Celebrating a Year of Success at ACA - Making a Difference for You


By: Linda Smith, ACA Chair

ACA’s members are the most important asset to our organization.  It is through your participation and involvement that we are the world’s largest and most experienced community of angels, with more than 13,000 members.  Your continued support makes it possible for ACA to deliver new benefits and programs and achieve important changes in public policy that affect your investing.

I want to thank you for your membership and also thank ACA’s board and staff for a year of significant accomplishments.  Here’s a summary of key achievements over the past year:

  • New educational content for members to gain insights into smart investing.  ACA launched the Fundamentals of Angel Investing, a half-day seminar for new angels or those considering become angels.  Soon you will have tools to deliver shorter versions of the seminar yourself, for free, in your own communities. ACA also rebooted our Angel Insights Webinar Series, with a broad array of topics such as valuation methods and getting returns without exits.  Additionally, we published a resource guide to help you expand membership in your group.
  • A new research and data analytics initiative was established to focus on actionable information to improve your investment outcomes.  The data project includes the release of the 2017 ACA Angel Funders Report. The American Angel report was released last year in collaboration with Wharton and Harvard Business Schools.  This in-depth U.S. study comprehensively profiled angel investors and some important trends in our field.
  • Enhancing the membership experience was a primary focus over the past year.  A new communication tool was added to the ACA website, called “Ask ACA”.  Two options are available for members and the public to ask a question and receive an answer direct from leading angels.  We’ve also diversified the Board of Directors with five new board members elected at the 2018 ACA Summit in Boston.  The new Directors , who begin three-year terms on July 1, are Juliana GaraizarJim GoulkaLorine PendletonRick Timmins and Ron Weissman.
  • Additional programs for members were introduced over the past year.  Seven regional meetings were offered throughout the year for angels to connect across North America to network, share best practices, syndicate deals and hold investor education sessions.  A year-long series of events for women angels included the Women’s Investor Forum, Summit tracks, the Women’s Reception hosted by Foley Hoag at the 2018 ACA Summit in Boston, a monthly peer group call aimed at syndicating deals in women-led companies, and luncheon events at some regional meetings.  ACA is now offering eight peer group calls every month for members to share experience and deals in select collaboration communities, such as clean tech and life sciences.
  • Public policy work is some of the most important work that ACA does on behalf of angels.  Helping to protect the rights of our member angel investors is important so you can continue to do the investments you love and have a huge impact on job creation and innovation in the US.  Three of ACA’s priorities have become reality:  The most recent success was the resolution of the “99 Investor Problem” as part of S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.  A provision was included in this bill to raise the cap on the number of investors in small angel funds and syndicates from 99 to 250.  We were also successful in ensuring the 100% exemption of capital gains in Qualified Small Business under Section 1202 of the tax code.  And ACA’s efforts ensured the R&D tax credit was expanded to allow the credit to be used by start-up companies toward payroll taxes.  We will continue to protect your interests in Washington DC via our coalition with NVCA, BIO, and AdvaMed.
  • ACA is also recognizing the global reach of angel investing by signing cooperative agreements with two major angel groups in Europe – The Business Angels Europe (BAE) and the European Business Angel Network (EBAN).  Global investors now can tap in to ACA members’ expertise by connecting to our content and resources through the International Access Package.  This program offers access to ACA’s educational resources, webinar archives and weekly member newsletter for angels outside of North America.

What’s to come in the year ahead?  ACA is pursuing key strategic initiatives for the upcoming year to further benefit our member network and the angel ecosystem.

  • Additional educational options are in the works, such as new courses for intermediate and advanced angels and entrepreneurs, adding books and videos to our library of resources, and an ongoing webinar series for members to take advantage of timely insights from industry experts.  Some of the new content will come from you!
  • Development and growth will continue for the Angel Funders Report so ACA can provide detailed analysis of angel group trends, including a working relationship with the data facilitator, Hockeystick.  You’ll increasingly find data and analytics that help you improve your investment outcomes.
  • A redesign of the ACA website is also planned in the upcoming year to deliver a great user experience and provide easy navigation to resources that help our members receive timely information.
  • Continued public policy work for the upcoming year includes gaining final passage of key legislation, setting the framework for tax law improvements, growing the relationship with the new SEC and expanding the coalition footprint in Washington DC.
  • ACA will be focusing on increasing revenues to support our work for our members by creating a charitable non-profit and broadening our sponsorships.

ACA is very proud of all that has been accomplished in the past year, and looks forward to continued progress in the upcoming year.  Thank you for being a member and for making these advances possible.

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