By Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

Three amazing companies funded by ACA members are finalists for the Luis Villalobos Award, honoring companies for ingenuity, creativity and innovation. The companies are:

  • Aquacycl LLC – San Diego (nominated by Next Wave Ventures and also funded by the San Diego Angel Conference)
  • GrandPad – Orange, CA (nominated by Tech Coast Angels and funded as well by Pasadena Angels and Harvard Business School Angels)
  • Joylux – Seattle (nominated by Alliance of Angels and also funded by numerous ACA member groups:  Golden Seeds, Houston Angel Network, Puget Sound Venture Club, Belle Capital, Keiretsu Forum Northwest, Keiretsu Capital Fund, South Coast Angel Network, Portfolia and Sofia Angel Fund)

By:  Ethel Rubin, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, National Institutes of Health

Editors Note:  ACA has entered into an annual partnership program with NIH, with an aim toward collaboration and getting to know early-stage companies funded through NIH funding programs such as Small Business Innovation Research grants.

Some wonderful new things are happening at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help the companies we have backed make further progress. Our angel investors should be aware of specialized funding and support programs that were reauthorized last year so that your portfolio companies can take a look and see if they qualify.  The three most relevant are the extension of the NIH Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative; SBIR Direct to Phase II grants; and the Commercialization Readiness Pilot Program.

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

ACA’s yearly Luis Villalobos Award provides recognition to ingenious and innovative ideas in the startup ecosystem by asking members of the Angel Capital Association to nominate their best portfolio companies recently funded.  Three finalists are selected each year and, with the nominating ACA angel, are honored at the ACA Summit where the winner is announced during the annual awards ceremony in front of 700+ angel investors. 

By: Ham Lord, Chairman of Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com and Christopher Mirabile, ACA Chair Emeritus, Managing Director at Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com

Note: This article is the third in an ongoing series for angels new to investing. To learn more about building an angel portfolio, download this free eBook today - Angel 101: A Primer for Angel Investors or purchase our books at Amazon.com.

New angels, new entrepreneurs and people outside of the startup ecosystem may have a general sense of how early stage investments happen, but, if put on the spot and asked to describe the exact process, most would be hard-pressed to come up with much detail at all. Like cooking, changing a tire, playing a sport well, and so many other things in life, the angel process is simple in theory, but a bit more complicated in practice. The angel process is not rocket science, but there are a lot of steps, there is some complexity, and there can definitely be some science to doing some of the steps well.

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: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

2018 was a stellar year for many of our member groups, individual angels and platforms with fantastic exits, investments and significant milestones.  This calls for celebration!  National publications and media outlets also saluted these accomplishments and delivered well deserved coverage.  Several ACA members wrote great articles too.  ACA applauds the hard work of all our members and we wish you endless success in 2019.  Here are some terrific articles about and by ACA members in the last year: 

By: Chris McCannell, Partner at Eris Group

Editor’s Note:  Eris Group is ACA’s federal advocacy firm, providing our association with advice and connections on Capitol Hill, the White House and federal government agencies.  Their expertise and extensive network has helped ACA make considerable headway in Washington, DC.  Below is a note on our accomplishments and work together in 2018.

2018 was another successful year of public policy engagement for the Angel Capital Association. Eris Group is pleased to represent your association in Washington, DC.  Last year we continued to build productive relationships with Members of Congress, regulators, public officials and high-level policy leaders in the early stage capital ecosystem that led to a useful new law for angel funds and supportive tax policies.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

One of the best things about some ACA regional events is the opportunity for members to not only focus on learning, but also to participate in collaborative investing.  ACA members joined together in Des Moines, IA in September for the 2018 ACA Midwest Regional: Best of the Midwest with over 140 attendees.  Hosted by Plains Angels, angels from across the Midwest came to learn about latest industry trends, build relationships, minimize geographical barriers and partake in syndication opportunities. 

By: Ham Lord, Chairman of Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com and Christopher Mirabile, ACA Chair Emeritus, Managing Director at Launchpad Venture Group and Co-Founder of Seraf-investor.com

At Launchpad, we invest in dozens of companies every year. In the past, we frequently faced situations where we put a lot of work into diligence with a company and suddenly found out we were miles apart on deal term expectations and couldn't close the gap. This is a waste of time for all involved, and is the kind of frustration that leads to “deal fatigue” for investors trying to build a portfolio of investments. It can also lead to bad feelings and an increasing sense of mistrust between investors and entrepreneurs.

By: Linda Smith, ACA Chair

Last week, I made a very special announcement at the ACA Leadership Workshop:  after an incredible 14-year run, our esteemed Executive Director, Marianne Hudson, told us she intends to take early retirement.  When she told the ACA Board about her wishes quite recently, Marianne also graciously offered to stay with us until her replacement is brought into the organization.  The Board respects her decision and especially appreciates her dedication to continue leading the association until a new leader is with us.

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