Archive for October 2014

By: Doug Doan, founder of ACA member Hivers and Strivers, an angel investment group that invests exclusively in companies started by military veterans. ACA is supporting the celebration of National Veterans Small Business Week with a Veterans Syndication Event on November 12 in Boston.

An important fact about American veterans is also the least reported and understood.  Our Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard veterans are turning into superb entrepreneurs and are unusually successful starting and running new business enterprises.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be. Many military vets use the very skills, leadership, and drive learned the hard way from service in wartime to build and run great companies.  Let’s call it Post Traumatic Growth or PTG. 

Companies such as Ridescout, founded by two West Point grads and combat leaders, brought the drive, determination, and fierce execution skill skills learned in the Army. They have been so successful in opening up a new market, their company was recently gobbled up by Daimler Benz, with a nice return for the angels involved.

By: Roland Schumann, a successful entrepreneur who was a pioneer in the cloud computing industry. He is an active angel investor, serving on both the Executive Committee and Screening Committee of the Sierra Angels investment group based in Lake Tahoe.

As a member of the Sierra Angels, I’ve had the chance to think about what makes angel group members effective. While some angels merely sit on the sidelines and view the investment process from afar with little personal involvement, others choose to roll up their sleeves and actively investigate promising deals. The 7 habits identified below are intended to help all angel investors understand why getting involved as an active participant will greatly increase their likelihood of success.

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."

At a conference I attended recently, a panel of pre-revenue company founders was asked, “What’s your revenue model?”  The answers were honest, although not investment-ready:

“We’re really not focused on that now, because we’re just trying to generate a following.”

“I’ve talked to business owners, and if we can provide them with access to these customers, the business owners are willing to pay for the service.”

It takes discipline to research and develop a viable revenue model in the early stages of a business. Here’s an example of an entrepreneur who did.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Last week, the Investor Advisory Committee to the SEC approved several high level recommendations on the accredited investor definition.  You can download a copy of the recommendations here.  I attended the meeting and want to give our members a quick update on this very important issue for angels.

First, it is important to note that this meeting is another piece of a long process – there are no new rules from the SEC that change who can be an accredited investor at this time.  We’re watching the process and representing the views of angels and startups and appreciate that many of you, our members, have shared your voice.

The timing for any changes or some official ruling seems as elusive as ever.  It appears that any changes are months or maybe years away rather than days or weeks.  One of the possibilities is even that there won’t be any changes for some time.  So it is important to stay involved and watching, but to put any concerns about changes in this context.

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

This post originally appeared on

It's been one year since the Securities and Exchange Commission issued rules allowing entrepreneurs to publicly advertise private investment deals. So what’s the impact? Has lifting the ban on "general solicitation" significantly changed the landscape for startups and investors? What do investors need to know in this new world?

General solicitation is one of five initiatives in the JOBS Act passed by Congress in 2012 to help startups access more capital, in order to grow and create more jobs. Although the JOBS Act is best known for promising to bring us equity crowdfunding by unaccredited investors, the new general solicitation rules are having the biggest impact on angel investors and entrepreneurs.  (We’re also still waiting for final crowdfunding rules.)