The Alliance of Angels, one of the largest networks of individual investors in the Puget Sound area, said 20 local startups this year raised...

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The Alliance of Angels, one of the largest networks of individual investors in the Puget Sound area, said 20 local startups this year raised $7 million, even more than in 1999, when the tech bubble was at its peak and the alliance was at its busiest.

The alliance, which has about 100 members, meets monthly to evaluate business plans from three Northwest companies. Members then decide individually or in groups whether to invest.

“The most promising thing to me is the number of different companies that got funded,” said alliance chairman Dan Rosen, a venture capitalist at Frazier Technology Ventures in Seattle.

He said about half of the young, often unproven companies that made pitches to the group got funding. “You don’t expect more than 25 or 30 percent,” he said.

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“It’s a testament that there’s better entrepreneurs and better companies and better angels more willing to make investments.”

The alliance is one of a handful of angel investing groups in the Northwest, so it is difficult to say if its results are representative on the whole. But to be sure, the numbers are off the charts.

The $7.03 million raised by companies this year is 43 percent higher than last year when nine companies received $4 million. In 1999, at the height of the tech boom, only 15 companies received $4.3 million.

Susannah Malarkey, executive director of the Technology Alliance, a statewide program, said the growth could be explained in the maturity of the organization. In 1999, the alliance was only 2 years old.

This year, the amount of money companies received ranged from as little as $50,000 to as much as $3 million. The largest deal was carried by a venture-capital firm, not an individual investor, Malarkey said. It’s still counted in the results, however, because the investor became aware of the company at the event.

Most of the investments are kept private. But the alliance said 10 companies fell into the category of wireless or information technology; nine were consumer and leisure and four deals were in life sciences.

In particular, Seattle-based TeachTown, which develops computer-assisted treatment for autistic and special-needs children, raised about $250,000 and Seattle-based CleverSet, which builds software to make product recommendations, has raised about $1 million, which came partly from the alliance members.

Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or tduryee@seattletimes.com