January 14, 2022 - Ariel Savannah  Angel Partners (ASAP), an angel investing group based in Savannah, GA, has named Carl D. Francis as its new board chairman. Francis, a seasoned entrepreneur and investor who has led a number of high-profile  technology companies from start-up to success, has been an ASAP member since 2006. He has served on the group’s board since 2017 and was appointed vice chair last year. Francis’ new role became effective this month as he takes the reins fromformer Chairman Beau Anders, a Landings-basedretired Silicon Valley KPMG Managing Partner. 

Angel investors provide capital to startup businesses, typically in exchange for a stake in the company or a debt security. ASAP, founded in 2005, has become one of the biggest angel investment groups in the Southeastern U.S. and currently has investments in 35 companies. ASAP’s portfolio includes a number of interesting and high-potential businesses that are developing high-tech medical devices, new surgical procedures, genetic engineering solutions, advanced breastfeeding technologies, agricultural technologies, the use of artificial intelligence in skin care and cancer detection, a high-end bourbon distillery, a manufacturer of ancient-grain-based vegan buttermilk products that just launched into Whole Foods, and more. 

Francis recently retired as CEO of Eyoto, a European MedTech business based in Birmingham, England that specializes in the development of advanced engineering and AI software platforms for the optical and ophthalmic industries. Before joining and investing in Eyoto in 2017, he spent eight years as CEO of P2i, a nano-technology spin-out from the UK Ministry of Defense based in Oxford, England which he grew from a pre-revenue start up into the dominant global player in the functional nano-coating industry. Francis also spent three years as CEO acquiring, running, and successfully exiting Adria Ltd., Ireland’s largest textile business, in a leveraged buyout on behalf of a small private equity group in which he was a founding partner.  

Francis has also held several non-executive roles, including chairman of London-based HSD Communications Ltd. from 1998 to 2007. He started his career as a Certified Public Accountant, is a member of Mensa, and has a BSc from the University of Cincinnati. Francis and his British wife Lesley live in Richmond Hill. 

Outgoing ASAP board chair Beau Anders commented, “I have always enjoyed working with exciting, early-stage businesses, and ASAP provides a great platform for that involvement. We have an excellent angel investing group here in Savannah, with a solid investment portfolio and an enthusiastic and active membership. I am proud of what our members have achieved over the past few years, and I have a lot of confidence that Carl will build on that positive momentum.” 

Francis looks forward to leading the group into its next chapter.  

“I am delighted and honored to take on this new challenge,” Francis said. “Overall, ASAP members have invested about $15 million over past 17 years, and we pride ourselves on providing not only capital but mentoring, guidance  and industry expertise to enthusiastic young entrepreneurs. 

When asked about the appeal of ASAP membership, he added, “Some of our members join in order to broaden their personal investment portfolios into privately held, early stage businesses, while others enjoy meeting and hearing from smart and passionate young entrepreneurs. Yet others enjoy the social aspect and camaraderie that comes from being part of our group and involvement on one of our investment teams. Over the years, I think I have been in each of those categories at one time or another. 

ASAP members come from a variety of backgrounds across a wide range of industries. Some are still building their careers, some are active retirees, and some are passive investors seeking a high return. ASAP’s mission is to provide opportunities for its members to potentially achieve outstanding financial returns through investment and involvement in early-stage companies with a focus on technology. For more information, please visit https://asap-invests.com/about/ 

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