Peter Dal Bianco was born in Italy, immigrated to Sudbury at the age of six, graduated from Northern College as a Civil Technologist and embarked on a career as an electronics retailer at the age of 28 in 1975. He also invested in a video rental franchise and ended up as president of a video rental business with 650 franchisees across North America.
In 2014, Peter sold his eponymous electronics business to his partner and focused on his passion for management consulting. He worked closely with NORCAT, a Sudbury based innovation centre, as a member of its Mentoring Board and with the Northern Ontario Angels investing group as a consultant.
In the latter roles, he provided coaching and mentoring to startups in Sudbury and increased the number of angel investors in the city.
In this interview, Peter offers advice about how to determine if an entrepreneur with an idea for a business is ready for angel investing. A consultant or coach must first determine if the entrepreneur has the necessary work ethic and drive to make the sacrifices required during the early years of a startup. Also important, he tells us, is the value proposition because in order to be successful, the product or service has to fill a need in the market.
As examples of angel investing success, Peter cites three Sudbury-based health-care businesses: Plan A Long-Term Staffing Solutions, Flosonics and RNA Diagnostics, which together have been able to raise between $20 to $25 million.
The Northern Ontario Angels investing group is recognized as one of the most successful angel investing groups in North America, but startups and economic development officers across Northern Ontario should also be aware of two additional investing groups – Phoenix Fire, which focuses on assisting women entrepreneurs, and the Axion Fund – that serve as additional sources of angel investing for Northern Ontario. Both are part of the Archangel Network, an overarching Canada-wide angel stage investment fund.
This interview clearly underlines the importance of recruiting successful business people to coach and mentor entrepreneurs, and refer them to angel investing groups once they are investor ready.