An Introduction to the Angel Capital Association

By Dick Crawford, co-chairman of CAV Angels:

Since it was initially organized, CAV Angels has been an active member of the Angel Capital Association, meaning CAV Angels members get access to the extensive benefits the Angel Capital Association provides.

To understand the advantage of CAV Angels’ membership with the Angel Capital Association, it is necessary to understand what the Angel Capital Association is and what it does. The Angel Capital Association is a collective of accredited angel investors, North America’s most prolific early-stage investment class.  It was founded in 2004 by the leaders of some of the largest angel groups in the United States. At that time, there were about 100 organized angel groups in the United States, up from 15 in 1995. This growth reflected the emergence of the digital economy in the United States and the need for individual angels to organize and share knowledge in order to be able to successfully invest in the new economy.

Today, the Angel Capital Association is the leading professional and trade association supporting the success of angel investors in high-growth, early stage ventures and the largest angel professional development organization in the world. ACA provides professional development, industry voice, public policy advocacy, and an array of benefits and resources to its membership of 13,000 individual accredited investors who invest individually or through more than 260 angel groups and platforms. More than 91,000 entrepreneurial companies are represented in the portfolios of ACA members.

As an organization that was established by angel groups for angel groups, the Angel Capital Association is led by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives of leading angel groups. In addition to its regular oversight of the ACA organization, the Board has a major role in overseeing and prioritizing the multiple ACA initiatives in the public policy arena. Generally, these initiatives focus on growing the pool of accredited investors by broadening SEC definitions, expanding the number of investors that can participate in private investment funds under SEC regulations, broadening the degree to which entrepreneurs can pitch investors without having to register as a public offering, and improving the tax treatment of early stage investments at both the Federal and state level.

Although not a direct funding source, the ACA works with incubators, universities, economic development organizations, and others to support entrepreneurship and assist startups in their quest for knowledge about angel capital. It also provides extensive information about and introductions to angel groups for entrepreneurs looking for capital. The ACA website’s directory lists all member angel groups by geographic regions with links to individual groups so entrepreneurs can go directly to the website of angel groups of interest to them.

The Angel Capital Association has extensive educational programs for its members including a webinar series throughout the year, regularly offered courses on angel investing, including basic courses about angel investing and more specialized topics. Access to the ACA’s materials come free or at a discounted rate to members of CAV Angels and are a fantastic resource to new and experienced investors alike.  The ACA also holds an annual summit which takes place in various cities around the U.S. and is hosted by major local angel groups. The annual ACA Summit is normally a two-day program with a broad range of speakers and panels on a wide variety of topics of interest to angel investors. The program also provides several receptions and dinners where ACA members can network with other members. Beyond the regular two-day program, the annual ACA Summit has a third optional day where attendees can attend a variety of the ACA’s courses on angel investing.

The ACA is organized into geographic regions and has a regular program of regional meetings in which angel groups within the regions come together to share best practices and to syndicate deals between different angel groups within the region. This process enables entrepreneurs to raise more capital than they could from a single group and also allows individual angel groups to have better and greater deal flow while learning from the experience of other angel groups within the region.

With its various activities and resources, the Angel Capital Association is a central organization in the angel and entrepreneurial ecosystem, and is an extremely valuable resource for CAV Angels members. It has and is playing a major role in developing the financial system for early stage companies in the new economy, and CAV Angels is glad to be a part of its mission.