Diversity

By Lucy Howell, ACA Director of Partnerships 

The ACA Summit is the largest gathering of accredited angel investors in North America and the event’s “Innovation Showcase” provides selected companies the opportunity to present their pitch to the entire ACA Summit audience.  It represents a tremendous opportunity for angel groups, economic development agencies and accelerators to showcase their best portfolio companies and attract capital. 

Twenty-three sponsored entrepreneurs delivered their Showcase speed pitch to the audience throughout the Summit.  Sponsored entrepreneurs also hosted a table throughout the Summit to tell their story and hold private meetings.  This year ACA partnered with Gust Launch as a sponsor, which offered winning underwriters complimentary licenses to help their entrepreneurs incorporate and grow.

By Lucy Howell, ACA Director of Partnerships 

After a 20-year career in financial services, I joined the Angel Capital Association as director of partnerships exactly one year ago this month. Over the past year, I have met hundreds of angels, entrepreneurs, community development leaders, bankers, sponsors and policy makers interested in this critical niche. Angels are the biggest funders of high-growth new businesses, which created nearly all net new jobs in last 25 years. Yet, I am surprised by how little is known about this unique angel investing world. I thought it would be fun to recap my top 12 takeaways from the year to shed some light on this amazing group of people and the impacts angels have had, not only on me, but on their local ecosystems.  

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

ACA members have known for years that people from other countries make AMAZING entrepreneurs.  This is one of the main reasons ACA has supported policies like startup visas and the International Entrepreneur Rule to ensure that more of these entrepreneurs from other countries can stay in the US and create innovative and job creating companies.

Now we have a new source of data on international entrepreneurs – Immigrant Founders of the 2017 Fortune 500 – by the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE).  The report comes amid the ongoing debate about US immigration policy – and, most immediately, debate regarding the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

There has been a decidedly female focus to a flurry of news and announcements about angels, startups and challenges for women entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, disturbing accounts of sexual harassment and gender bias dominate the headlines. But there’s another tier of good news featuring women (and men) investing in and supporting women-led startups.

Many of those good news stories start with ACA members, women and men, who are actively working to eradicate gender bias, harassment and discrimination.

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:

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

A new buzzword in entrepreneurship and equity investing is “inclusiveness.”  It is gaining traction with Venture Capitalists and angels alike, who see that building the diversity of the investor community and the entrepreneurs they invest in is not only a good societal goal, but it is also a way to build great deal flow, make better investment decisions, and grow returns.

What has many investors scratching their heads, though, is: how do we do become more inclusive?  Think about it.  Do you often go outside your social network to bring in co-investors or entrepreneurs who are different from you?  Most likely the answer is no.  You probably stick with the core people you know or are like you.  Research backs this up for most investors.  But “sticking to your knitting” may be limiting your options and leaving some money on the table.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

I want to let you know about ACA's participation in the first ever White House Demo Day, which is focused on inclusive entrepreneurship.  There will be success stories about entrepreneurs from different geographies, ages, races and genders in an event this afternoon.  The press release explains more details. 

A part of the program is for private sector organizations to commit to growing inclusive entrepreneurship and ACA made a commitment that is mentioned about a quarter of the way into the document.  Our commitment is to do our first ever study on the demographics of angel investors and why they make investments to have a baseline of women and minorities as angel investors and to share best practices of investing. This study will begin this Fall and is supported by the John Huston Fund for Angel Professionalism

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