Early-Stage Landscape

By: Brent Gleeson, Founder & CEO at TakingPoint™ Leadership, Navy SEAL

As a former Navy SEAL, I’ve been far removed from the battlefield for quite some time. But there continue to be many lessons we can extract from the global war on terrorism when it comes to preparedness, planning, vigilance, resilience and leading through constant change during tumultuous times. 

By: Tom Droege, Co-Founder of Resilient Ventures and President of Droege Computing Services, Inc.

Forward by Pat Gouhin, CEO: In this new blog, we have a responsibility so share the thought leadership, advice, counsel, and impactful communications that are taking place throughout the angel investment community during these trying times. I was fortunate enough to receive a message from one of the respected leaders in my local community, Tom Droege of Resilient Ventures. Our worlds have been turned upside down and this often results in an inward focus but Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity must remain an integral part of our forward looking strategy as a community.  Tom has made this point beautifully in his message.  With Tom's permission I offer you the following thoughts that I hope you will consider as you figure out how you can play a part in making the world a better place. 

By: Pat Gouhin, Chief Executive Officer

I just returned from another trip to Washington, DC where I teamed up with our tax coalition partners; National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) , Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed).  We conducted a series of congressional visits with key representatives from the tax writing Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Ways and Means. We also met with the Assistant to the President for Financial Policy on the National Economic Council.  This coalition, started by ACA over four years ago by Public Policy Chairman David Verrill, brings a consistent voice to US tax policy that impacts investors and entrepreneurs. It is managed by ACA’s consultants at GrayRobinson.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

You have probably heard by now that ACA is moving forward with our initiative to be the premier source of angel investment data.  Our first step was releasing the inaugural Angel Funders Report with data from 26 angel groups and 432 investment rounds in 2017, and we will be releasing new reports soon that will eventually improve our member groups’ investments.  So, why is data important to early-stage investing and why should your group join the ACA’s data initiative?  There are so many reasons!  Data insights provide the knowledge to make smarter decisions giving you and your angel group a step up when making portfolio assessments and increasing your chance for success.  Read on for some of our top reasons why joining the ACA data analytics initiative and the Angel Funders Report can make everyone better angel investors:

By: Mark Graffagnini, Cara Stone, LLP, ACA Public Policy Advisory Council Member

The Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “ICA”) defines an “investment company” as any issuer which “is or holds itself out as being engaged primarily, or proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities.” This definition generally includes angel funds, venture capital funds and other types of private equity and hedge funds, unless an exemption applies.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

ACA and angel investors celebrated victory this week at our nation’s capital as the bill to solve the “99 Investor Problem” passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 22.  The resolution to the 99 investor problem is part of S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which focuses on reducing the regulatory burden on community banks by rolling back Dodd-Frank regulations.  Included in the bill is a provision to raise the cap on the number of investors in angel funds and syndicates from 99 investors to 250 in funds of $10 million or less.  This piece of legislation passed with 258 votes, 33 Democrats voting in favor, so somewhat bipartisan.  The bill was signed by the President on Thursday, May 24, making it law (probably pending rule-making).

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: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

I thought you would be interested in a handy summary of the tax reform bill, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which was signed into law by the President just before the Christmas holiday.  It is by Bloomberg Government and was done before some small tweaks by the Senate, but should be pretty close to the final law.

There are three things to know about tax reform that affect angel investors and new companies, most of which ACA supported and promoted on Capitol Hill:

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

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.

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IP Due Diligence for Startups by Russell Krajec (Rockies Venture Club)  on  November 13