Jon Hagmaier launched a Roanoke tech company, watched it grow for 10 years and then sell for more than he ever imagined — and now he is getting ready to reinvest part of his windfall in the next generation of entrepreneurs.
He says he doesn’t want to do it alone. And there are clear signs he won’t be.
He’s part of a growing movement among the region’s business elites who are taking big bets on small companies, and in the process reigniting the region’s stagnant startup financing market.
Hagmaier is launching his investment firm, called Common Wealth Growth Group, at the same time as at least four other local projects are getting off the ground.
A group recently packed a conference room at Roanoke’s Center in the Square on a July afternoon for an invite-only meeting to organize their next steps. The group of about 25 active investors and startup founders shared their thoughts and laid out a regional vision. They talked about the fact that the area hasn’t been able to provide enough access to capital, according to several investors who participated.
These investment groups are considered the lifeblood of startup ecosystems, as almost every company needs some sort of financial backing. Startups, especially in the tech industry, can take years to generate revenue. If a startup can’t find funding in its hometown during those critical first steps, it will often leave — or die…