Grand Angels is one of Michigan’s most active and most consistent investment organizations, and we are the longest-serving regional investment group that offers robust mentoring paired with patient capital.

We do more than invest, because Grand Angels’ objective is to build world-class companies and entrepreneurial talent. Our members are only successful if the people with whom we invest are successful. That means developing talent. Therefore, we are committed to utilizing our financial, intellectual and networking resources to help our portfolio achieve more. We do this from our base in West Michigan, and work to actively enhance the economic development of the region.

Grand Angels is comprised of two operations:

Angel Network

The Grand Angels’ member network operates as a traditional angel organization. Each accredited member investor makes his or her own investment into a startup company, with due diligence shared among the members and decisions agreed upon within the context of the group.

Grand Angels Venture Fund

Grand Angels Venture Fund is a committed capital fund that was created in 2015 by legacy members involved in Grand Angels’ member network who sought to diversify investments through a traditional venture fund. Grand Angels Venture Fund will invest in 12-15 companies during the next few years, and provide follow-on investments for portfolio companies. Its focus is in B2B technology, advanced manufacturing, advanced agriculture technology and life sciences companies that are currently generating revenues, or are pre-revenue with a clear path to exit. Since its formation, the fund has closed eight deals.

Because of our commitment to growing strong entrepreneurs and their companies, we are seeking to invest in Michigan and Midwest based companies.

The Grand Angels organization is supported by member fees and generous corporate and academic sponsorships. Grand Angels is a member of the Angel Capital Association, an organization sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Kansas City, MO), which continues to provide leadership and resources for angel investors across the country.

Details of Grand Angels most recent activity can be found in its Annual Report.


Grand Angels was founded in 2004 by former Grand Bank founder and CEO, Charles C. Stoddard, and serial entrepreneur, Craig T. Hall. They recruited other community leaders willing to join them in the vision of making “investments with a difference.”

In 2005, the angels recruited Jody D. Vanderwel, an experienced corporate attorney, to serve as president of the organization. Vanderwel has accelerated the growth of the organization and increased its visibility during the past ten years.

Since its inception, Grand Angels has invested $19.6 million in 34 companies through 93 financing rounds. In 2015 alone, Grand Angels invested $3.5 million in nine companies through 15 financing rounds.

Today, Grand Angels is comprised of two operations, the Angel Network, with 44 active members and Grand Angels Venture Fund, which launched in 2015.

Paul D'Amato
Paul is a successful serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business building experience.  Paul is currently the Managing Director of Trout Creek Ventures, a regional co-investment venture capital fund focusing on early stage investments. He is an active angel investor with several angel groups in the Midwest. Previously, Paul owned and operated a retail chain in the Midwest that he sold to a strategic acquirer. Paul built the chain through organic growth and a series of acquisitions. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis on M&A and analytical decision modeling from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston. Paul serves on the board of directors of Grand Angels, and of Tetra Discovery Partners.
Carl B. Erickson
Carl is the CEO of Atomic Object, a software design and development consultancy with offices in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Before founding Atomic, he was a professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University. Carl has served on the boards of Mock Draft Central, Varsity News Network, Blue Medora, Local Orbit, and Legacy Trust. He is also a managing director of Tappan Hill Ventures, a boutique VC located in Ann Arbor. He is a frequent speaker on technology, and blogs at GreatNotBig.com.
Patrick A. Gaughan
Patrick is CFO and partner of Brooks Capital Management and a partner of its affiliate real estate development company, IPA Partners.   Patrick also is on the Investment Committee of the Kent Community Health Foundation and serves on the Investment Committee of The Community Foundation of the Holland-Zeeland Area. Patrick has been on the Grand Angel board since its inception.
John S. Jackoboice, Past Chairman
John is Vice Chair of Baker Publishing Company Board of Directors, Co-Chairs the Aquinas College Foundation and Chairs the Northern Trust-West Michigan Advisory Board. He is also President of Lemon Bay Golf Club (FL) and serves as the Boca Grande Isles Homeowners Association President (FL). Past board chairmanships include Saint Mary’s Health, The Family Business Alliance and Aquinas College as well as serving on the boards of Hospice of Michigan Foundation and the Manufacturing Council. John retired in 2007 after 41 years with Monarch Hydraulics (Bucher) of Grand Rapids.
Michael J. Jandernoa
Mike is the former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Perrigo Company, the nation’s largest manufacturer and marketer of store brand over-the-counter drug and nutritional products. He serves on the Board of Directors of Perrigo Company, Business Leaders for Michigan, Hopen Life Science Fund, Metabolic Solutions Development Company, and Spectrum Health System.  Mike is also a member of several other corporate, religious, and community boards and committees. He is the founder of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring, co-founder and Board member of both Grand Angels and Bridge Street Capital Partners, and founder and Chairman of 42 North Partners, a family office focusing on investments, entrepreneurship, and community.
R. Lawrence Leigh, Vice Chairperson
Larry serves on the Boards of Goodwill Industries and Goodwill Foundation and is a member of the Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program. He also brings to Grand Angels extensive experience on other community boards. He is the former owner and founder of Leighs.  Larry holds a B.S. in Business from the University of North Carolina and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Richard M. Lievense, Chairperson
Rich is the Chairman of InSite Capital - a subsidiary of Chemical Financial Corporation. InSite develops and finances historically significant buildings and affordable housing projects in the Midwest. Rich is the founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation that was established in 1998 and merged with Chemical in 2015. He currently serves on the board of directors of Chemical Financial Corporation, Riverview Development Group and chairs the Holland/Zeeland Community Foundation Oversight Board for the MSU Bio-economy Institute. He is on the investment committee of Grow Michigan - a Michigan based private subordinated debt fund. Rich holds a B.A. from Alma College and an M.A. from Western Michigan University.
Robert A. Sprotte
Bob is the owner of The Sprotte Organization which is a life insurance agency serving both business & personal markets from an independent perspective.  He has been active in this industry since 1976 and in Michigan since 1978.  He holds the appropriate designations for this trade including CLU, ChFC & LIC.  Bob is currently involved in leading men's Bible studies and is a former Board member of both Goodwill Industries and Bethany Christian Services. As an active investor in numerous private equity offerings, the Grand Angels opportunity proves a logical fit.
Jody D. Vanderwel, President
Since 2005, Jody has been President of the Grand Angels, Jody oversees Grand Angels’ deal sourcing, investing, and portfolio management, and represents the group at networking and educational events across Michigan. She is also a managing partner of Grand Angels Venture Fund II. Jody worked several years in private practice before joining Herman Miller as Corporate Counsel and then Vice President for Corporate Giving. Jody is currently a member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association Board, the Michigan Accelerator Fund I Advisory Board, the Plymouth Venture Partners Fund III Advisory Board, the Baker Publishing Group Board, and the Fuller Theological Seminary Board. In February of 2014, Governor Snyder appointed her to a four-year term on the Michigan Strategic Fund. She is the former Chair of the Priority Health Board. Jody holds a B.A. degree from the University of Colorado and a J.D. degree from Washington University in St. Louis.