Members of Cowtown Angels, a program of nonprofit technology incubator Tech Fort Worth, have closed a $5 million investment in Encore Vision Inc., a TechFW client. The investment included $750,000 from members of the Cowtown Angels. This is the first investment by the organization in a TechFW client company and the largest investment to date for the Fort Worth-based angel network, which launched in September 2012.
The Cowtown Angels program connects local “angel investors” with companies in the area needing startup capital. The group, which has grown to 23 members in just 16 months, previously had invested more than $2 million in six early-stage companies in a variety of industries. The largest previous investment was $620,000 in Wisegate Inc., in May 2013. “This is one of the largest angel rounds ever in a TechFW client, and the first time the Cowtown Angels have participated, so this is a big win-win for the local entrepreneurial community,” said Darlene Boudreaux, executive director of TechFW Encore Vision is developing Dioptin, a patented prescription eye drop treatment for presbyopia, the eye condition that afflicts most people by the age of 40, requiring them to wear reading glasses. Dioptin is a proprietary pro-drug comprised of “naturally” occurring bio-compounds found in the living human crystalline lens. A major goal for Dioptin treatment is to give those with presbyopia freedom from, or reduced dependence on, their bifocals or reading glasses. The company will use the funds to further the development of its product and complete Phase 2 clinical trials. “Cowtown Angels has played a pivotal role in this funding round for Encore Vision,” said Bill Burns, president and CEO of Encore Vision. “Along with Tech Fort Worth’s help, we look forward to having members of the Cowtown Angels participate in this ‘first-in-class’ pharmaceutical product development program.” – Betty Dillard