group has brought more than $74 million into 33 Virginia-based companies — mostly based in Hampton Roads.

While angel and seed-stage investments nationwide showed little growth from 2019 to 2020, Adams stressed the value of 757 Angels’ operations and investments as an economic engine.

Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836,