Entrepreneur

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

The Angel Capital Association has appreciated the work of leading academics on assessing the impact of angel investors on promising entrepreneurs.  A recent blog by Laurent Blasie in the March Digest of the National Bureau of Economic Research does a particularly good job of summarizing the study:

By: Christopher Mirabile, ACA Chair and Launchpad Venture Group

This post originally appeared on Inc.com

There are many options – and traps, when it comes to financings. We’ve talked about the virtues of priced rounds relative to convertible debt, as well as the key concerns of founders in approaching financings.  However, one of the most fundamental considerations is the question of valuation.

When it comes to pre-money valuations, higher is always better, right? This is certainly a common misconception held by many entrepreneurs. Here’s why it’s wrong.

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

If you’ve attended or presented at a startup pitch event, you’re familiar with the entrepreneur’s pressure to provide a comprehensive, entertaining and compelling view of the company in just a few minutes. At many events, a moderator or attendee asks the presenters, “How can I/we help your company?”

Several months ago, I began to notice a sameness across different pitch events in presenters’ answers to this question. It didn’t seem to matter whether the question was asked in front of a large audience, in small group or during a one-on-one conversation.

By Krista Tuomi, Associate Professor, American University

Entrepreneurs often explore a range of funding sources to expand and/or finance working capital, including ‘alternative’ ones such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and invoice financing.  These have recently been enjoying media exposure, sometimes erroneously grouped in the same category as angels.  As with my previous blog post on bank loans, this table is supposed to give a rough idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each source.  Such information is useful when advising a firm, or considering investing in one which has already tapped this pool of money (and probably is paying dearly for it).

By: Joseph W. Bartlett, Special Counsel, McCarter & English LLP; Chair Emeritus, ACA Public Policy Advisory Council

Entrepreneurs waste a lot of time soliciting professionally managed venture funds. Venture capitalists operate according to their own largely unwritten rules. In order to play the funding game, you must learn these rules. Below, I’ve listed some of the most-common mistakes. They won’t tell you everything you’ll need to know, but these simple rules should help you understand the VC process and avoid an enormous waste of time, energy, and opportunity.

Rule #1: Choose the Appropriate Audience

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

In films and on television, characters routinely breeze through sophisticated software, easily cracking codes and accessing just-in-time information. In Jurassic Park, for example, thirteen year-old Lex Murphy reboots the park’s sophisticated computer systems - just after surviving a velociraptor attack in the kitchen. 

In the real world, software applications are not as user-accepted and intuitive. As reported in Fortune, a 2014 a survey of failed startups found that that 42% self-identified the reason for failure as lack of market need for their product.

By: Joseph W. Bartlett, Special Counsel, McCarter & English LLP; Chair Emeritus, ACA Public Policy Advisory Council

The appropriate legal domicile for the company’s organization and filings. In almost every case, Delaware is the appropriate choice. Despite media insinuations, Delaware is not a tax haven. State income taxes are levied on the basis of factors which are not influenced by a Delaware domicile. The reasons for Delaware are practical: The Delaware Secretary of State’s office is better organized and staffed so that the initial organization of a corporation or limited liability company is a matter of a few minutes.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

Editor’s Note:  ACA’s annual Fall workshop, now called the Angel Insights Exchange, will be in New Orleans on November 9-10.  We picked New Orleans not only for its iconic activities and food, but because it has a growing entrepreneurial vibrance.  Here’s a taste of the city’s growth in the form of the NO/LA Angel Network.

Despite the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused 10 years ago, the huge disaster that hit New Orleans brought a silver lining. With a giant microscope on the area, young people were drawn to New Orleans and the surrounding region to help.

In the years immediately following Katrina, young people turned out in droves. They came to volunteer, to rebuild and to educate children, but then something interesting happened. Many liked the area and stayed. Their friends came too. Over time all these new NO/LA (New Orleans/ Louisiana) residents perpetuated an explosion of entrepreneurial activity—something the area desperately needed.

By: Ed Cox, CEO of everyStory

The stages of funding, it is said over and over, go as follows: friends and family, then angels, then venture capitalists. It’s a familiar framework to any entrepreneur trying to launch a startup.

However, should every entrepreneur trying to raise money assume that oft-repeated path is actually the best path? Absolutely not. Entrepreneurs should not determine their companies’ sources of funding based on tradition or assumptions. Rather they should base them on the intention and goals of those companies.

In fact, entrepreneurs should stop thinking of funding in “stages” altogether. What’s listed above are funding “avenues” that should be considered simultaneously – and could also be pursued simultaneously. In a world of rapidly developing crowdfunding sources, the way to raise money has expanded well beyond those customary staples.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Today we send a special congratulations to our sister organization, the Angel Resource Institute, which is now the Angel Resource Institute at Willamette University.  ARI and Willamette University have developed this new joint venture, which should be a good result for ACA members, and angels and entrepreneurs in general.  More information about the joint venture is here.

As ARI Chairman, Michael Cain, said, “There is a natural fit between our two organizations. This partnership allows us to provide better service, enhance our research, and expand our training offering.”

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