Friday, February 15, 2013

ACA to be the over-arching, trusted authority on accredited Angel Investing

In a major policy shift, the Angel Capital Association is about to allow individuals to join as members, hoping thereby to broaden its reach and influence beyond just organized angel groups.  “The ACA risks irrelevance if our focus is too narrow,” ACA President David Verrill told interested members on a Webinar today. Other potential new members include family offices, accelerators, and seed funds.

The ACA was founded in 2004 as a group comprised of a coalition of 46 Angel Groups.  Notably, ten of these founding groups were from here in the Northeast (they are listed below). Today, membership includes 185 Angel Groups located in the US and Canada as well as 20 affiliates.

Defining its mission as “fueling the success of Angel Groups and Private Investors in high growth, early stage ventures, The ACA describes its member benefits as:

  • Professional development, including networking and training activities,
  • Portfolio enhancement, including information sharing, discount programs and directors insurance, and
  • Providing a voice to the Angel Community, advocating public policies that support and promote angel investing.

The reason for the membership changes is clearly illustrated in Angel Ecosystem (below).  In the US today, there are 8 million individuals who meet the legal definition allowing angel investing. There are just over 300,000 active angels. Eight thousand of these are currently members of ACA member groups. Most angels have no organization representing their interests. Thus, in Washington and in our state capitals, it is always the squeaky VC that gets the grease. Economically, this is very poor public policy since VCs fund relatively few start-up companies while new companies provide the greatest number of jobs.

The public policy goals of the ACA are summarized below.

The sign up process for new individual angels is not yet ready, but according to Marianne Hudson of the ACA, “Angels in ACA member groups can get access to our member only site and receive on-going ACA member information by signing up at this location.”

Founding  New  Englanders that are still current ACA members include: Angel Investor Forum, Cherrystone Angel Group, CommonAngels, eCoast Angels, Hub Angels Investment Group, Investors’ Circle,Launchpad Venture Group, Maine Angels, River Valley Investors, and Walnut Venture Associates

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