100 Angels Share Expertise and Deals at ACA Northwest Regional Meeting


By: Angela Jackson, Portland Seed Fund

The largest ever ACA Regional Meeting took place June 3-5 in Portland, OR. Angels from Nevada to Alaska discussed emerging data and deal flow trends for angels, syndication, helping portfolio companies in crises, and celebrating exits, among other topics. In addition to interactive sessions, 20 companies from throughout the region presented investment opportunities. Event host Angela Jackson, Managing Director of the Portland Seed Fund, provides insights into the fun work of creating and hosting this important regional event - by angels for angels.

It was a crazy notion, that we could entice 100 people to travel to Portland, Oregon on short notice for an ACA regional angel meeting.

Yet, with enticements like a beautiful, walkable, transit-friendly city, a foodie's dilemma on every corner (Food cart or farm-to-table? Craft brew or Willamette Valley Pinot?) we thought we had a shot.

It was a great honor to welcome 100 angels and 20 entrepreneurs to our fair city June 3-5. In our kick-off cocktail reception touting the most collaborative, capital-efficient startup city on the West coast, the energy in the room was infectious. Attendees got to make new friends and connect with old ones as they walked to a new eatery or join a dinner organized by an ACA national sponsor.

The next day we hunkered down for deep and meaningful content by angels for angels - panels featuring peer experts on compelling topics from syndication to industry trends to stories of the big ones (and the ones that got away). All of this went down at the lovely US headquarters of the building that houses both wind giant Vestas and Portland startup Urban Airship in the Pearl District. We punctuated the day by taking in the glorious cityscape from the green-rooftop patio and a family-style dinner.

We organized two rounds of company pitches - startups from the Northwest hinterlands and those from down home in Portland. All entrepreneurs were invited to dine and schmooze with investors and connect with one another. Deals were done. Verbal commitments made.

With organizing support from ACA, the help of our crackerjack Portland Seed Fund staff and the enthusiastic financial backing of our co-hosts Oregon Angel Fund and other sponsors, all things were possible. We broke past ACA attendance records and imagine that our new Canadian friends are planning to blow us out of the water as they host next year in Vancouver! We cannot wait to be there.

--Angela Jackson is an active angel, managing director of Portland Seed Fund and director of the Portland State University Business Accelerator. She is planning all future vacation travel around visiting her new regional angel friends.

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