What Leaders in the Entrepreneurial Community Say:
David is the most important and influential angel investor in our region. He is disciplined in his investment thesis. He is willing to take calculated risks on new ventures, knowing full well that not all of the pieces are in place to ensure its success. I say “most important” because of his willingness to roll up his sleeves and get intimately involved in the technology, market opportunity and entrepreneurial makeup of the ventures, he is considering and/or has backed. David is an active investor and coach—he will take entrepreneurs on ride along sales calls, help guide the development of the product roadmap, actively recruit additional team members, and wisely coach first-time entrepreneurs on the nuances of capital formation and financing. Any venture lucky enough to engage David has a much greater chance of success because of his investment of time.
Director of Entrepreneurship
Council for Entrepreneurial Development
David Gardner represents the very definition of “smart money.” He makes regular angel investments at very fair terms, both leading rounds and investing individually. He then works alongside entrepreneurs to help them succeed. David serves on boards, holds people accountable and goes on sales calls. Best of all, he puts his extensive network to use by connecting founders with those who can help entrepreneurial companies get to the next milestone.
Triangle Angel Network-
David is an amazing contributor to the Triangle startup community. Not only does he invest significant capital to the region in extremely early stage companies, he actively helps each of these companies advance their business forward in meaningful ways. He is a great role model for other successful entrepreneurs on how you can make a difference once you have a big exit.
First Flight Venture Center
I’ve known David Gardner for three years as he’s worked to mentor some of the best startups in our region–many of which he’s personally invested in. David isn’t a talker–he makes things happen and backs them financially which is one of the reasons the Triangle is on the rise as a prominent startup hub. I won’t be surprised if in five years people look back on the Triangle and see a direct correlation between the success of our startup community and David’s involvement.
I have known David for many years. He invested in my venture and we periodically discuss opportunities and trends. I often see David around the Triangle mostly at restaurants and coffee shops always in passionate conversation with some entrepreneur. David is the real deal. He does what he says and puts a lot of effort into supporting local entrepreneurs.
Founder and CEO
There aren’t a lot of consistently successful entrepreneurs like David and even fewer that can communicate as clearly and as effectively as he does with his founders.
David Gardner is an absolutely critical component of the Triangle startup ecosystem – period. His hands on approach to investing coupled with his passion to grow great companies, has led to a very high success rate for his portfolio investments. David does not believe in a one-size-fits-all strategy and helps focus the startup teams in the direction of biggest impact and highest value creation.”
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager
City of Raleigh
David epitomizes the “roll-up-your-sleeves” approach to angel investing. I love that the first thing he thinks about is how he can help startups either find their first customers or build out their customer base. From making customer cold-calls to strategizing on how best to message, David adds immediate value. His financial investment just augments this incredibly productive hands-on approach.
The Startup Factory
I have worked with David, first as an entrepreneur and then as an investor, for many years. David’s experience in starting and growing companies makes him an extremely valuable investor. Sure, the investment money is important for any emerging company but what is more valuable is smart and involved money. And that is what David brings. He won’t invest unless he can be actively involved with the company and unless he believes that he personally can add value to the company through strategic advice and contacts. His involvement greatly increases a company’s chance for success. Unfortunately, investors like David are not easy to find. We are always pleased when a client has David as an investor and advisor.
I’ve worked with David and watched him do his magic with entrepreneurs. He knows what they need to hear and he says it in a way that makes sense to them and is actionable.
David has single handedly upgraded the Raleigh-Durham startup community with his advice and investment approach. Anytime he speaks to entrepreneurs, I’d encourage them to listen.
I have had the pleasure of working as corporate counsel to a number of companies in which Alex and David have invested. Both bring tremendous value to their portfolio companies by leveraging their impressive prior operational experiences and by becoming invaluable advisors and confidants to their CEO’s. David, in particular, truly enjoys getting his hands dirty as an active participant in the operations of his portfolio companies and brings so much more than capital to each company in which he invests. Getting access to entrepreneurs like David and Alex as part of a company’s investor syndicate is, in itself, a real competitive advantage to each such company.
Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson
As a serial entrepreneur, CEO and now angel investor, I know how important it is for early stage companies to raise money from the right sources. David provides the hands on, been-there-done-that experience that is so desperately needed by young entrepreneurs. Most of these are long on great ideas and commitment but short on the real world experience to turn their idea into a successful business. Since David is a successful serial entrepreneur himself he understands both how to work with young entrepreneurs and the business realities to drive those precious early sales. Every young business needs an investor like David.
I am a firm believer that the success our Triangle’s burgeoning entrepreneurial community is seeing is dependent upon those successful entrepreneurs that give back. David is one of those individuals and someone who has invested both time and money in helping those high impact/high growth companies in the region.
Executive Director/ Co-Founder
H/Q Raleigh Accelerator
David has his finger on the entrepreneurial heartbeat of the Triangle. He is everywhere. I meet with David, Alex Osadzinski and other leaders in the startup/investor community every month to discuss trends and various ventures. His companies always seem to be the ones breaking out. David is uniquely suited to his model and it works.
David Gardner speaks at our Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNC Wilmington discussing why he is such an active early stage investor. It is obvious to me that David is a unicorn among high net worth individuals that like to be first-in money. I personally love when former entrepreneurs become angel investors and venture capitalists. He has done valuable office hours at our accelerator and keeps in touch with our entrepreneurs.
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
University of North Carolina Wilmington
David Gardner has been in the Research Triangle community for years. He has made a valuable contribution to the early stage company eco-system in the area. His strategy of identifying good companies, investing at fair terms and then working hard with the management teams has proven very successful. His reputation as an honest, forthright and experienced investor/executive has made him one of the pre-eminent angel investors in North Carolina and the Southeast.
The Aurora Funds