Bill’s CV

Curriculum Vitae

William H. Payne

      Mr. Payne is an engineer, entrepreneur, angel investor and educator.  He started Solid State Dielectrics, Inc. (SSD), a capacitor dielectric materials company, in 1971 and sold the company to DuPont in 1982.  Since founding SSD, Mr. Payne has accomplished the following:

  • Invested as an angel in over 50 startup companies
  • Over 120 man-years of service on private company and non-profit boards of directors
  • Consulted in materials technology to the multilayer capacitor industry
  • Served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to the Kauffman Foundation
  • Served on six university advisory boards
  • Served as the president of the United States Advanced Ceramics Association, the National Institute of Ceramic Engineers and the American Ceramic Society
  • Taught over 80 workshops and seminars on angel investing in five countries.
  • Assisted in the founding of four angel groups in the US
  • Served on the founding committee of the Angel Capital Association (US)


     Mr. Payne graduated from the University of Illinois (Urbana) with a BS (1963) and MS (1964) degrees in Ceramic Engineering (Materials Science).  His thesis on the ferroelectric properties of the BaTiO3 – BaHfO3 system was published in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.


      Mr. Payne served as a volunteer committee person and leader of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) for nearly thirty years.  He served as president of this organization of 3000 engineers and scientists in 1989.  He was made a Fellow of ACerS in 1980 and Distinguished Life Member (ACerS highest award) in 2000.  From 1995 to 2000, he served as president of the Ceramic Foundation.

     Mr. Payne has been an active member of the National Institute of Ceramic Engineers (NICE) for over 30 years.  He was awarded the Schwartzwalder-PACE Award as outstanding young ceramic engineer in 1978 and served as president of NICE in 1979.

     Mr. Payne served as president of the United States Advanced Ceramics Association (USACA), a US trade organization promoting sophisticated ceramic products, in 1986.


 University of Illinois – College of Engineering – Dean’s Board of Visitors

Entrepreneurial Engineering Center Advisory Board – Chairman 2000

  • University of Washington – Ceramic Engineering – Industrial Advisory Board
  • Alfred University – Center for Advanced Ceramics – chair, External Advisory Board

John F. McMahon Award and Lecture – Alfred University (1990)

  • Cal. Poly (Pomona) – Chemical Engineering – Industrial Advisory Council
  • University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Entrepreneurship Center – Advisor
  • University of Arizona – 2004 Anheuser Bush Entrepreneur in Residence

McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, Eller College of Management


      Mr. Payne worked as a research engineer and manager for Interpace Corporation in the ‘60s, developing new ceramic materials and products.  He developed thermal control coatings for the Surveyor spacecraft while working for Hughes Aircraft in the late ‘60s.  In 1992, Mr. Payne was hired as president of Vistatech Corporation, a startup subsidiary of Carlisle Companies Inc., and charged with commercializing proprietary technology for volume-efficient multilayer ceramic capacitors. Mr. Payne licensed this technology to Mitsubishi Materials Corporation in 1995.


     Mr. Payne co-founded Solid State Dielectrics, Inc. in 1971 to manufacturer dielectric powders for the multilayer ceramic capacitor business and sold SSD to DuPont in 1982. The business is now integrated into Ferro Corporation with revenues estimated at $20 million annually.  During his career, Mr. Payne presented many papers on dielectrics for multilayer capacitors at meetings of the American Ceramic Society and other venues.


     Angels invest their personal funds in startup ventures, generally much earlier in the life cycle of the company than do venture capitalists.  This asset class is very high risk investing, with about half of such investments expected to return zero (or less than capital invested) to angels and only 10 – 15% “home runs,” in which funded companies provide the investors with 10X or higher returns on investment.  In the past 15 years, angels have begun to invest in groups, with over 300 angel organizations founded in North America.  Mr. Payne has been investing as an angel since 1980 and has funded over 50 companies.  Since 1999, Mr. Payne has been a founding and organizing member of four angel organizations in the US.

     Mr. Payne’s returns as an angel investor mirror those reported in the literature.  About half his investments have gone out of business.  Most of the rest provide small returns or are still in operations.  Four of his angel investments have been outstanding successes:

  • Novacap, Inc. was founded in 1980 with Mr. Payne as the “business angel.” This manufacturer of multilayer ceramic capacitors grew to $6 million in revenues with 100 employees by 1987 when it was sold to Dover Inc. Novacap continues to operate as a stand-alone unit within Dover, with $70 million in annual revenues and 350 employees.
  • Mr. Payne served as Chairman of Ceramic Devices, Inc. from the founding in 1980 until the business was sold to Pacific Coast Technologies in 1995. Annual revenues of this manufacturer of electronic RF filters are currently about $10 million and CDI employs about 60.
  • Mr. Payne headed a small group of investors that formed Vista Staffing Solutions, Inc. in 1990. With 200 employees, VISTA has annual revenues of about $75 million in the temporary placement of physicians.  The company was sold to On Assignment (ASGN) in 2006
  • Mr. Payne invested in Email Publishing in 1996.  The company raised venture capital, was sold in 1999 and is now part of DoubleClick, Inc. (DCLK).

     Mentoring is an important part of angel investing.  Mr. Payne has mentored over 100 companies in the past twenty-five years, including many not in his portfolio of angel investments.


