Early-Stage Landscape

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 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

All of us know about — or personally know — talented foreign-born entrepreneurs who have created successful businesses in the US.  Think Intel, eBay and Tesla. Immigrant entrepreneurs are behind more than half of America’s startup companies valued at $1 billion or more.

That’s why the Angel Capital Association is joining the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and many other leading entrepreneurial organizations to support the International Entrepreneur Rule.

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: William Carleton, Counselor @ Law, and volunteer chair of ACA Public Policy Advisory Council

Don't look now, but entire development teams, with significant experience (2-3 years+) working together, are leaving giant tech companies to found startups.

If 20 years ago the archetype was two renegades in a garage with an idea and the will to figure stuff out, today's paradigm is six or seven developers and a political savvy business leader (or two, or more) who have learned to trust one another and work effectively as a unit. All courtesy of the experience of shipping products for a well funded, publicly traded company.

By David Verrill, Chair of ACA’s Public Policy Committee

Ten days ago, I took a trip to Washington, DC with ACA executive director Marianne Hudson and our government affairs team of Chris McCannell and Greg Mesack from Eris Group.  It was an interesting three days, with a combination of planning our policy work for the year, meeting with other associations with overlapping interests, and ten meetings on Capitol Hill.  This was the week after the inauguration of President Trump, and you could see a lot of change in our nation’s capital.  Here is what I learned:

Comprehensive Tax Reform

Comprehensive tax reform is coming (after Congress deals with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare), with the goal of having it done by August 1.  Most believe that the House will follow blueprints by Paul Ryan and former Ways & Means chair Dave Camp as the basis to build on, with the following features:

By: Angela Jackson is an ACA Board Member and Chairs the “Grassroots Group” for ACA members interested in interacting with Members of Congress.  Want to join?  Shoot Angela an email.

Exciting things are happening in Washington, DC relative to advancing the ACA legislative agenda - and we're requesting your immediate help.

Call to Action - by Monday January 9!

ACA just got word that the House of Representatives plans to vote on the HALOS Act next week.  HALOS (Helping Angels Lead Our Startups) exempts demo days from general solicitation rules, meaning that companies that participate in any type of demo day would no longer need to worry about taking extra steps to verify investors are accredited – unless they are going the solicitation 506(c) way.  And angels who prefer to invest in private deals would have better assurances that companies had not tripped the general solicitation trigger.  The bill, HR 79, has great bi-partisan sponsors:  leads Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and co-sponsors Andy Barr (R-KY), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), John Delaney (D-MD), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Ann Wagner (R-MO).

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

One of the best parts of being an angel investor is supporting companies after you invest.  And now angels have a new support tool in our pockets for portfolio companies – a new federal tax benefit that can add up to $250,000 per year for these young businesses.  This is real money for startups – and better yet, it is totally non-dilutive to angel investor equity!

I learned about the Federal Research and Experimentation Tax Credit and how it will change for qualified startups at a recent meeting of the Angel Capital Association and I think it is important to get this news to as many angels and entrepreneurs as possible, so they can benefit as soon as possible.  Cash is short for angel-backed companies, so finding extra money – especially of this size - is really important.

By David Verrill, Managing Director of Hub Investment Group 

Many angels have noticed the unique capabilities of entrepreneurs from outside the US to build great companies. Now, finally, so has the American federal government (noting that our colleague Canadians have been all over this for some time).  The Department of Homeland Security released rules that would allow more foreign born entrepreneurs to stay in the US longer to grow their companies.  One of the main requirements is for angels or VCs to invest in their companies.  The rules will become final after a review of comments to the first public draft. 

By Chris McCannell, Partner at Eris Group

Editor’s Note:  ACA wants to share with our members our progress in Washington.  It’s an important use of member dues, and we believe it is worth every penny.  We work with Eris Group on American public policy issues, and have had great results in the last year – from a 100% exemption on investment gains to House passage of bills that would ensure that demo days are not included in general solicitation and increasing the number of investors in an angel fund or syndicate from 99 to 249.  With Eris Group, ACA has also helped move the conversation about the definition of accredited investor to a more positive one (in angels’ view), and we are now regularly sought out by Members of Congress and other organizations for input and support of legislation and policy issues.

ACA learned in 2010 that Congress and regulators could have a huge impact on angel investors and the startups angels support.  ACA was able to ensure Dodd-Frank didn’t increase the financial thresholds for the accredited investor definition then, but the association learned it needed help from DC professionals to protect angels through that experience.

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