By: Ham Lord, Chairman of Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com and Christopher Mirabile, ACA Chair Emeritus, Managing Director at Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com

At Launchpad, we invest in dozens of companies every year. In the past, we frequently faced situations where we put a lot of work into diligence with a company and suddenly found out we were miles apart on deal term expectations and couldn't close the gap. This is a waste of time for all involved, and is the kind of frustration that leads to “deal fatigue” for investors trying to build a portfolio of investments. It can also lead to bad feelings and an increasing sense of mistrust between investors and entrepreneurs.

By: Linda Smith, ACA Chair

Last week, I made a very special announcement at the ACA Leadership Workshop:  after an incredible 14-year run, our esteemed Executive Director, Marianne Hudson, told us she intends to take early retirement.  When she told the ACA Board about her wishes quite recently, Marianne also graciously offered to stay with us until her replacement is brought into the organization.  The Board respects her decision and especially appreciates her dedication to continue leading the association until a new leader is with us.

By: Sheldon Hamburger, RTP Capital Associates, Inc.

Editor’s Note:

ACA member, Sheldon Hamburger of RTP Capital Associates, Inc. shares his opinion on creating the pitch-perfect pitch deck for entrepreneurs seeking capital from investors.  The article covers many key issues most angels would like to see addressed in a pitch deck, but the order of the topics may vary for other angels.  

Help Me Help You

I’ve lost track of how many pitch decks have come my way over the years and it still amazes me how often these requests for money are incomplete and missing even the most fundamental information such as: What is your product?  What are you asking for?  Why would anyone buy what you’re selling?

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

The Angel Capital Association is excited to announce our partnership with Hockeystick, the premier data and software provided for the private investing market.  The relationship with Hockeystick will allow ACA to make huge strides with the Angel Funders Report, an ongoing data initiative to improve investment outcomes, by creating an easy to use, free portal to submit the data to behind the public report. 

By Dr. Ethel Rubin, Entrepreneur in Residence, National Institutes of Health.  (NIH is an ACA Annual Partner)

You don’t need to read these sobering stats to know that Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is decimating the aging population, quite literally. One in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s, and nearly two-thirds are women. Today, there are 5.5 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRA) in the US alone and the numbers are only rising. The burden to healthcare and care providers is likewise huge: $200 billion USD. At NIH, we are doing our part by using both the SBIR and other grant funding mechanisms to tackle the problem. It’s not just a focus area whose time has come, it’s mandated by law (Public Law 111-375 The National Alzheimer's Project Act of 2011). 

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

It's my pleasure to announce Seraf Investor as ACA’s new Education Partner. Seraf co-founders Hambleton Lord and Christopher Mirabile are considered two of the top angel investors in not only New England, but the world – and our missions to educate and professionalize the angel communities align extremely well.  As ACA was embarking on our new strategic initiative to provide more education for our members, we learned that Seraf was also expanding their extensive article series into books and courses and we all realized we had a match made in heaven.  Below you can read Seraf’s account of its new education materials.  Know that ACA is incorporating and adapting the content from “Ham” and Christopher into ACA seminars we deliver at ACA events and provide in ACA member communities in many formats.  If we are successful in our Regional Innovation Strategies grant proposal, we’ll also be able to work together on a deep set of online learning videos and podcasts for you.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Recent progress to the American Innovation Act of 2018 (AKA “tax reform 2.0”) to include a proposal to protect Net Operating Losses (NOLs) of startups has the Angel Capital Association cheering.  ACA, along with the National Venture Capital Association, Biotechnology Innovation Organization and AdvaMed called for Congress to address an unintended consequence of rules blocking “loss trafficking.” The bill was introduced to reform rules that can unintentionally punish startups for attracting investments to support the growth of their companies.  Reform to the existing rules, written in the mid-1980s, will have significant impact on startup companies and their ability to gain full valuation for additional investments and exits.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the board meeting of the Center for American Entrepreneurship.  This non-profit, non-partisan organization provides education and advocacy on the critical importance of entrepreneurs and startups to innovation, economic growth and job creation to America’s policymakers.  CAE has advocated for several issues that ACA cares about.

By: Charlie Brock, ACA Member, Launch Tennessee

Over the last five years as the CEO of Launch Tennessee, too often I’ve seen founders raise angel or seed funding, develop a product line and a small customer-base, but not gain any real traction.  

By: John O. Huston, ACA Chair Emeritus and Ohio TechAngels

Like most ACA member groups, the Ohio TechAngel Funds (OTAF) conduct postmortems after our exits, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.  From our positive exits, we’ve gleaned that even our best entrepreneurs have always fallen woefully short of their revenue projections.  From the autopsies of our losing investments, we’ve realized that rarely had we missed major risks, but often grossly underweighted their likelihood, impact, or both.  And, we had insufficiently discussed them with management to ensure all possible efforts were being taken to mitigate them.

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Model Deal Terms Expectations Summary Memo by Ham and Christopher LM  on  November 27
Pitch-Perfect Pitch Deck by Sheldon Hamburger  on  November 02