Must Read Articles by ACA Summit Speakers


While I was doing some research about some of our ACA Summit speakers, I found that several have penned some really interesting pieces.  Angels and entrepreneurs can learn a lot about investing trends and key trends and issues in early stage investing.  Here is an incomplete list of articles to check out:

Brad Feld – Current Startup Market Emotional Biases and Ending Our FG Angels Experiment

So many of Brad’s articles bring in important insights.  I like the first one as it addresses current issues with Unicorn financing and how the impact of investor and entrepreneur biases as the market works on corrections.  The “Ending Our FG Angels Experiment” is a thoughtful analysis of Foundry Group’s syndicate effort on AngelList.  There are some great lessons and I admire experimentation and innovation in our market, with statements like this:

Ultimately, we’ve decided that the effort that we are putting into FG Angels is too great for us to continue on in the way that we’ve have been for the past two years. However, by running the experiment, we’ve better understood the leverage points at the angel / seed level that AngelList and Syndicates create, which for some investors, and many entrepreneurs, is very powerful. Finally, we’d like to believe that we’ve contributed to the evolution and dynamic of angel / seed investing through this effort.

Fabrice Grinda – Donald Trump:  The Startup Disrupting the GOP Establishment

Without getting too political, Fabrice presents a great comparison of our current presidential campaigns and startups trying to disrupt entrenched companies in their field.  I cannot wait to hear him in person!

If you think of The Donald as a tech startup and the GOP Establishment as an incumbent business, the parallels between the tech disruption and political disruption are striking. The Donald ruthlessly seeks to delight his target market. The best startups know their ideal customer and tirelessly build the product or service they desire. If the startup does a good job, they get their happy and loyal customers to join the movement and share their experience with others.

The Donald has a lower voter acquisition cost than other candidates. He’s been able to develop such an effective distribution/marketing strategy and message that he simply doesn’t need to spend as much as others.

Kay Koplovitz – Who is the Emerging Force Behind Corporate Venture Capital?  Women

This leading entrepreneur and investor brings attention to an important issue – and may help everyone begin tracking the progress of women in equity investing:

Unicorns aside, let’s focus the lens on who is investing. Lately, a great deal has been written about the need to have more women on the investing side of the table. Researching the topic, I discovered a little known fact: As ranked by CB Insights, 17% of the top 20 Corporate VC firms in 2014 had women on the investment team. Women comprised 11% of CB Insight’s 2014 Top 20 VC list. According to a Babson College report, the national average of Women VC investors is 6%. There is not any current research that tracks the national average of women led Corporate VC investments.

Trish Costello – Women Are Hacking Venture Capital – Do They See it Coming?

The founder of the Kauffman Fellows program and current CEO of Portfolia is dismayed that women comprise only one percent of active VC investing partners, but there is also this:

But today, I’m more optimistic than ever. That’s because revolutionary VC’s and forward-thinking institutional investors are beginning to grasp that while conventional venture capital will continue to be important, it’s not going to be the only game in town.

The change is a twist on one of the most fundamental and long-standing principles in the industry — the VC Golden Rule:   She who has the gold is changing the rules.

Jonathan Ortmans – Growing Wings: How Angels are Widening the Investment Pool

The Global Entrepreneurship Network takes a knowledgeable look at angel investing across the world in two posts for the Kauffman Foundation.  He sees “the rise of angel investing has many benefits for both entrepreneurs and the cities and states that reap economic rewards from successful new ventures.” Important trends include more angel groups, more emphasis on exits, more accelerators and demo days, and much more.

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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