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Fairway-based venture capital firm reports banner 2016

The Mid-America Angel Network said it hit its highest level of venture capital investments in 2016.

The Fairway-based network said it invested more than $3.6 million in area start-ups and potential high-growth companies last year, up more than $800,000 from 2015.

Mid-America also said it completed an “unprecedented” 15 investments last year, including funds in new companies such as JobShakers, Life Equals, Tomboy Exchange, and Kenzen.

The investment network said many of its 2016 deals “provided follow-on capital for existing portfolio companies as they continue to grow.” It said six of the deals completed last year occured in November and December.

“What you see here is the result of many years of work, not just one,” Rick Vaughn, the organization’s managing director said in a news release.

Mid-America chalked up some of its success last year to a wider network of investors in the region. An investor group from Manhattan, Kan., led by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, joined Mid-America in mid-2016 as an affiliate.

Another Mid-America affiliate — the Women’s Capital Connection, — provided more than $500,000 of capital in 10 companies last year. Women’s Capital connects female angel investors and female business founders.

“Women-led businesses continue to be some of the fastest-growing companies in America,” said Kelly Pruneau, network manager for the Women’s Capital Connection.

Mid-America Angels is managed by the nonprofit Enterprise Center in Johnson County, located at 4220 Shawnee Mission Parkway.

Since its founding in 2006, the angel group has made 85 investments amounting to more than $21 million.

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