By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Three ACA member organizations have really put on their hiking boots with excellent adventures and exits in late 2016.  On top of some really great investor returns, they also include a couple of important social returns that I really like.  Let me tell you about them:

By: William Carleton, Counselor @ Law, and volunteer chair of ACA Public Policy Advisory Council

Don't look now, but entire development teams, with significant experience (2-3 years+) working together, are leaving giant tech companies to found startups.

If 20 years ago the archetype was two renegades in a garage with an idea and the will to figure stuff out, today's paradigm is six or seven developers and a political savvy business leader (or two, or more) who have learned to trust one another and work effectively as a unit. All courtesy of the experience of shipping products for a well funded, publicly traded company.

By David Verrill, Chair of ACA’s Public Policy Committee

Ten days ago, I took a trip to Washington, DC with ACA executive director Marianne Hudson and our government affairs team of Chris McCannell and Greg Mesack from Eris Group.  It was an interesting three days, with a combination of planning our policy work for the year, meeting with other associations with overlapping interests, and ten meetings on Capitol Hill.  This was the week after the inauguration of President Trump, and you could see a lot of change in our nation’s capital.  Here is what I learned:

Comprehensive Tax Reform

Comprehensive tax reform is coming (after Congress deals with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare), with the goal of having it done by August 1.  Most believe that the House will follow blueprints by Paul Ryan and former Ways & Means chair Dave Camp as the basis to build on, with the following features:

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

On my mission to get smarter and smarter about angel investing, I think it’s important to read as much as I can from leading investors and experts in entrepreneurship.  There were some really great articles last year that made a difference to my own investing and thinking about trends and policies.  Here are 25 top articles that caught my attention in 2016.  I think they’re worth another read, or a first read in case you missed them.

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." 

Technological change occurs at breakneck speed. In 1965. Moore’s law first predicted that computer chip size would shrink exponentially, while processing speed would double every 18 months. When high-velocity innovation intersects with a globally networked world population, the result is cognitive whiplash. “Whiplash” is also the title of a recently published book based on the premise that “our technologies have outpaced our ability, as a society, to understand them.”

“Whiplash”: A User’s Manual

Author Joi Ito is Director of MIT’s Media Lab, as well as an entrepreneur and angel investor. His co-author, Jeff Howe, teaches at Northeastern University and is the Contributing Editor to Wired magazine who coined the term “crowdfunding.”  In “Whiplash, How to Survive Our Faster Future,” Ito and Howe outline a user’s manual of nine principles for adapting to an environment of rapid and relentless technology advancements. 

By: Angela Jackson is an ACA Board Member and Chairs the “Grassroots Group” for ACA members interested in interacting with Members of Congress.  Want to join?  Shoot Angela an email.

Exciting things are happening in Washington, DC relative to advancing the ACA legislative agenda - and we're requesting your immediate help.

Call to Action - by Monday January 9!

ACA just got word that the House of Representatives plans to vote on the HALOS Act next week.  HALOS (Helping Angels Lead Our Startups) exempts demo days from general solicitation rules, meaning that companies that participate in any type of demo day would no longer need to worry about taking extra steps to verify investors are accredited – unless they are going the solicitation 506(c) way.  And angels who prefer to invest in private deals would have better assurances that companies had not tripped the general solicitation trigger.  The bill, HR 79, has great bi-partisan sponsors:  leads Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and co-sponsors Andy Barr (R-KY), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), John Delaney (D-MD), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Ann Wagner (R-MO).

I have to admit that while I have really enjoyed being an angel investor and meeting such interesting people, but the real fun didn’t start until I had an exit.  I was lucky enough to be one of 40+ investors in EyeVerify, which was acquired in September by Ant Financial, a subsidiary of Alibaba for more than $100 million.  There’s nothing like getting that return check – or hearing the ins and outs of the acquisition from the entrepreneur and angels on the board!

This made me wonder how many other ACA members also had this kind of fun.  In a quick bit of website research, I found an incomplete list of acquisitions and IPOs for portfolio companies of ACA members in 2016 below.  These ACA members are from throughout North America, not just the usual venture hotspots.  I don’t know how many angels were involved in these exits, but congrats to them and the entrepreneurs who led those companies.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

One of the best parts of being an angel investor is supporting companies after you invest.  And now angels have a new support tool in our pockets for portfolio companies – a new federal tax benefit that can add up to $250,000 per year for these young businesses.  This is real money for startups – and better yet, it is totally non-dilutive to angel investor equity!

I learned about the Federal Research and Experimentation Tax Credit and how it will change for qualified startups at a recent meeting of the Angel Capital Association and I think it is important to get this news to as many angels and entrepreneurs as possible, so they can benefit as soon as possible.  Cash is short for angel-backed companies, so finding extra money – especially of this size - is really important.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

The Angel Capital Association has been very active in educating policy makers in Washington, DC for six years, and I am proud to say that this Fall ACA has ramped up our activity and effectiveness even more.  In case you missed it:  here’s what the association has done to advocate for startups and angels in the last two months, and providing insights to our members:

  • Wrote a letter to the Trump transition team – ACA’s memo highlights the importance of new businesses to job creation in the US and the need to promote policies that free up capital and minimize regulatory burdens.  The focus is on what President Elect Trump can do immediately, during his first 100 days, and also in his first year in office on everything from appointing SEC commissioners who understand early-stage investing to keeping the current accredited investor definition the same to tax policy that catalyzes investment in high growth, innovative startups.

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

This post originally appeared on Berkonomics.com

Well, it had to happen.  Originally created in the mid 1990’s to help with the imprecise problem of how to value early stage companies, especially those in technology, I developed what soon became known as “The Berkus Method” when published in the popular book, “Winning Angels” by Harvard’s Amis and Stevenson with my permission in 2001.  But a lot of time has passed since then.

There is a universal truth: fewer than one in a thousand start-ups meet or exceed their projected revenues in the periods planned.  So how do you use financial projections as valuation metrics when you know the odds of those being accurate predictors of the future are so very unreliable?

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