Seed the Future's Mid-Campaign Update

By Tony Shipley, Seed the Future Campaign Chair, and Katelynne Staehnke, Director of Development, on behalf of the Angel Investor Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate the many contributions our Angel Capital Association (ACA) members, Angel Groups and other donors have made and continue to make to the Seed the Future (STF) Campaign. Since launching publicly in 2022, the Angel Investor Foundation (AIF) has raised over $1.4M towards the set $2.3M goal. With this generous support we have begun taking mission driven action and we are excited to update you on our progress. 

AIF’s established mission is to advance the art and science of angel investing to accelerate innovation and economic growth. The Foundation achieved 501c3 status in 2020 and since has held the Gold Seal of Transparency awarded by Candid and GuideStar

Thanks to donors thus far, we are boldly expanding our ability to steward the angel investing profession.

To date, the generous contributions of Ann and Bill Payne have been instrumental in helping us elevate Angel University to a “best in class” status. Additionally, AIF created the Director of Educational Initiatives position, and hired Dr. Margaret Bacheler to lead AU programming. 

We have repositioned the Ann & Bill Payne ACA Angel University (AU) into two certificates- the Basics of Angel Investing and Advanced Angel Investing. For fiscal year 2023, over 500 individuals took at least one Angel University course, 163 individuals earned the Basics of Angel Investing certificate and over 40 individuals earned the Advanced Angel Investing certificate.

Basics of Angel Investing graduation ceremony at the Center for Black Innovation in Miami, FL.

Dr. Margaret Bacheler with Bill & Ann Payne.

Membership Marketing
In 2022, progress on the Seed the Future Campaign allowed ACA to hire its first Marketing Director, Dannielle Stewart. Under Dannielle’s leadership, ACA’s frequency and quality of social media and other communications, especially using video, has exploded. As a result, ACA’s membership readership and audiences have grown by more than 20%. More than 80,000 emails are opened each month - demonstrating the growth in the average readership that supports the growth goals of data, education, membership, syndication and networking.

Additionally, investments are being made in assessing “The Voice of Customer” and better understanding our members, what they want and how we can increase the value proposition to them. Studies have been conducted in coordination with a major research university that have led to improvements in how we service our membership. One simple example is the inclusion of an auto renewal program allowing members to sign on and thus eliminate the need to take additional action at renewal time. 

Click here to view our video!

Data Analytics 
One of our signature products is the annual Angel Funder’s Report (AFR). As you may already know, we collect data from a broad spectrum of angel investors, including leading angel groups across North America; thus allowing us to provide powerful first-hand information on the current state of early stage investing. Our angel investing experts analyze and enhance the data with their knowledge of trends and best practices, developing a comprehensive insider’s view to share with the broader investment community. 

Click here to listen to John Harbison's interview about his incredible gift and why he chose to give.

Thanks to a leadership gift from John Harbison and other supporters, ACA is able to further invest in bringing out the science behind angel investing. We are doing this through enhanced committee participation that will utilize technology in the form of new software and platforms that will allow us to more efficiently collect, store and analyze investment data from a variety of sources. Once we turn the collected data into knowledge we will publish and broadly distribute findings improving outcomes for all. This work has already begun!

While we are making great strides towards our goals, we need your help crossing the finish line. With additional campaign gifts toward our $2.3 million goal, AIF will make investments in the following areas. 

New Association Management System
Like any growing association, ACA has reached a technological ceiling with respect to its ability to serve the needs of its members. A recent investment, made possible by Seed the Future donations, will provide ACA with a full-capacity Association Management System (AMS).

A procurement decision has been approved by they AIF Board and we have begun the implementation process to install and utilize a new system providing us with never-before-seen insights into our members and their engagement with us. 

Increased Smart Practice Offerings 
Educational materials are a critical offering of any professional society that serves as the steward of a community. ACA is no different and this is why we are investing in content curation as well as bringing that knowledge to market with new courses in new formats such as online delivery. Volunteers and staff are hard at work adding to our successful curriculum and finding new delivery mechanisms that provide flexibility to our busy community; thus, allowing the member/customer to get what they want, when they want it, in the format they want and with multiple price point options. Look for the launch of online courses in the near future along with potential examinations to demonstrate competency levels. Potentially this could become a new on ramp for determining measures of sophistication by the SEC to obtain accredited investor status.

Thank you to those who have donated thus far. Contributions to the Campaign will continue to accelerate innovation and economic growth throughout the Angel Capital Association’s and Angel Investor Foundation’s programs. We take our responsibility to all our donors very seriously as we work to preserve the trust that each donor has placed in us. Both the ACA and AIF are currently undergoing financial audits to verify our accounting procedures and process controls; these reports will be shared with you in the future.

With sincere gratitude,

Tony Shipley and Katelynne Staehnke on behalf of the Angel Investor Foundation 

Interested in sharing the Seed the Future Campaign with others in your Angel Group or professional network? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Director of Development Katelynne Staehnke!