Angel Investing

By Lucy Howell, ACA Director of Partnerships 

The seventh annual Innovation Showcase took place last week at the 2019 ACA Summit in Chicago.  This special series of events provides selected companies the opportunity to present their pitch to the entire ACA Summit audience over the course of the Summit.  The Innovation Showcase is by invitation only and presenting companies are nominated by organizations - ACA member angel groups, venture funds, accelerators, and universities government agencies or trade commissions - that underwrite the Innovation Showcase.  The “showcase” represents an incredible opportunity for these underwriters to showcase their best portfolio companies to the angel investors and startup ecosystem leaders at the Summit.

By Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

The Angel Capital Association had the very distinct honor of awarding Marianne Hudson the Hans Severiens Award at the 2019 ACA Summit in Chicago.  This annual national award recognizes one individual’s work in advancing the field of angel investing.  The criteria for this prominent award include depth of the individual’s impact on advancement of angel investing, leadership in bringing awareness of the field and contribution to the knowledge base of angel investing.  Marianne clearly demonstrates these qualities through her work in founding the association and growing it as ACA’s Executive Director.  ACA has become an important institution for angel investors and the startup ecosystem, providing education, data, smart practices and public policy advocacy for angel investors in every American state and five Canadian provinces.

By Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

Congratulations to Joylux, a Seattle based women’s health technology company, which was awarded the Luis Villalobos Award today at the 2019 ACA Summit in Chicago.  The Luis Villalobos Award recognizes outstanding ingenuity, creativity and innovation among startups backed by ACA members.

By: Ronald F.E. Weissman, Ph.D., Band of Angels and Member, ACA Board of Directors

(Editor’s Note:  Ron Weissman will present a session on artificial intelligence at the 2019 ACA Summit in Chicago, April 24-26.  Get a sneak peek of the “intelligence on artificial intelligence” ahead of the event.)

Artificial Intelligence is on the verge of transforming almost everything, from your medical diagnosis to the way you select your next home, to detecting an audience’s emotional reaction to an ad or TV pilot, to predicting, in silico, if a drug is likely to kill you.  Given the success and spread of AI, how should we approach investing in this technically complex and rapidly evolving field?

By:  Ethel Rubin, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, National Institutes of Health

Editors Note:  ACA has entered into an annual partnership program with NIH, with an aim toward collaboration and getting to know early-stage companies funded through NIH funding programs such as Small Business Innovation Research grants.

Some wonderful new things are happening at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help the companies we have backed make further progress. Our angel investors should be aware of specialized funding and support programs that were reauthorized last year so that your portfolio companies can take a look and see if they qualify.  The three most relevant are the extension of the NIH Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative; SBIR Direct to Phase II grants; and the Commercialization Readiness Pilot Program.

By: Ham Lord, Chairman of Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com and Christopher Mirabile, ACA Chair Emeritus, Managing Director at Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com

Note: This article is the third in an ongoing series for angels new to investing. To learn more about building an angel portfolio, download this free eBook today - Angel 101: A Primer for Angel Investors or purchase our books at Amazon.com.

New angels, new entrepreneurs and people outside of the startup ecosystem may have a general sense of how early stage investments happen, but, if put on the spot and asked to describe the exact process, most would be hard-pressed to come up with much detail at all. Like cooking, changing a tire, playing a sport well, and so many other things in life, the angel process is simple in theory, but a bit more complicated in practice. The angel process is not rocket science, but there are a lot of steps, there is some complexity, and there can definitely be some science to doing some of the steps well.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

You have probably heard by now that ACA is moving forward with our initiative to be the premier source of angel investment data.  Our first step was releasing the inaugural Angel Funders Report with data from 26 angel groups and 432 investment rounds in 2017, and we will be releasing new reports soon that will eventually improve our member groups’ investments.  So, why is data important to early-stage investing and why should your group join the ACA’s data initiative?  There are so many reasons!  Data insights provide the knowledge to make smarter decisions giving you and your angel group a step up when making portfolio assessments and increasing your chance for success.  Read on for some of our top reasons why joining the ACA data analytics initiative and the Angel Funders Report can make everyone better angel investors:

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

One of the best things about some ACA regional events is the opportunity for members to not only focus on learning, but also to participate in collaborative investing.  ACA members joined together in Des Moines, IA in September for the 2018 ACA Midwest Regional: Best of the Midwest with over 140 attendees.  Hosted by Plains Angels, angels from across the Midwest came to learn about latest industry trends, build relationships, minimize geographical barriers and partake in syndication opportunities. 

By: Ham Lord, Chairman of Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com and Christopher Mirabile, ACA Chair Emeritus, Managing Director at Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com

At Launchpad, we invest in dozens of companies every year. In the past, we frequently faced situations where we put a lot of work into diligence with a company and suddenly found out we were miles apart on deal term expectations and couldn't close the gap. This is a waste of time for all involved, and is the kind of frustration that leads to “deal fatigue” for investors trying to build a portfolio of investments. It can also lead to bad feelings and an increasing sense of mistrust between investors and entrepreneurs.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

It's my pleasure to announce Seraf Investor as ACA’s new Education Partner. Seraf co-founders Hambleton Lord and Christopher Mirabile are considered two of the top angel investors in not only New England, but the world – and our missions to educate and professionalize the angel communities align extremely well.  As ACA was embarking on our new strategic initiative to provide more education for our members, we learned that Seraf was also expanding their extensive article series into books and courses and we all realized we had a match made in heaven.  Below you can read Seraf’s account of its new education materials.  Know that ACA is incorporating and adapting the content from “Ham” and Christopher into ACA seminars we deliver at ACA events and provide in ACA member communities in many formats.  If we are successful in our Regional Innovation Strategies grant proposal, we’ll also be able to work together on a deep set of online learning videos and podcasts for you.

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