ACA Members

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Know someone who would add great value to ACA leadership?  Could be you, could be someone else!  Each year ACA looks to add talent to its Board of Directors to keep the organization strong, growing, and evolving.  The board is now seeking nominations from the ACA membership at large of people whom you believe have great value to add to the ACA’s mission.  We seek members of the angel investor community who have demonstrated unusual ability to organize and lead others in angel investing activities.  We particularly seek nominations of people with experience in marketing, deal collaboration and syndication, building membership in angel groups, and in wielding political influence in high places.  We seek persons of high activity level, energy, and willingness to serve in order to advance the ACA’s mission.  Email your nominations to Dick Reeves, Chairman of the ACA Governance Committee, by February 22, and include your own comments about your nominee, along with the names and contact info of two others who know the person well and can attest to their value. You may nominate yourself, but please adhere to the two-person recommender formula if you do.

Over the holidays, I took a look at the “Member News” section of our website, where we catalog the media coverage of ACA member investors and organizations and found more than 250 stories in 2015 about exits, new investments, milestones, economic impact, investor features and much more.  ACA members are getting it done, and done well!

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

Editor’s Note:  ACA’s annual Fall workshop, now called the Angel Insights Exchange, will be in New Orleans on November 9-10.  We picked New Orleans not only for its iconic activities and food, but because it has a growing entrepreneurial vibrance.  Here’s a taste of the city’s growth in the form of the NO/LA Angel Network.

Despite the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused 10 years ago, the huge disaster that hit New Orleans brought a silver lining. With a giant microscope on the area, young people were drawn to New Orleans and the surrounding region to help.

In the years immediately following Katrina, young people turned out in droves. They came to volunteer, to rebuild and to educate children, but then something interesting happened. Many liked the area and stayed. Their friends came too. Over time all these new NO/LA (New Orleans/ Louisiana) residents perpetuated an explosion of entrepreneurial activity—something the area desperately needed.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

ACA members are getting very good at working together to fund interesting deals.  The latest example:  six member groups from literally all corners of the US were part of a $12 million series B financing.  The investment in Cognition Therapeutics was led by Golden Seeds (New York and many cities), and included ACA members Cowtown Angels (Fort Worth), Maine Angels, PLSG Accelerator Fund (Pittsburgh), Tech Coast Angels (Southern California), and Ariel Southeast Angel Partners (Savannah), as well as additional life sciences investors.  Cognition Therapeutics (CogRx) is focused on discovering and developing disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases. Read the full press release below for all the details.

ACA started its new membership year on July 1, and along with that came a changing of the guard in chairmanship.  Our association has been blessed with great leadership from our Board of Directors, especially from our Chairs.

These men and women have put in more hours than our members know to make sure ACA is strong and delivering value to our member angels, and with no financial reward.  David Verrill has been one of the best Chairs.  He goes to emeritus status with ACA in great shape, and hands the reins to Christopher Mirabile – who is already showing his excellent leadership abilities.

ACA Membership Director Sarah Dickey interviews Jorge Varela as part of a series of profiles of ACA members

How and when did you get involved in angel investing?

I have been actively investing since before the word was popular. I made my first investment more than 15 years ago in TFB Corporation a company in which I later served as CEO.  I am still invested in the company and I am Chairman, but have been able to have two liquidity events and look forward to a third. I was involved in my first startup when I was 21, Braun Systems, which we sold a year later to ITT Systems in 1987.  I then moved to Silicon Valley before all the Valley excitement and became employee number three with VoicePlus, which we took public in a roll-up with Nhanced Technologies. These two early experiences gave me the bug for startups that I have not been able to shake. 

The 2015 ACA Summit in San Diego brought a great combination of professional content, networking among angels and thought leading speakers and sponsors – and let’s be honest, great weather and settings. More than 630 investors, sponsors and presenting entrepreneurs attended the program. Lots of great materials are posted on the event community app, but sometimes the best way to review what happened is in pictures. Below is my tour of the various events held on April 13-16, 2015 – with photos taken by Summit attendees on social media.

Each year the Angel Capital Association and Angel Resource Institute shine a spotlight on one individual whose collective body of work brightens the advancement of the field of angel investing. This year we honor Susan Preston.

Like many angel investors, Susan brings a depth of passion to her work which currently includes General Partner for the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund, which focuses on seed/start-up stage investments in clean energy technology. She is also the Managing Partner for the new Seattle Angel Fund, committed to fostering entrepreneurial growth in the Pacific Northwest through early-stage investments.  Susan teaches in the MBA program and is the Buerk Endowed Fellow for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington. She also serves as co-chair and lead instructor for the Angel Resource Institute, a global investor and entrepreneur education organization. She has been named as one of the Managers for the new Element 8 Angel Fund and is a board member for Element 8, a Seattle-based clean-tech investing angel group. In 2014 Susan received the Small Business Person of the Year award from the Small Business Council of America and the Senator Cantwell Women of Valor award.

ACA Membership Director Sarah Dickey interviewed Ellen Weber recently as part of a series of ACA member profiles.

Meet Ellen Weber – ACA member angel investor, Executive Director of Robin Hood Ventures and Executive Director of the Temple Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute. Ellen provides insight into how the 16 year old angel group maintains its edge for investing in dynamic markets.

How and when did you get involved in angel investing?

Robin Hood was founded when two long-time friends attended a local pitch event with little structure and no follow up.  They wanted to create an angel group that would not only get deals done as effectively as possible, but would also work closely with the entrepreneur after investment.  I agreed to help them start this new angel group with an initial role of serving as the back office to get things off the ground. Very quickly my role grew and I also became very active in the local entrepreneurial community. 

As we say goodbye to 2014 and jump in to 2015, we would like to add our congratulations to all ACA members with recent growth, investments, and exit news!   Here are a few recent stories below:

Big Returns!

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