1. an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action without itself undergoing any permanent change.


)) The Appalachian region is known for tough, blue-collar people who, for generations, have beaten the odds to overcome unforgiving landscapes and harsh conditions with grit, determination, and ingenuity. As it looks to reinvent itself for the next chapter of the region, Appalachia is collectively harnessing the power of the entrepreneurial mindset to reimagine the future while paying homage to its rich history. The new Appalachian economy is being built one business and one community at a time, and the Appalachian Investors Alliance (AIA) is here to act as a catalyst by coming alongside those who are actively working on the front lines of the Appalachian entrepreneurial revolution.

AIA empowers those with a desire to challenge the status quo and a yearning to shape the future of the Appalachian region. In working with communities, entrepreneurs, and investors, AIA is applying a new set of best practices for venture funding in the heartland of Appalachia that is transforming how Appalachian startups are being planned, launched, and funded.



AIA focuses on 3 primary activities in bringing their venture funding best practices to bear for the benefit of the Appalachian entrepreneurial ecosystem:

  1. Organizing capital into angel funds across Appalachia and beyond
  2. Providing fund management and technical services, such as due diligence, deal structuring, valuation, closings. portfolio curation and bookkeeping
  3. Providing educational material to demystify early stage investing for investors and entrepreneurs

No one else is doing what the Appalachian Investors Alliance is doing.  They have a dedicated staff of professionals that truly understand the unique challenges of access to capital programs in this region.  And, they have documented success to prove it.

Mike Green, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Mountain State Capital

The AIA network was a key investor in Arkis who supported the company through each stage of growth.  The team is very personable and professional, as well as experienced entrepreneurs themselves, who I count as partners.

Chad Seaver, Co-Founder, Arkis Biosciences, Inc

WVJIT has had the opportunity to work with AIA over the past several years.  Their expertise and knowledge of the funding opportunities in the region have been invaluable in growing access to capital to our current and potential portfolio companies.  With a similar investment strategy, they are able to work with a best fit solution.  Additionally, they offer extensive knowledge and assist WVJIT with due diligence on potential deals.  Their insight and professional services give our portfolio the ability to scale and invest in opportunities we previously may have missed in the past.

Andy Zulauf, Executive Director, West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust

The diligence performed by the Appalachian Investors Alliance is second to none in this industry.  It gives investors comfort their investments are being smartly made and entrepreneurs the confidence that their business is structured properly to succeed.  If a business passes muster with the Alliance, it can pass muster anywhere.

Mike Green, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Mountain State Capital

AIA worked closely with us to develop and deliver a powerful program aimed at helping West Virginia entrepreneurs and startup companies understand risk capital and angel investors, in particular. Our entrepreneurs and startup companies got an inside look at what angel investors seek in a deal, and it made them more successful at pitching their business ideas. But AIA didn’t stop there. They also connected our startups and entrepreneurs with angel investors throughout the Appalachian region, giving them opportunities to raise capital.

Anne Barth, Executive Director, TechConnect West Virginia




For community revitalization to occur – for the abandoned storefronts and neglected commercial properties to be revived – a profitable activity must take over where formerly unprofitable businesses closed up. Economic resiliency is the key, and deep, lasting change requires a collaborative effort. AIA partners with Economic Development Authorities, colleges and universities and community development organizations to restore thriving communities across Appalachia.


Investors in Appalachia are seeking Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, clean energy, robotics, software, and artificial intelligence ventures as a focus area for their deal flow. AIA works to educate, inform, and assess entrepreneurs working in these areas and others to ensure they are truly investment-ready from an investor standpoint. AIA helps entrepreneurs understand the mind of the investor so they are better prepared to raise and accept capital needed to launch and scale their new and early-stage ventures.


AIA is the catalyst forming new angel funds in the region and providing strategic counsel to impact minded investors as they consider potential deals and best management practices. Having a proven and repeatable process for identifying, assessing, closing, and curating angel investing opportunities distinguishes AIA from what many angels do. AIA is a force multiplier for public funds, private funds, angel funds, angel groups, university venture funds, impact funds and family offices, preparing them to better amplify and sustain their impact.



Appalachian Investors Alliance (AIA) is a non-profit educational foundation working to revitalize the region’s economy by facilitating community-based, self-reinforcing economic and workforce development through entrepreneur readiness.  The AIA provides technical services to community-minded angel investors and committed entrepreneurs.  These services include organizing capital and augmenting accelerator and academic/business school curriculum with practical, “dress rehearsal” entrepreneurial training to compete for precious regional and national venture resources and funding.

The AIA supports investors’ efforts in the region to create access to capital programs for dedicated entrepreneurs.  It is supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Grant program.  With these grant resources the AIA has demonstrated sustainable economic and workforce development is possible through an Impact Investing model tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities in Appalachia. 

Regional affiliated Impact Funds have created a tangible financial impact. To date, 130+ AIA accredited investor members have launched eight (soon to be 11) angel/impact funds in as many Appalachian states which have placed $10 million in direct private investment into 34 entrepreneurial companies. This capital leveraged significant additional investments from outside the region and AIA’s network validating a new regional technology economy.

Hundreds of jobs have been created through this process in three years.  The AIA has demonstrated that it can shift resources from Wall Street to “Main Street” by working to create more informed investors and competitive entrepreneurs in the region.




Highlighted Area
Region served by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

Inside ARC Region
Outside ARC Region



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