Angel Groups

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

Engaging the next generation of investors is something that is becoming an increased priority for angel groups to focus their efforts.  ACA member groups are developing volunteer analysts or similar programs to incorporate and educate young people while engaging them in important work for the group.  Benefits of this type of activity include augmented practices, increasing support and empowering individuals for the future.  Here are two examples of ACA member groups that are utilizing volunteer programs to invest in the next generation of angel investors.

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

Recently two articles caught my attention for calling attention to the importance of startups to national economies, with one particularly pointing out how key angel investors are.  Both writings point to how startups create jobs and innovations to our economy and they are the kinds of articles that Members of Congress and other policy makers read.  (That helps ACA make progress on Capitol Hill, trust me!)

Below are both articles with some excerpts so you get the general idea.  Check out the full articles too.

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

One of my favorite parts of working with ACA members is attending the Regional and Special Interest Meetings where angels gather to learn about investing trends and encourage collaborative investing. ACA Regional Meetings connect new and experienced angels to each other for investor education, networking, and to syndicate angel deals in real-time. There is no substitute to the momentum that can be created by having angel investors in the same room debating smart investing practices and sharing investment opportunities. And sometimes, angels themselves become the innovators for getting deals done.  

Such is the case of the recent ACA Midwest Regional: Best of the Midwest – planned and hosted by Nebraska Angels in Omaha last week.  Held in a turn of the century warehouse turned community art and innovation center – Kaneko – the meeting began with a view of the Nebraska Angels history after turning near collapse in 2008 to a thriving group of nearly 70 investors with a Midwest-wide syndication portfolio – and recent exits. In her welcome Laura Classen, Executive Director of Nebraska Angels, encouraged the attendees to use the meeting to make networking among fellow investors and syndication a priority in order to support the innovative companies, create strong investment portfolios and overcome geographical barriers.

By Linda Smith, ACA Chair

Angel Ventures is spreading its wings!  For those of you unfamiliar with Angel Ventures, they are the widest network of angel investors in Latin America with a significant presence in Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Chile and Southern California.  Some of you may have met Hernan Fernandez of Angel Ventures Mexico, an active ACA member. They also maintain excellent contacts with Hispanic angels and Hispanic investment opportunities throughout the United States. 

As your ACA Chair, I recently had the opportunity to travel south and meet with the staff, supporters, and members of Angel Ventures Peru.  Based in the capital city of Lima, I was hosted by Greg Mitchell who leads the staff in Lima and Elizabeth Acuna, their deal flow manager.  The breadth and depth of their work in the startup ecosystem is truly impressive.  With over 250 members, Angel Ventures has created a fund-to-fund network of investments. 

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Although ACA itself is only eleven years old, several of our current member angel groups trace their beginnings back much further than that. A total of nine groups have now been in existence for 20 years or more. Here is that honor roll and the founding year for each. Congratulations to all!

Puget Sound Venture Club

1985

Rockies Venture Club

1985

Investors' Circle

1992

Private Investors Forum

1993

Band of Angels

1994

Tech Coast Angels

1997

Walnut Venture Associates

1997

Alliance of Angels

1997

Sierra Angels

1997

The latest to achieve that impressive 20-year mark is Sierra Angels of Incline Village, Nevada, the angel group from which our new Board Chair, Linda Smith, hails. I was honored to attend the group’s anniversary party yesterday, along with ACA Board members Jim Connor and Kevin Learned.  We look forward to helping more interested member groups celebrate their 20th anniversaries and thank all of you for supporting new companies that create jobs and innovation.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Every day, ACA members ask us for ideas on how they can improve everything from deal flow to impact to liquidity.  Other members have fantastic ideas and experience in solving those same issues.

So let’s say you are part of an angel group that has lost some of its mojo and you’re losing out on the very best entrepreneurs because of newer players in your startup ecosystem.  These investors have innovative ways to fund companies and have deep connections into the leading entrepreneurs, innovators and follow-on investors.  What do you need to do to be innovative and not only bring a fresh take to your entrepreneurial community, but also regularly help great startups grow with these investors?

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

The Angel Capital Association has some wonderful member angels and organizations and I’m glad so many of them actively share their knowledge and deals with other ACA members.  If you haven’t taken a tour of media coverage of ACA members this year, it is worth your time. About 60 media stories about ACA members were published in the first ten weeks of 2017, and here are a few of my favorites:

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Three ACA member organizations have really put on their hiking boots with excellent adventures and exits in late 2016.  On top of some really great investor returns, they also include a couple of important social returns that I really like.  Let me tell you about them:

The following is part of our periodic ACA Blog series highlighting ACA member expertise and insights on resources for angels.  The topics will vary and include ways ACA angels are making best use of their time – and often ACA benefits – to make smart investment decisions.  This tip is how Women’s Capital Connection engages their members in educational discussions based on ACA webinars. Thank you Aviva Ajmera for sharing! 

We look forward to more member tips for angels.  When you have a resource to share with angels please contact Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director to learn more. 

By: Aviva Ajmera, Women’s Capital Connection

I used to take the ACA webinar emails for granted—just another email in my inbox— but what I found is they could help us learn. As Vice Chair of the Executive Committee one of my responsibilities is group education. Although every member in our group is a subject matter expert in something, we aren’t all experts in every aspect of angel investing. We have members that are veteran investors and we have investors new to angel investing,  ACA Webinars have been a great addition to our group development. 

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