By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

I recently had the great experience to work with the judges for the Luis Villalobos Award and see many wonderful companies that ACA members are supporting. Three finalist companies were selected from the nominations, with the winner to be announced on March 27th at the 2014 ACA Summit in Washington, DC, during a special awards ceremony. The Luis Villalobos Award recognizes the most ingenious and innovative idea recently financed by an ACA member.

This year’s finalists are 7AC Technologies (Boston), EyeVerify (Kansas City), and Localytics (Boston). Each was nominated by an ACA member that has invested in the company. The award is named in memory of Luis Villalobos, who was known for actively investing in and mentoring ingenious, creative, and innovative startups.

By: Bill Payne, Vegas Valley Angels and Frontier Angels

It is an exciting time to start the journey to angel investing. For many there is nothing more rewarding than being able to invest in an early stage company, share your knowledge, insights and connections with entrepreneurs and have a hand in their success. At the same time, learning how to be a successful angel investor requires dedication. Naturally, most angels start the process with a myriad of questions.

2014 is a crucial time for angel investors. We’ve already made a big deal about the SEC’s new rules on verifying accredited investor status in generally solicited deals, but now there is a possibility of an even more existential issue for angels - many of us may no longer be accredited investors if the SEC follows the requests of organizations that want to increase the requirements for being accredited. Sometimes when it rains, it pours!

The potential higher bar could eliminate 60% of angel investors, reducing the pool of capital for startups. Currently to be an accredited investor, an individual must have an annual income of $200,000 or net worth of $1 million, not including their home (see the official definition here). If these thresholds were raised for inflation, they would go up to $450,000 income and $2.5 million in net worth.

By: David Verrill, Hub Angel Investment Group, LLC & Chairman – Angel Capital Association

I recently had a conversation with a “recovering” venture capitalist who has been out of the game for five years, and was reminiscing about the good old days. The conversation quickly turned to the ever changing early stage ecosystem, and the increasing slice of the pie that angels and angel groups were eating. He asked if there was still a rift with VCs. I told him we were getting along a lot better now, for a lot of reasons. Here are the five I cited:

Want to find the best deals? The best exits?  Curious about syndicating on accredited platforms? How about getting answers to your questions about the new SEC rules on general solicitation and what you really need to do (from the SEC and from leading attorneys)?  Want to rub shoulders with some of the best and most successful angels in the world?

The world of angel investing is changing dramatically. To stay current with today's proposed rules and trends - and to hear from the best in the business, plan to be in Washington, DC March 26-28 for the 2014 ACA Summit - Angel Impacts:  Entrepreneurial and Economic Success.  (You can register here.)

We're inviting the media with lots of great stories about how angels support startup companies with passion, experience and funding. In 2012 angels invested nearly $23 billion in about 67,000 ventures. Read more about what reporters will be writing about here.

We hope to see you at the Summit, where hundreds of angels will gather to help determine the future of angel investing!  You will definitely bring home ideas you can implement immediately.

By: David Verrill, Hub Angel Investment Group, LLC & Chairman – Angel Capital Association

ACA is eager for more accredited individual investors to join our organization to benefit from the professional development events, deal flow tools, and resources for portfolio success that we offer, along with the ability to influence public policy that has a huge impact on angel investors.

Now until late-March we're offering savings of a blended membership and fees to the 2014 ACA Summit in Washington, DC, the world’s largest gathering of sophisticated angel investors, and the preeminent forum for interaction and knowledge‐sharing among accredited investors. This is a savings of $300! Individual investors who belong to accredited platforms that belong to ACA receive even larger savings ($500) for the membership/ Summit package.

We encourage all accredited individual investors who are angels or want to become angels to join. For more information, see our news release here.

I will be at the ACA Summit and look forward to seeing you there!

By: Matt Dunbar, Upstate Carolina Angel Network

ACA recently hosted a Webinar with AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant to help members learn more about the AngelList syndicates platform. During the hour-long webinar Ravikant explained how AngelList syndicates work and how they enable entrepreneurs and angel groups to attract more investors to fill out funding rounds. Here is a quick summary of some of the details Ravikant shared during the wide-ranging Webinar:

Q: How does a deal get syndicated through the AngelList platform?

A: Although any entrepreneur can post a deal to AngelList and try to attract investors, the syndicates platform requires a lead investor. The lead investor can be an individual angel, angel group, or seed fund that sets the terms, commits initial funding to the round, and provides an investor’s perspective on the candidate company. The syndicates platform is simply a vehicle to attract other investors to the deal. 

2013 was a great year for angel investors, including many ACA member angel groups. Several had successful exits, others made more investments than they ever have in a year, and new groups made investments for the first time.

It is important to celebrate these successes, which happened to members in all parts of North America. Here are some great examples:


Yesterday ACA submitted a comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission on its proposed rules on "Amendment to Regulation D, Form D, and Rule 156". For background, these rules would require issuers that generally solicit their offerings to submit an advanced Form D 15-days before they advertise, provide all of their solicitation materials to the SEC by the day of use, include "legends" in all materials, and provided a one-time 30-day "cure" to submit filings. If misfilings were not cured, then the issuer would lose the right to raise funds under Regulation D for one year.

Many ACA members were very concerned about the impact this could have on startups - including putting early-stage companies out of business. ACA's letter, which you can download here, focuses on those concerns and also offers recommendations to reduce the burden on startups.

The world of equity fundraising has really changed since September 23, when the SEC rules lifting the ban on general solicitation became effective. We’ve seen entrepreneurs use new ways to promote their investment opportunities, but we’ve also seen media coverage with many questions and misinformation about everything from how to verify that investors are accredited investors to what really makes a deal “generally solicited”.  Questions and comments still abound about the proposed rules on Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156.

Startups, investors, and the startup support community are asking lots of questions in the media and directly to ACA and other organizations. So I want to let you know about a couple of resources that can help you navigate these waters:

  • Webinar on October 3 at 4p Eastern – The New SEC Rules and What the Startup Community Needs to Know. This program, a partnership of the Angel Capital Association and Global Accelerator Network, is for startups and the innovation and support community to learn about the new and proposed SEC Rules on General Solicitation. These rules will really change how entrepreneurs raise equity capital – particularly if they participate in demo days and economic development venture forums (many of which will be considered general solicitation based on regulatory language and discussions to date). Hear the information from angel investors, legal counsel and get a chance to ask questions. Registration and information is available here.