By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

While I was preparing our ACA Member eNews this morning, I was especially struck by how much ACA member angels have helped create a great library of education and insights on ACA’s website.  Here are just of few of these resources for your investigation:

If you are looking for content on the building blocks of angel investing, go to ACA’s education resource center. There you can find videos, webinars, and articles on critical angel processes from portfolio building to valuation to due diligence and more.  The latest video is Introduction to Cap Tables, by ACA Board Member Kevin Learned, and he has also provided a model basic cap table to experiment with.  These programs are done in partnership with the Rising Tide Education Program, with support from the Kauffman Foundation.  In addition to Kevin, ACA member instructors include Victoria Barnard, Brigitte Baumann, Barbara Clarke, Marcia Dawood, Angela Jackson, Bill Payne, and Wendee Wolfson.

By: Christopher Mirabile, ACA Chair, Launchpad Venture Group, and co-founder of Seraf-investor.com

This post originally appeared on Inc.com

It’s almost time for a pat on the back. You’ve found investors, agreed to terms, and have a few more yards to reach the fundraising touchdown. Getting to closing has been a ton of hard work. It would be a shame to fumble at the one-yard line. One sure way to fumble is to forget your Form D filing with the federal and state securities regulators.

Not every entrepreneur realizes this, but even if you do a completely private and exempt offering in the U.S., a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission is required. In fact, these filings are how many journalists hear about the obscure private startup fundraises they cover. In fact, many publishers of startup lists and databases get their data directly from the U.S. government.

By Tom Walker, CEO of Rev1Ventures (parent organization of ACA member group Ohio TechAngel Funds)

As every entrepreneur knows, it’s not enough to have a good product—you must also have customers who want it.  In fact, more than four in 10 startups say a lack of market for their product was the reason their company failed, according to a study by CB Insights.

While inking the first deal can be one of the most challenging, gratifying, and defining experiences for a new company, it’s importance is too often minimized during initial first phases of development, compromising future opportunities and even causing avoidable difficulties when the customer relationship and terms aren’t set out right at the start. Having invested in hundreds of early-stage companies, I wish more of them had had more ready opportunities to learn the best ways to approach first customers. That’s why the Rev1 team is sharing its top advice for selling, so that more startups can benefit from this unique approach to closing the first customer and beyond. 

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Equity crowdfunding for all Americans is now more than two months old, and with that come some new stats on investment activity.  Among the key tidbits:

  • 70 companies registered offerings, requesting more than $35 million.
  • Nearly $5 million in capital was committed

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.

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