Archive for September 2014

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

Your pitch is essential to getting your company noticed by investors. The challenge is to maintain the momentum of a successful pitch in the next step to funding - the due diligence process.

Many entrepreneurs don’t think about due diligence until they are asked for the documentation by a potential investor. The leadership team scrambles to pull together documents while customers and prospects are sidelined and sales opportunities evaporate.

How prepared is your company for due diligence? What steps can you be taking now to increase your success and reduce the time, effort and expense? Here are a few initial approaches to consider in advance of a due diligence review.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Last week’s ACA Leadership Workshop was the best ever, with a combination of great content, connections among investors, corporate leaders, and ACA sponsors and partners, and the opportunity to see how well the startup ecosystem in Ohio works. The Columbus Dispatch wrote that having the event in Columbus was good for the Midwest, but ACA would say that Columbus was good for ACA members regardless of their location.

I heard from so many attendees about the program and pull out these highlights:

  • Ohio TechAngel Funds dinner – ACA member and Leadership Workshop host moved the timing and location of their monthly investment meeting to coincide with the ACA event.  The result was a combined attendance of 200 plus in a fantastic room in the Ohio state capitol building.  It is always fun to see how different angel groups run their monthly meetings and this group does an exceptional job. We also had the chance to hear status reports from a few of OTAF’s portfolio companies – let’s just say they appear to be doing well and on their way to good exits. One of the entrepreneurs noted how interesting it was to talk below an exit sign (as in how to exit the building).

By: Chris McCannell, director of APCO Worldwide’s Washington DC financial service practice and government relations. He has over 15 years of Capitol Hill experience working for Members of Congress on the Financial Service Committee and the tax writing Ways and Means Committee. He and his colleagues have been ACA’s registered lobbyist for the past two and a half years. Chris is an active participant in ACA’s programming including national events like this week’s Leadership Workshop.

While Congress went back to their states and Congressional Districts for the month of August, members of the Angel Capital Association (ACA) took advantage of their Senators and Representatives being back home to engage on public policy issues important to angel investors and start up enterprises.

As the 113th Congress comes to an end, there are three top government relations priorities that ACA is promoting. First is a review by the Securities and Exchange Commission required under Dodd-Frank to review the definition of an individual accredited investor. Consumer advocates as well as state securities commissioners have promoted indexing the current definition to inflation which would limit the number of people who would be able to join angel groups and invest their money in start-up investments. Second is continuing rule making from the JOBS Act on what constitutes general solicitation. Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to exempt demo days from the general solicitation definition. Third and final is continued support for Section 1202 of the tax code which gives a 100% exemption of capital gains taxes to qualified investments in start-up businesses. This exemption expired at the end of 2013 and needs to be re-extended by Congress to affect investors in 2014.

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons

You’ve reached out to a big player in your market space – one with distribution clout and an A-list customer base. They’ve agreed to meet with you. What are your next steps?

All too often, entrepreneurs leave these first meetings in the hands of the big fish – and lose the opportunity. Here are three steps to setting the tone for your first meeting.

By: Christopher Mirabile, ACA Board and Launchpad Venture Group

This post originally appeared on

Why does it seem like angel investing received more press coverage in the last few years than in its first few hundred years combined? Private investing has suddenly become part of mainstream consciousness.  

What’s going on?  It’s more than just an academic question. As an active angel and co-head of one of the largest and busiest U.S. angel groups, I’ve watched and charted these market changes since the early 1990s.

In just a couple decades a handful of seismic forces affecting early-stage financing have combined to make angel investing a very different business. The result?  Angel investors have become a serious source of capital for savvy high-growth entrepreneurs.

Seven key trends have fueled this radical transformation.