Queen City Angels: Setting the Example for Angel Investor Foundation Support

"Simply put, if we don't support the ACA and campaigns like Seed the Future, who will?" - Ted Capossela.

The Queen City Angels (QCA) group, based in Cincinnati, OH, can best be described as the ‘earliest supporter’ of the Angel Investor Foundation’s (AIF) Seed the Future Campaign. In fact, the group focused on ACA’s long-term growth goals before the Angel Investor Foundation was even created which led numerous QCA to help fund a feasibility study aimed at assessing the likely success of a campaign, assuming the ACA decided to implement such an initiative. 

Tony Shipley, founder and chair of QCA, stated that members of QCA were bought into the vision and mission of ACA, but felt that additional financial support was needed by the organization to implement its strategic plan for building angel investing on a broader basis. QCA also believed ACA needed these resources to further build out the valuable services ACA offers to the angel community, including angel education, industry focused data analytics, public policy advocacy, and other important services. Additionally, QCA believed there was a direct tie between all the important angel investor services offered by ACA and the angel investors’ community ability to serve the ever-increasing number of entrepreneurs seeking early-stage capital.

In early 2022, QCA canvassed its members and requested additional giving to help fund the early rollout of the Campaign. Dozens of QCA contributed to the official campaign which had been rolled out to ACA Board members and Cabinet members of the Campaign. It should be noted that the AIF, a 501(c)(3) was sent up in late 2021 to facilitate tax free giving to the Campaign. In September 2022, QCA participated in two exits that occurred at approximated the same time and one of those exits was a QSBS qualified company that met the threshold requirements for 1202 tax treatment. The second exit did not meet the five-year holding period for QSBS; however, QCA members are planning to use the rollover features offered by tax code 1045 and keep the clock running on 1202 for the exit funds provided by the second company.

QCA members got to experience firsthand what it means to have an exit that is covered by QSBS and the tremendous tax saving that tax code 1202 provides. Given these “enhanced returns” from the exit, QCA members once again decided to make additional contributions to the Campaign.

"My reason for the contribution is straightforward. I think it is important for those of us who have experienced success in our lives to contribute (at least in some small way) to help with the next generation of entrepreneurs. For me, it’s about paying it forward. It’s why I gravitated to QCA in the first place. The Seed the Future Campaign is a logical extension of what we already are doing," said QCA member Pete Effler. 

Queen City Angels member Dennis Hirotsu decided to speak with us recently about why he chose to give to the campaign. 

“Angel investing is critical to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the US. ACA and AIF provide an effective, scaled approach to critical needs for industry data collection and analysis; angel education and training; and public policy advocacy (handled solely by ACA) which no angel group could do on their own,” Dennis Hirotsu. 

To date, QCA members have donated over $187,000 to the Campaign. QCA Board members have donated more than $100,000, and over 65 QCA members have donated (the average gift is approximately $3,000). Of the members who have donated, 38% of those donors have contributed two or more times to the Campaign.