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WiMax Firm AzulStar Gets Funding From Grand Angels, Blue Water Angels

Two Michigan angel groups have co-invested in the Grand Haven fixed WiMax owner and operator AzulStar Inc., which teams with leading companies, governmental agencies and private investors to offer very-high bandwidth wireless data, voice and video services.

The West Michigan angel investing group Grand Angels and Midland-based Blue Water Angels, along with two individual investors, provided the funds, which will be used to help the company expand its high bandwidth wireless broadband services to Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Santa Fe, N.M.

The amount of the funding wasn't immediately disclosed.

"We're excited about AzulStar because you 'invest in the jockey', and we really like Tyler (van Houwelingen, CEO of AzulStar)," said Jody Vanderwel, president of Grand Angels. "His passion, work ethic and vision are evident, and he knows the broadband space inside and out. And a few of our members were already investors in AzulStar, so we had the opportunity to watch the company for quite a while."

The AzulStar investment marks the 19th deal Grand Angels has completed and its 13th active portfolio company. Grand Angels has invested more than $980,000 in growing companies this year alone, with a total of $7.3 million invested since the group's inception in 2004.

AzulStar leverages a combination of licensed WiMax and unlicensed Wi-Fi technologies to deliver high bandwidth wireless broadband services. AzulStar's new licensed spectrum 4G mobile WiMAX (802.16) networks deliver speeds up to six megabits per second for residential and 100 megabits per second symmetric for business customers, with uptimes over 99.99%.

"Collaborating with the Grand Angels has increased our deal flow and brought complementary perspectives to our business practices, allowing us to multiply our resources and advance the company strategy quickly," said Joe Asiala, Founding Member of the BlueWater Angels.  "Both Grand Angels and Blue Water Angels are highly respected groups, and the energy they have created by investing in AzulStar has brought investors off the sidelines.  It's been a great partnership so far."

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