      Mr. Payne has been an active founder of four angel organizations:

Aztec Venture Network – AVN was founded in 1999 as a member-managed pooled angel fund with 31 members in the San Diego area.  AVN is fully invested at this time.

Tech Coast Angels – TCA is a large network of 300 angels located in Southern California.  TCA has five chapters located in the Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego areas.  TCA has invested in over 100 startup companies since 1997.  Mr. Payne helped organized the San Diego chapter of TCA in 2000.

Vegas Valley Angels – V V A is a network of 45 angel investors in Las Vegas who have invested over $10 million in 12 companies since 2003.  Mr. Payne is a founding organizer.

Frontier Angel Fund – Mr. Payne helped organize this pooled fund of 30 accredited investors in rural Montana in 2006.  FAF has invested in seven new companies since inception and has several more in the pipeline.


      This, the highest award in angel investing in the US, is awarded in memory of Hans Severiens, founder of the Band of Angels in Silicon Valley (1994) who died in 2004.  The Angel Capital Association (ACA) announced on April 16th that William H. Payne has been named the 2009 recipient at the ACA Summit in Atlanta.  The award honors individuals whose actions demonstrate leadership in advancing the role of angel investing, in expanding entrepreneurship, and whose accomplishments influence and benefit the angel investment industry.


      The ICE Angels of Auckland, New Zealand established the William H. Payne Active Angel Award to annually recognize a member of The ICE Angels network for extraordinary contributions to angel investment in New Zealand in June 2010.  This award acknowledges and celebrates the important contributions made by Bill Payne to The ICE Angels and other angel organizations during his five-month business visit to New Zealand during the first half of 2010.  The ICEHOUSE chief executive Andy Hamilton said, “We were fortunate to have had Bill here working so closely with businesses and angel groups around New Zealand. His guidance will have a positive effect on the start-up and investment community for a long time.”



Mr. Payne was appointed Entrepreneur-in-Residence to the Kauffman Foundation in 1995 and served in that position for twelve years.  During that period, he worked on many projects for entrepreneurs.  Here are a few examples:

Entrepreneurial Gatherings:  In the late ‘90s, Kauffman was particularly interested in how entrepreneurs learn.  To implement these first principals, Kauffman hosted educational forums, inviting 100s of high-growth entrepreneurs to Kansas City to learn about managing human resources, raising capital, sharing equity and other topics.  Mr. Payne was part of the organizing committee at Kauffman and a key instructor for the capital sources workshops.

eVenturing:  Kauffman funded an online monthly magazine for high-growth entrepreneurs in the early 2000s, in which new resources were developed on wide-ranging topics of importance to entrepreneurs.  Mr. Payne was one of four content editors for eVenturing.

Power of Angel Investing:  Market research indicated to Kauffman that accredited investors had no sources of education or training on the topic of angel investing.  Beginning in 1999, Mr. Payne headed a team that developed a series of six seminars and workshops on angel investing for these investors.  These seminars have now been delivered more than 200 times by several lead instructors in many locations.  Mr. Payne has personally led the delivery of over 80 of these seminars and workshop in 30 states and five countries.

Angel Capital Association:  Mr. Payne was part of a team of angel leaders and Kauffman associates who, in 2001, saw the need for a national organization of angel groups and founded the Angel Capital Association (ACA).  He has been affiliated with in many roles since the organization was spun out of the Kauffman Foundation in 2006.


    Mr. Payne has delivered numerous lectures on technical ceramics, multilayer capacitors and applications, technology transfer, the commercialization of advanced ceramics, entrepreneurship and start-up businesses.

    Mr. Payne has significant experience in new product development, commercializing new products and using strategic partnerships to facilitate new product implementation. While employed by the DuPont Company in the middle ’80s, his charge was to define new opportunities for the company in advanced ceramics. He is a strong advocate for technology transfer from universities with ceramic engineering programs into U.S. companies through his involvement in advisory committees to materials science and engineering departments at four U.S. universities.

    Mr. Payne is an experienced advisor to entrepreneurs.   In addition to his angel investing, described above, he has written an ebook, the Definitive Guide to Raising Money from Angels, available on his website at  Mr. Payne has also written many articles on angel investing, published on eVenturing and elsewhere.  He has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, Business Week and others, as an expert on angel investing.  He is a popular speaker on this topic in the US.

Please scroll down to links to an interview and recent articles on angel investing….

Interview of Bill Payne at the 2006 INC 500 Conference in Savannah, Georgia:

Recent Articles on Angel Investing by Bill Payne:

About Angel Investing (links):

Angels Shine Brightly for Start-up Entrepreneurs

These Angels Like to Work as a Team (New York Times)

Angel financing: Trends for today’s entrepreneurs (USA Today)

Angel Investing: Enabling Entrepreneurial Growth (Future Venture)

For Angel Investors (links):

Doing Well, Doing Good and Having Fun

Asset Allocation and Portfolio Strategy for Angel Investors

Joining Angel Organizations – A Win-Win Opportunity

Valuing Pre-revenue Companies  (Editor:  Bill Payne)

Sidecar Funds and Angel Groups

For Entrepreneurs Seeking Investment (links):

What To Expect From Angel Networks (American Venture)

Using the Board for Company Growth

Debt Financing for High-Growth Companies

Choosing Your Exit Strategy

Terms and Conditions of Selling Your Business