ACA Advocates for Angels and the Startup Ecosystem

By: Pat Gouhin, Chief Executive Officer

As part of the staff leadership transition, Marianne Hudson and I recently joined forces in Washington, DC with Chris McCannell and Greg Mesack of GrayRobinson, ACA’s government affairs consultants.  Chris and Greg orchestrated a series of visits with legislators on both sides of the aisle, senior agency executives and other key partners in pursuit of ACA’s 2019 Public Policy Plan.  Meeting objectives included introductions to key allies, as well as re-emphasizing plan priorities which included: 

  • Continued support of legislation to codify current standards on the accredited investor and providing new ways for financially sophisticated people to meet the definition
  • Education of elected officials on the negative impact of potential legislation on Advanced Form D on the startup ecosystem
  • Supporting our coalition partners on tax policy including Net Operating Losses, expansion of capital gains in Qualified Small Business Stock (Section 1202) and R&D credits for startups
  • Continued focus on HALOS Act, clarifying that demo days are not considered general solicitation

Meetings were held with House and Senate staffers representing the House Finance Services Committee, House Committee on Small Business and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Residing in North Carolina, I was able to meet and make a connection with the offices of Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC) the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) a member of the Senate Banking Committee.

Additionally, the team made visits to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to talk about the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program that is fostering innovation and accelerating technology commercialization to promote productivity and economic growth. EDA does this through their i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant Competition programs. We also learned of their intent to launch a Technical Assistance Program next year that could provide grants at a national level.

After meeting with EDA, the team headed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct an informal debriefing following their strong participation in this spring’s ACA Summit in Chicago. While much good work has been accomplished to adequately represent the angel investor community, we also used the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to our coalition with other associations on tax issues, where we were able to sit down and meet with representatives from the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

After a productive first trip, I look forward to many more discussions that will benefit angel investors and the startup ecosystem in the years to come!

Pat Gouhin, Marianne Hudson and Chris McCannell