Founded in 2000, the Desert Angels is a Tucson-based non-profit organization of accredited investors that seeks opportunities to invest in regional startup and early-stage companies. We represent a network of over 100 active angel investors, who have invested $60million into 132 portfolio companies and 10 Sidecar funds.
Angel investing strengthens startup companies, which leads to new jobs, new resources, and regional economic impact. To that end, we are launching new educational and outreach programs and actively seeking strategic partners for collaboration and sponsorship. If you are interested to learn more, we encourage you to please reach out to any of us at the “CONTACT US” links below.
The Desert Angels have consistently been recognized as one of the most active angel groups in the country and, in 2019 was ranked #1 in the southwest and #8 in the country according to the 2019 ARI HALO report. (https://angelresourceinstitute.org/research-reports.php). The Desert Angels is a charter member of the Angel Capital Association, which is the trade association of angel investment groups in North America and today represents over 240 angel investor groups and funds. To learn more about the ACA: www.angelcapitalassociation.org.
Angel Capital Association
The Desert Angels are a charter member of the Angel Capital Association. The Angel Capital Association is the trade association of angel investment groups in North America. American Capital AssociationFounded by angel investment groups in the United States and Canada to help maximize the success of group-based angel investors, ACA accomplishes its mission by providing professional development, best practices, networking, and collaboration opportunities for angel investors who belong to member angel groups. More than 220 angel groups are members of ACA, and those groups represent about 12,000 accredited angel investors. To learn more about the ACA further information is available at www.angelcapitalassociation.org.
Our members are as diverse as our portfolio. From entrepreneurs to engineers, from surgeons to scientists, our membership consists of domain experts who add important value beyond capital to our companies.
JoAnn MacMaster – CEO
Board Member & Chief Executive Officer
Jeffrey Lang – Chairman
Chairman of the Board
Board Member & Screening Chair
Base Horner – Treasurer & Secretary
Treasurer & Secretary
Crystal Royce, CPA, CFE
Member & Chairman
Jeffrey Lang is the Chairman of the Board and an active member of the Desert Angels. His career includes more than 30 years in roles including executive management experience as CEO, COO, CFO & CTO of companies from $10MM to $200MM turnover. For more than 10 years, Jeff has been actively involved in startup to mid-level angel and private equity investment, board level and advisory efforts. As a member of Desert Angels he has invested in more than 35 businesses involved with industries ranging across consumer products, medical instrumentation, software development and healthcare research and product development.
Member & CEO
Prior to taking on the CEO role with the Desert Angels, MacMaster served as the Sr. Director of Venture Development for the University of Arizona’s TLA team, focused on the commercialization of university research through the development of startup companies. She’s served as a startup founder, mentor, investor, and educator, and is a recipient of the Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson Lasting Community Builder Award. She is an AUTM board member and UA Academic Leadership Institute Fellow, and previously served as President of the Arizona Business Incubation Association. She returned home to Tucson in 2000 after living and working in Europe for over a decade and holds an MBA from Edinburgh University Scotland.
Secretary / Treasurer
Mr. Horner serves as Treasurer for the Desert Angels. Previously, he was the Screening Panel Chairman for ten years until 2020. He is a co-founder of Arch Partners LLC, a seed capital fund investing in very early-stage entrepreneurial ventures. Mr. Horner was a co-founder of US Capital Partners LLC, a boutique investment banking firm. Prior to founding USCP, he was a senior member of the Corporate Finance Division of EVEREN Securities, Inc. and Smith Barney, Inc. Mr. Horner received his B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Screening Panel Chair
Mike serves as the Chairperson for the Desert Angels Screening Panel. Mr. Sember has over 40 years of global experience in the pharmaceutical industry. An accomplished executive, entrepreneur, leader, and mentor Sember has been the COO or CEO of 5 diverse companies ranging from drug discovery providers to therapeutically focused biotechnology companies to medical devices. He has also been active as a consultant to numerous companies, as well as active in industry organizations and community affairs. Most recently he served as a mentor to companies formed from inventions discovered at the University of Arizona.
Emeritus Board Member
Harry has more than 35 years’ experience in founding, operating, and investing in successful rapid growth technology‐related companies. He co‐founded Solstice Capital. Previously, from 1981 to 1989, Mr. George was co‐founder, Director, and Vice‐President of Finance for Interleaf Inc. During this time, Interleaf, a pioneer in electronic publishing, grew to be a publicly-traded company with $100 million in annual revenue. From 1996 to 2003, he was a Trustee of the Arizona‐Sonora Desert Museum, and he currently serves as its Vice-Chair of Treasure the Desert Capital Campaign. He is also a Trustee of the Tucson Museum of Art and serves as secretary‐treasurer for the museum. He received an AB from Bowdoin College. Harry has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Desert Angels for more than 10 years.
Emeritus Board Member and Chairman
Curtis Gunn is a member of the Desert Angels, a very active angel investment group of accredited investors in Tucson, AZ that review presentations from early stage startup companies looking for potential funding. Prior to this role, Curtis traveled the world competing as a professional cyclist riding for both US and Australian-based Professional Cycling teams. Previous to his life as a professional athlete, he was an entrepreneur founding and operating companies based in retail, Internet, healthcare and real estate. As an angel investor, Curtis has invested in over 40 different companies across a broad spectrum of industries, technologies, and geographies. Curtis served on the board of Startup Tucson and was formerly on the board of the Angel Capital Association. Curtis served as Chairman of Desert Angels for 10 years through the end of 2019.