More than 15 years ago, Dick Crawford oversaw an independent research project conducted by two students at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business that he knew had potential.

The main idea entailed the creation of a national organization of UVA alumni that would be broken into geographical chapters for the purpose of making group angel investments.

However, the project never got any real momentum.

“One of the stumbling blocks to establishing the national alumni organization, as envisioned by the project, was the logistics of such a national organization and how it would get set up,” recalled Crawford, a visiting lecturer at the time. “Because entrepreneurial pitches to members had to be done in a physical setting such as dinner, it was very labor-intensive to organize a group such as the students had envisioned, with members located in different cities.”

Oh, how times have changed.