Celebrating 2022 Accomplishments and Looking Ahead to New Opportunities

By: Pat Gouhin, Chief Executive Officer

Looking back over the past few years of uncertainty and effort, The Angel Capital Association has made it through stronger than ever because of the work of our dedicated members, volunteers and professional staff. We are deeply grateful to our dedicated volunteers and professional staff for their leadership, expertise and dedication to our mission. Without you, none of our accomplishments would have been possible and our hope for the future would be unfounded. More importantly, without you, our economy would be weakened and society’s ability to innovate would be stunted.

Angel investors have proven their resilience, enduring several years of volatile markets driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of the great bull market where exits soared, venture funds posted record returns and private company valuations exploded. Investments made by individual angels and angel groups continued to “fuel the tank” for entrepreneurs and kept investment pipelines flowing for venture capitalists.

In fact, ACA members and groups are the most significant source of support for entrepreneurs, investing more than 1 million pro bono hours and $650 million of after-tax financing to more than 3,000 high growth companies annually. ACA’s angel groups made more investments in more companies despite the pandemic –continuing to risk personal capital to jumpstart businesses and ignite economies. Without this support, many early-stage companies wouldn’t get off the ground. Fostering these entrepreneurs and the economies they impact is a direct result of ACA’s mission to fuel the success of the angel investor community. ACA members and groups enjoy unprecedented education and networking opportunities, brought to them by the trusted authority in angel investing. 

2023 promises to be another exciting year, with new educational opportunities, additional networking and community building events. In 2022, we officially launched the Seed the Future capital campaign, an effort designed to support the Angel Investor Foundation, a wholly-owned subsidiary organization that focuses on advancing the art and science of angel investing. 

In the last year, we have elevated our voice and taken our message to new audiences - resulting in the deployment of more capital to entrepreneurs than ever before. This capital flow is highlighted in the 2022 Angel Funders Report and results from a variety of factors including a more integrated strategy highlighting the value proposition to ACA members and a new emphasis on programming for entrepreneurs. The partnership has never been stronger as we reach new target audiences and conceptualize next generation products such as a coordinated approach to national syndication.

Seed the Future contributions have allowed us to develop strategic marketing campaigns and target new stakeholders including the economic development community that has been hungry for our education. The successful launch of Angel University has improved investor and entrepreneurial education, better aligning expectations for all based upon curated smart practices and evolving trends.

Funding for the Seed the Future Campaign has resulted in new enhancements to the Angel Funders Report as an accessible and reliable resource for angels and angel groups. As Seed the Future secures additional support from Angels, Angel Groups and interested companies, we will initiate major investments in industry wide data analytics and syndication. We have already exceeded the $1 million raised mark toward our overall Seed the Future Campaign goal of $2.3 million.

ACA’s Four Pillars: Bringing ACA’s Mission to Life

Community Networking

The heartbeat of our community networking pillar is our diversity, equity and inclusion effort. We believe in creating a welcoming, supportive environment for all, especially underrepresented groups. In 2022, ACA's first formal DEI Task Force worked throughout the year to build on the momentum of 2021. Made up of a diverse group of ACA members, board leaders and ecosystem champions the DEI Task Force has worked to fulfill the ACA DEI Policy and set its strategic goals for 2023 and beyond.

For every level of experience, ACA’s peer groups, events and education courses offered unprecedented opportunities for angels to preview and connect in real time with companies, other investors and economic development partners. Our events this year included the 2022 The Big Launch Challenge in Research Triangle Park, NC and an incredible return to an in-person Summit in Atlantic City, NJ. In 2023, The Summit of Angel Investing is moving west to Vegas! Over the course of four days of quality content, interactive discussions and vibrant networking, attendees will elevate their angel investing experience. Whether you are a new or experienced investor, angel group leader or part of the broader community supporting entrepreneurs and early stage investments, you’ll learn the latest on trending topics and meet new people, all to help improve your outcomes.

In between all the virtual and in-person opportunities to connect, ACA was also excited to offer the Angel Next Door Podcast, a show about how people get started investing in startup companies. Hosted by Marcia Dawood, current chair of the board, the podcast explores how people are changing the world by creating and investing in innovation.

Data Analytics & Insights

In 2018, ACA launched its data initiative to help early-stage investors make better investment decisions and to help the business community better understand angel investing’s impact on new business formation, job growth, and economic prosperity. The initiative also helps entrepreneurs gain a deeper understanding of how and why angels invest, helping them prepare for raising capital and building strong investor relationships.

The Angel Funders Report is based on direct investment data solicited from all ACA member groups. We collect data directly so that we can provide powerful first-hand information on the current state of early stage investing. Our angel investing experts analyze and enhance the data with their knowledge of trends and best practices, developing a comprehensive insider’s view to share with the broader investment community. The angel organizations that provide the information for this report take many forms—groups of ACA members, angel networks, angel funds, networks with sidecar funds and more.

In addition to the Angel Funders Report, ACA also publishes other studies and reports based on the latest trends, news and global shifts that impact angel investing. One example is the recently published ACA Investor Insights Report, filled with key learnings on angel investing and portfolio returns.

Education & Smart Practices

ACA has created and curated best-in-class knowledge about angel investing since its formation, but only in the last several years has this knowledge been formatted into commercially viable education products. ACA’s education offerings are headlined by a series of nine courses for angel investors and entrepreneurs, known as Ann and Bill Payne ACA Angel University. In 2022, ACA added a Director of Education in Dr. Margaret Bacheler, who jumped in to diversify and grow enrollment. In a few short years, Ann and Bill Payne ACA Angel University has offered tens of thousands of student course hours and has trained thousands of practicing angels.

ACA’s content, recognized by angel leaders for its excellence, has also been delivered via other formats, including webinars, lectures and reports, expanding ACA’s impact on new and seasoned angel investors and entrepreneurs. In 2022, ACA published 12 Angel Insight Articles, peer-reviewed resources from angel experts around the world, expanding angel access to knowledge and trend interpretation.

In 2023, it’s ACA’s goal to reach more investors and entrepreneurs with our powerful step by step education programs and bring more entrepreneurs and angels together as a result. We will debut a new community-based program to help community champions to support creating new angel organizations.

Public Policy

ACA continues to focus on key public policy issues for investors, in addition to providing expertise about today’s most critical topics. In 2022, our multi-member coalition continued to meet with officials in DC and beyond to educate and advocate for retaining current IRC Section 1202 provisions on QSBS. More detail on this important issue and other public policy priorities is provided on our website

2023 Promises to be an Incredible Year: Get Involved

We want to encourage many of the millions of potential angels to join us. If you are deploying capital to grow early stage companies, you are part of this critical ecosystem and we invite you to engage with us. Help us create a powerful network of entrepreneurs, investors and community resources so that we can continue to support economic growth. Angel investing is a team sport, and ACA welcomes you to join us as we strive to make angel investing more accessible and successful for all.

More than ever, we need innovation. We need risk-takers and difference-makers. We need angels.

We need you! Take advantage of ACA’s many opportunities to get involved. Thank you to our growing membership of active investors for actively creating a more innovative world. We can’t wait to increase our support for your growth and investing. For those new to ACA, join the organization and take advantage of valuable member benefits or register for an upcoming event or course. We can’t wait to meet you and connect you to our incredible network of angels, investing ecosystem players and early-stage companies.