Entrepreneurs

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: Christopher Mirabile, Chair Emeritus of Angel Capital Association and an early stage investor in Boston. He is the co-managing director of Launchpad Venture Group and the co-founder of angel portfolio management tool www.Seraf-Investor.com.

 “How do I find investors?” is a perennial question, coming up regularly in many entrepreneurial contexts. Local entrepreneurs ask it all the time and it is certainly one of the questions I get asked most on Quora. Fortunately, for higher potential businesses going after reasonably large markets, finding investors willing to speak to you is not all that difficult. Yes, it is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it is neither complex nor mysterious. Here’s how to go about it.

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

ACA’s yearly Luis Villalobos Award provides recognition to ingenious and innovative ideas in the startup ecosystem by asking members of the Angel Capital Association to nominate their best portfolio companies recently funded.  Three finalists are selected each year and, with the nominating ACA angel, are honored at the ACA Summit where the winner is announced during the annual awards ceremony in front of 700+ angel investors. 

By: Sheldon Hamburger, RTP Capital Associates, Inc.

Editor’s Note:

ACA member, Sheldon Hamburger of RTP Capital Associates, Inc. shares his opinion on creating the pitch-perfect pitch deck for entrepreneurs seeking capital from investors.  The article covers many key issues most angels would like to see addressed in a pitch deck, but the order of the topics may vary for other angels.  

Help Me Help You

I’ve lost track of how many pitch decks have come my way over the years and it still amazes me how often these requests for money are incomplete and missing even the most fundamental information such as: What is your product?  What are you asking for?  Why would anyone buy what you’re selling?

By: Charlie Brock, ACA Member, Launch Tennessee

Over the last five years as the CEO of Launch Tennessee, too often I’ve seen founders raise angel or seed funding, develop a product line and a small customer-base, but not gain any real traction.  

By Lucy Howell, ACA Director of Partnerships 

The ACA Summit is the largest gathering of accredited angel investors in North America and the event’s “Innovation Showcase” provides selected companies the opportunity to present their pitch to the entire ACA Summit audience.  It represents a tremendous opportunity for angel groups, economic development agencies and accelerators to showcase their best portfolio companies and attract capital. 

Twenty-three sponsored entrepreneurs delivered their Showcase speed pitch to the audience throughout the Summit.  Sponsored entrepreneurs also hosted a table throughout the Summit to tell their story and hold private meetings.  This year ACA partnered with Gust Launch as a sponsor, which offered winning underwriters complimentary licenses to help their entrepreneurs incorporate and grow.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Congratulations to Oculogica, a New York City based life sciences company, who was awarded the Luis Villalobos Award this afternoon at the 2018 ACA Summit in Boston.  The Luis Villalobos Award recognizes outstanding ingenuity, creativity and innovation among startups backed by ACA members. 

Oculogica was selected by a committee of leading ACA member angels. The committee welcomes all innovative companies recently funded by ACA members to be part of this program and be considered for the Luis Villalobos Award, which is among the most disruptive and exciting opportunities for angels, the marketplace and innovation.

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

The Angel Capital Association is delighted to announce the four finalists for the Luis Villalobos Award, a highly regarded, North American-wide award that honors ingenuity, creativity and innovation among startups backed by ACA members: Catalyst OrthoScience, CNote, Oculogica and PhotoniCare.  “These companies are at the top of their game and represent the pinnacle of startup innovation and ingenuity,” said ACA Executive Director, Marianne Hudson.  The finalists will be honored and the winner revealed on April 19, 2018 at the world’s largest gathering of angel investors, the 2018 ACA Summit in Boston, MA. 

This award is in honor of Luis Villalobos, who in 1997 founded one of the largest and most respected angel organizations in the world, Tech Coast Angels.  Luis was a leader in the angel investing arena by making 57 personal angel investments, educating angels and always looking to invest in and mentor the most innovative companies.  Luis was a true “leading light” in the angel community. 

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

ACA members have known for years that people from other countries make AMAZING entrepreneurs.  This is one of the main reasons ACA has supported policies like startup visas and the International Entrepreneur Rule to ensure that more of these entrepreneurs from other countries can stay in the US and create innovative and job creating companies.

Now we have a new source of data on international entrepreneurs – Immigrant Founders of the 2017 Fortune 500 – by the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE).  The report comes amid the ongoing debate about US immigration policy – and, most immediately, debate regarding the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

By Lucy Howell, ACA Director of Partnerships 

It’s been only five months since I joined the Angel Capital Association and I have already gathered so many highlights and insights from our angels within this unique investment space - from ACA events in Irvine, Portland, San Francisco and Boston - that I have decided to share some of these takeaways and highlights for those interested or for those who may have missed it the first go around.

One of my highlights to date has been co-directing the Innovation Showcase at the 2017 ACA Summit, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig. This program featured pitches by 24 startups from Chile and ten states in the US, in two half-hour sessions.  The “showcase” kicked off the first day of the ACA Summit, held on April 26-28 in San Francisco.

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