Contact: Kevin Coughlin
January 31, 2012
MYSTIC—Today, State Senator Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington) held a press conference at the West Marine boating supply store in Mystic to highlight how Connecticut’s newly expanded state angel investor tax credit has helped local manufacturer Autotether LLC to grow and succeed.
Autotether LLC manufactures the “wireless man-overboard system,” a wireless lanyard which shuts off a boat’s engine in the event that the boat operator falls overboard into the water.
“Small businesses are enormous job creators, and ending this recession will require growing more of them. Anthony Viggiano of Autotether is the perfect example of an entrepreneur—he had a great idea, and just needed a few resources to turn that idea into a successful company. Angel investors can provide those resources, and they continue to do so for Autotether. By increasing our state’s tax incentives for angel investments, we have cleared the way for more innovative small businesses to get their start right here in Connecticut,” said Senator Maynard.
Autotether LLC was founded in 2007 by Anthony Viggiano, a resident of Groton Long Point and the inventor of the wireless lanyard safety device. In order to expand its operations, the company began to seek out capital from angel investors: individuals who provide capital for a business startup in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.
“I go out fishing on my own quite a bit, and I used to wonder what would happen if I fell off of my boat and it continued on without me. That actually happened to a friend of mine, and it got me thinking about a wireless solution to the problem. Autotether was born from that idea, and of 3,300 units sold so far, already 12 people have said it saved their or a family member’s life,” said Anthony Viggiano, CEO & Inventor of Autotether.
Mr. Viggiano continued, “Connecticut is an innovative place, and I am proud to say our product was both designed and manufactured here. I found all of the necessary engineers and suppliers right here locally. It lends substance to the old term ‘Connecticut Yankee ingenuity.’”
Shortly before Christmas 2011, Autotether successfully raised $505,000 from angel investors, just over half of their $1 million goal. The company continues to seek out additional accredited investors to raise the remaining $500,000, in syndication with angel investor groups around New England.
Connecticut’s angel investor tax credit was first created in 2010. It provides an income tax credit to angel investors equal to 25 percent of their cash investment in new bio-science and technology businesses, up to a maximum of $250,000.
The quasi-public Connecticut Innovations reports that since 2010, 33 Connecticut businesses have qualified for the angel investor tax credit, with $4.7 million in total investments made and $1.16 million issued in tax credits.
Yet until October 2011, a minimum investment of $100,000 was required to qualify for the tax credit. In January of that year, Senator Maynard was the first state legislator to propose lowering the $100,000 threshold to $25,000.
Since that time, nine angel investment deals totaling $2.1 million have closed.
“Angel investors consider many factors before deciding to back a new company. Angels generally make angel investments of $25,000 or less, which previously made them ineligible for the state tax credit. Now this lower threshold will allow more investment into early stage companies. Innovative new businesses are already reaping the benefits,” said Mary Anne Rooke, President of the CT Angel Investor Forum (AIF).
For accredited investors who may be interested in becoming an angel investor, the Angel Investor Forum (AIF) will hold their second annual “Angel Boot Camp Training” session February 7th from 9 AM—4 PM at the New Haven Lawn Club, 193 Whitney Avenue, New Haven CT.
At the session, instructors, AIF and other New England angel group leaders will share tips with prospective and new angels on all aspects of angel investing. For more information or to register for the session, visit: www.angelinvestorforum.com.
Additional information on Connecticut’s angel investor tax credit may be found at www.ctangeltaxcredit.com.
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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