Public Policy

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.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of state securities regulators with leaders of different parts of our securities markets in the US and Canada to compare notes.  Not only do I admire the regulators for holding meetings such as this, but I learned a great deal about some of our newest types of securities – equity crowdfunding for everyone and Regulation A (Reg A+ for short).

By agreement of all attendees, I can’t share some specifics of who said what, but let me share some of my general takeaways from the NASAA Capital Formation Roundtable about equity crowdfunding:

  • Anyone can invest in equity crowdfunding offerings via two mechanisms:  1) at the federal level “Regulation Crowdfunding” opened for American citizens on May 16 and 2) “intrastate crowdfunding” allows for state residents to invest in businesses in that state.  Currently 34 states have approved intrastate crowdfunding and 29 are currently online

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

On May 16 when new “Regulation Crowdfunding” took effect, all American citizens received a gift that angel investors have enjoyed for years—they can buy stock in startups. But behind all of the excitement are a few surprises both investors and the companies raising money might not realize. These curveballs may mean that equity crowdfunding, won’t deliver the financial impact that Congress intended for startups when it passed the JOBS Act four years ago. 

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Victory! With lots of work by ACA and many leaders, the House passed the HALOS Act, which would ensure companies presenting in demo days would not have tripped the general solicitation trigger and therefore be required to take extra measures to verify all of their investors are accredited.  This is something the entire startup ecosystem – investors, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators, universities and more - cares about.  We will now concentrate our efforts on the Senate to make the bill a reality. The bill was approved by a 325-89 vote, meaning it was relatively bi-partisan.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Are you an accredited angel investor?  We need ten minutes of your time to make a big difference for startup investing.  Please take this confidential survey to help us understand who angel investors are, how they became angels, and what factors influence their investing activity.

Today ACA and Wharton Entrepreneurship announced a partnership to complete the first-ever comprehensive demographic study of angel investors across the U.S.  We believe this study will help identify characteristics of angel investors that have never before been understood. It is critical for entrepreneurs, economic development entities, private market makers, regulators and legislators to understand who angel investors are, in order to drive effective policies to ensure a robust angel investing marketplace and for startups to better access equity capital.

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

Yes, there's Title III under the JOBS Act, promising equity crowdfunding (think Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, just not restricted to awards or products, but instead offering ownership in the company); yes, there's Reg A+, also bequeathed by the JOBS Act; and there are a plethora, now, of state crowdfunding laws that lower the bar to who may invest in private companies.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

December 18 was a very big day for angel investors.  Not only did the SEC put out a staff report that recommends tweaks to the accredited investor definition, but Congress passed a big tax act that makes permanent the 100% exemption of capital gains.  Here’s what you need to know in connected blog posts:

Tax Benefits - The holiday party starts early with a gift from Congress

The House and Senate passed the PATH Act (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) which included the Angel Capital Association’s top tax priority, extension of Section 1202 of the US Tax Code which allows a 100% exclusion of gains on Qualified Small Business Stock has been made permanent. ACA will continue to support reform of this tax exemption, such as reducing the current minimum five year holding period, in future tax reform. ACA commends our champions who have promoted a tax code that rewards innovation and job creation: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI).  Thanks also to our government affairs leaders, Chris McCannell and Joel Riethmiller.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

December 18 was a very big day for angel investors.  Not only did the SEC put out a staff report that recommends tweaks to the accredited investor definition, but Congress passed a big tax act that makes permanent the 100% exemption of capital gains.  Here’s what you need to know in connected blog posts:

Accredited Investor Definition – A mix of gifts and lumps of coal in our stockings

Not far from the US Capitol Building, the SEC quietly released a report from its staff on the Accredited Investor definition on the same day.  As many angels will remember, the SEC is required to study the definition by Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act.  Time will tell if this staff report fully addresses the requirement or if it informs future rulemaking by SEC Commissioners.

To ACA’s delight, some of the recommendations in the report actually match what our leadership has suggested in multiple meetings and letters, such as allowing people who are sophisticated but don’t meet financial thresholds to be accredited.  As in many things, however, there are also some recommendations in the report that are different than most angels would like.  All in all, the SEC staff’s report could have been much worse – for instance it does not include increasing financial thresholds for income to $450,000 and wealth to $2.5 million as some organizations advocated.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Crowdfunding experts have poured through the 685 pages of SEC rules and created a reasonable 43 page practical guide on how equity crowdfunding for the masses work.  Take advantage of this step-by-step guide that Crowdfund Capital Advisors have put together for entrepreneurs to raise funds when the rules allow it beginning May 16, 2016.

Subscribe