Angel Investing

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

The reality show “Shark Tank” has become one of the most popular programs on television and has helped the wider public hear the term “angel investor” and grasp what they do.  And likely the Sharks have invested in and coached many entrepreneurs, helping those companies become successful.

But I really liked a news article last week - “Dallas Health Startup Investors Are Angels, Not Sharks” - because it distinguished many angel investors from the maneuvering and other drama that happens on the TV show.  In my opinion, the article nailed it:

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

ACA is aimed at providing the best information and resources for our member angels and the startup community. As we begin what we hope is a fantastic year for investors and entrepreneurs alike, we share 32 of the best articles, blogs and books in our field from 2014 to help you build your own libraries.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Last week, President Obama signed the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which includes several benefits for small businesses and also a benefit for angel investors. We want to get this information out to you, as this benefit relates to investments made in 2014 (retroactively and through December 31).

The new law includes a 100 percent exemption for gains made in Qualified Small Business Stock (also known as “Section 1202”) and this new law effectively means that you pay no taxes on gains from your investments that meet several criteria below and Alternative Minimum Tax does not apply. If you are interested in this program, PLEASE TALK TO YOUR ACCOUNTANT to ensure you have all the information you need to structure your investments to meet all requirements.

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

If you’re a startup founder, you probably have an investor-ready answer to the question, “Who are your competitors?” Your biggest competition isn’t always the industry heavyweight identified in your competitive analysis. Sometimes, a stealthy competitor shows up instead in your sales pipeline - as the prospect’s decision to do nothing. Is the status quo your competitor?

Competition from the status quo can surface at any time during your business development activities.  In a conversation with a prospect, the status quo is often expressed as “Thanks, we’re all set.”   If you’re hearing repeated requests for more information, long after you thought the prospect was purchase-ready, it’s the status quo again.

Many in the world are waking up to the huge importance of entrepreneurs – who create high quality jobs and innovations that change people’s quality of life.  Entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, universities, and a wide variety of community leaders have known about this for a long time, but now the public and elected officials are also seeing it.

They’re also celebrating entrepreneurs and now angel investors in a series of events, proclamations, articles and other programs:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Week – “GEW,” which is all this week, is the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship and is the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.  During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

  • Global Business Angels Day – The first ever “GBAD” (I’m still thinking on that acronym) is a part of GEW, aimed at highlighting the role that business angels play in helping new firms start and scale – driving innovation, jobs, and economic growth around the world.  ACA and our colleague angel associations all over the world are part of the celebration – including Canada, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

By: Christopher Mirabile, ACA Board and Launchpad Venture Group

This post originally appeared on Inc.com

If you can’t describe what a great mentor does, you’ve probably never had one.  A great mentor relationship is actually a pretty rare and special thing.  It doesn’t come about all that often, and it’s not something that can be forced.  But it is worth trying to find one or more if you can, because having great mentors can be so powerfully helpful. 

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

Dave Berkus is one of the most successful angels I know.  He has made 108 investments in early-stage companies and has an IRR of 97 percent.  Dave is a special case – he is a top speaker, expert in corporate governance, and has a valuation methodology named after him – even so, are there insights smart angels can pick up from this Los Angeles-based investor?

What is it about Dave that makes him that good? More to the point--are there traits we can emulate from successful angels like him?

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

Call it high optimism.  Every entrepreneur puts a positive spin on his or her situation occasionally. Maybe you’ve done it yourself: your deal with a big customer is only days away from closing; the next version of your product will be released in less than a month. Marketing is, after all, presenting a product, service or brand in the best possible light, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s crossing the line from positive spin into wishful thinking that leads to trouble.

When startups cross the line, it’s often in an effort to get to “yes” prematurely with an investor or business partner. Unfortunately, the results can be far-reaching.

By: Doug Doan, founder of ACA member Hivers and Strivers, an angel investment group that invests exclusively in companies started by military veterans. ACA is supporting the celebration of National Veterans Small Business Week with a Veterans Syndication Event on November 12 in Boston.

An important fact about American veterans is also the least reported and understood.  Our Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard veterans are turning into superb entrepreneurs and are unusually successful starting and running new business enterprises.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be. Many military vets use the very skills, leadership, and drive learned the hard way from service in wartime to build and run great companies.  Let’s call it Post Traumatic Growth or PTG. 

Companies such as Ridescout, founded by two West Point grads and combat leaders, brought the drive, determination, and fierce execution skill skills learned in the Army. They have been so successful in opening up a new market, their company was recently gobbled up by Daimler Benz, with a nice return for the angels involved.

By: George Bittlingmayer, professor of finance at the University of Kansas and member of Mid-America Angels

This blog post originally appeared as a column in RealClearMarkets 

The startup scene in Kansas City has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, mirroring the upswing in cities nationwide. In fact, the big, welcome news of the last decade is that tech innovation hubs have expanded beyond Silicon Valley to cities from Austin to Pittsburgh and Boulder to Nashville. Unfortunately, those new, thriving ecosystems of entrepreneurs, incubators and early-stage investors may soon hit a headwind blowing in from Washington, D.C.

Angel investors, the first and often crucial providers of funding for high-growth startups, provided $24.8 billion in growth capital last year, not too far behind the $29.6 billion that came from venture capital. While the overall amounts are similar, angel investors play a distinct role, typically funding businesses earlier and with smaller amounts per company.

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New Look, Continued Commitment by Emily Angold  on  September 21
Kevin Learned: Entrepreneur, Teacher, Angel by Emily Angold  on  September 04
Five Ways Angel Investing Gave Me Wings by Kelley Skoloda (Blue Tree Allied Angels)  on  August 31