Back to Blog July 18, 2011 in

Member News Release: West Michigan WiMAX company AzulStar secures funding from Grand Angels, Blue Water Angels

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Deal marks the first time two Michigan angel groups have co-invested

Grand Rapids, Mich.– Two Michigan angel groups have co-invested in fixed WiMAX owner/operator AzulStar, which teams with leading companies, governmental agencies and private investors to offer very-high bandwidth wireless data, voice and video services.  West Michigan angel investing group Grand Angels and Midland-based Blue Water Angels, along with two individual investors, provided the funds, which will be used to help the company expand their high bandwidth wireless broadband services to Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“We’re excited about AzulStar because you ‘invest in the jockey’, and we really like Tyler (van Houwelingen, CEO of AzulStar),” said Jody Vanderwel, President of Grand Angels.  “His passion, work ethic and vision are evident, and he knows the broadband space inside and out.  A few of our members were already investors in AzulStar, so we had the opportunity to watch the company’s growth for quite a while.”

AzulStar leverages a combination of licensed and unlicensed wireless technology to deliver very high bandwidth wireless broadband services.  AzulStar’s new licensed spectrum 4G fixed WiMAX (802.16) networks deliver speeds up to 1Gbps Symmetric for business customers, with uptimes over 99.995%.

The AzulStar investment marks the nineteenth deal Grand Angels has completed and its thirteenth active portfolio company.  Grand Angels has invested over $1 million in growing companies this year alone, with a total $7.3 million invested since the group’s inception in 2004.

“Collaborating with the Grand Angels has increased our deal flow and brought complementary perspectives to our business practices, allowing us to multiply our resources and advance the company strategy quickly,” said Joe Asiala, Founding Member of the BlueWater Angels.  “Both Grand Angels and Blue Water Angels are highly respected groups, and the energy they have created by investing in AzulStar has brought investors off the sidelines.  It’s been a great partnership so far.”

AzulStar CEO, Tyler van Houwelingen added, “We are thrilled to partner with the Grand Angels and Blue Water Angels and are excited to have smart, institutional capital flowing into Michigan technology firms.  We see a tremendous amount of growth happening in wireless broadband and are very well positioned to capitalize on it going forward.”

About AzulStar, Inc.

Established in 2003, AzulStar Inc. is a privately held provider of 4G wireless Internet & communications services to commercial and government customers. Leveraging open standards wireless technology and an all IP wireless architecture, AzulStar delivers unprecedented levels performance and reliability.  AzulStar has pioneered the market for wireless broadband access and won awards for its innovation and service quality.  With carrier-class networks in the top markets of Michigan and New Mexico, AzulStar offers a variety of high value services including high-speed Internet Access, managed wireless networking and intelligent transportation.

About Grand Angels
Grand Angels is committed to using its financial, intellectual, and networking capital to foster the success of emerging companies and to enhance the economic development of West Michigan. Grand Angels makes investments that have a positive effect on our region through business growth, job creation, and the attraction and retention of local talent.
In addition to investing in primarily early stage companies, Grand Angels continues to be very active in its effort to create a climate for the success of entrepreneurs in West Michigan. Many of its members have served on panels, judged pitch competitions, and mentored entrepreneurs through Momentum, the Hope Entrepreneurship Initiative, and the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
About Blue Water Angels
BlueWater Angels, LLC, is an angel investment group with a significant amount of capital available to invest in promising companies on an annual basis. Their governing board and officers include representation from multiple Michigan counties.  Membership is based on application, and includes a select group of high net worth individuals and organizations interested in investing capital in promising companies with the expectation of receiving a substantial return on their investment(s). New members must be sponsored by an existing BWA member.
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