By: Elizabeth Usovicz, Principal of WhiteSpace Consulting, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

What is growth hacking? Many startup founders aspire or claim to be growth hackers, but the term’s meaning has lost precision since it was first used six years ago. Like “bandwidth,” the word “hacking” has mainstreamed into popular culture and is often used to describe a shortcut in food, fashion and life in general. Growth hacking for startups is not an easily duplicated quick fix. Investor and entrepreneur Paul Singh noted at a 1 Million Cups meeting in Kansas City that “Everyone wants to read about growth hacking...[but] by the time the growth hacker actually writes the growth hack out, there’s no yield anymore.” 

By: Solomon Brenner, member of Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and Managing Director at Startup2angel

This post originally appeared on Startup2angel.

The guru of due diligence reports, the man known for thorough research and reconnaissance at Kieretsu is Howard Lubert. At one point, he took a look at some of his investments and compared them to others that were more successful and he found one consistent pattern that determined whether a venture was successful or not that went beyond the due diligence report. It came down to people:

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of state securities regulators with leaders of different parts of our securities markets in the US and Canada to compare notes.  Not only do I admire the regulators for holding meetings such as this, but I learned a great deal about some of our newest types of securities – equity crowdfunding for everyone and Regulation A (Reg A+ for short).

By agreement of all attendees, I can’t share some specifics of who said what, but let me share some of my general takeaways from the NASAA Capital Formation Roundtable about equity crowdfunding:

  • Anyone can invest in equity crowdfunding offerings via two mechanisms:  1) at the federal level “Regulation Crowdfunding” opened for American citizens on May 16 and 2) “intrastate crowdfunding” allows for state residents to invest in businesses in that state.  Currently 34 states have approved intrastate crowdfunding and 29 are currently online

By: Matt Dunbar, co-founder of the South Carolina Angel Network and managing director of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network.

This post originally appeared in Upstate Business Journal.

On Father’s Day weekend, I indulged a bit in watching the last round of the U.S. Open golf tournament and the last game of the NBA Finals. My lovely wife, who doesn’t exactly share my interest in sports (other than college football), opined that she found the sports to be boring — except right at the end when you find out who’s going to win.

Matt Dunbar contributed to this article. He is the co-founder of the South Carolina Angel Network and managing director of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network.

This post originally appeared in Upstate Business Journal.

Risky business

Investing in startups is not for the faint of heart. These businesses are just beginning to develop, and their expenses typically exceed their revenue. In fact, most of them will fail.

But you could find yourself sitting on a goldmine. Case in point: Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He invested about $100,000 in Google just months after founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the tech giant in their garage.

Bechtolsheim is now worth about $3 billion. That could be you.

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, Principal of WhiteSpace Consulting, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."  

On the reality television series “Shark Tank,” an estimated 50,000 entrepreneurs compete for 125 on-air slots each season. While the pitch dynamics and deal-making are high energy, there’s a reason that the next step in the funding process is not on the show. According T.J. Hale of Shark Tank Podcast, due diligence craters an estimated two- thirds of the on-air deals.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

On May 16 when new “Regulation Crowdfunding” took effect, all American citizens received a gift that angel investors have enjoyed for years—they can buy stock in startups. But behind all of the excitement are a few surprises both investors and the companies raising money might not realize. These curveballs may mean that equity crowdfunding, won’t deliver the financial impact that Congress intended for startups when it passed the JOBS Act four years ago. 

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Ever wonder how your investment activity and background compares to other angels in the US?  Take The American Angel survey to put in your information and get early access to detailed reports to learn more. 

ACA is partnering with Wharton Entrepreneurship to develop the first ever large dataset of US angel investors to understand who angels are demographically, how they became angel investors, how angels make decisions, and what level and type of investment activity they have.  The project should benefit angels as an asset class as it brings more visibility to angels, supports a stronger early-stage investing environment, and lead to better public policies to support angel investing and innovative startups.  It just might refute a lot of assumptions about angel investors that are incorrect.

By Craig Mullett - President of Branison Group, a corporate finance firm based in Connecticut, USA. Craig is an active angel investor as a director of the Angel Investor Forum. He is also a founder of AngelHub, Africa's first angel group and helped in establishing Trident Angels, the first Caribbean angel group. 

(Editor’s Note:  We liked Craig’s notes from the ACA Summit so much that we thought other ACA members and investors would also get value from them.)

Smart money
Kay Koplovitz (USA Network/ Springboard Enterprises)

  • Be open to serendipitous moments where entrepreneurial solutions may be uncovered
  • Angels need to network where there are innovation pipelines to stay close to cutting edge startups 
  • Plan how your capital will be able to move startups "up the escalator" to the next capital raise and ultimately to exit

By: Dave Berkus, Dave Berkus, ”Super angel” investor, tech futurist  

--A model for angel-led investment deals and syndication--

Congratulations to Cognition Therapeutics, Inc. (CogRx), a Pennsylvania life sciences company, which ACA recognized as the outstanding angel-financed company for 2016, when they received the Luis Villalobos Award. First among twenty-five finalists, a committee of experienced angel investors selected the firm above its competitors for numerous reasons.