Angel investors are the quiet driving force behind many businesses, and have helped to fund and float countless startups by providing capital for a business, normally in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. Business angels or seed investors, like Bill Gates Sr., 90, have helped to grow tech and other industries, while reaffirming the importance of philanthropy.
It’s been said that the angel investing of Gates Sr. and others like him has helped to create “a spirit of community building.” Gates Sr., who turned 90 years old just last month, is frequently recognized as the father of Microsoft’s co-founder, Bill Gates Jr. However, he’s rarely recognized for his history as an outstanding attorney and a pioneer in the tech industry before Microsoft was dreamt up. The philanthropist and high-powered attorney was not only a major supporter of numerous global health, education and arts charities, but he also served as an angel investor to countless others.
After Gates Sr. helped to take Physio-Control, a company that’s considered a world leader in the manufacturing, development, sale and service of automated CPR equipment and emergency defibrillation, public in 1971, he began working with other angel investors to grow IT and biotech industries. He, along with Physio’s president and CEO Hunter Simpson and venture capitalist Tom Cable, formed the nonprofit Washington Research Foundation in 1981. Since it’s development, the firm has helped to fund research institutions and it’s secured 110 product licenses, earning more than $350 million for the University of Washington.
Additionally, Gates Sr. was part of the team that launched the Technology Alliance in 1996, a group that endeavored to grow the power of local leaders in the tech industry. The Technology Alliance created the Alliance of Angels, which is considered one of the nation’s leading angel investment networks. The Technology Alliance is also responsible for the Ada Developers Academy, a program offering computer training to women.
That’s just a brief snippet of some of the great work that Gates Sr. has done throughout his full life. The former lawyer has won the hearts of many due to his servitude.