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Angel Capital Group

Angel Capital Group is rapidly becoming a syndicate of angel funds.

Knoxville, TN (PRWEB) February 27, 2015

Angel Capital Group (ACG), a leading national angel investor network, is proud to announce that it has partnered with the TriState Angel Investor Group (TSAIG) to expand its syndicate of angel funds. TSAIG officially opened its fund to angel investments in January of 2015. The fund seeks early state, private equity companies for investment across a broad market of technology enabled companies.

Eric Dobson, CEO of ACG, elaborated on the partnership saying, “Angel Capital Group is rapidly becoming a national syndicate of angel funds. We believe this is the time for a national brand for angel investing.” Dobson added, “We provide the best of both worlds by curating local and regional deals and providing our investors with access to a proprietary national deal flow.” ACG has been investing in startup companies for ten years, has investment across a broad selection of markets. Dobson concluded, “We are seeking local deals from around the market to provide access to national capital and expertise. We expect to form and aggregate many more funds over the next five years to create a truly national, fully syndicated network of funds.”

Mick Fosson, General Manager of TSAIG added, “One of the challenges for regional angel investment groups, like our Tri State Angel Investment Group, is being able to access enough high quality dealflow to allow the group’s fund(s) to be sustainable. By partnering with the Angel Capital Group, a national dealflow pipeline becomes easily available. Investment in high quality deals provides more opportunities for increasing the size of the regional fund(s) that can then be utilized for more local investments. We view this as a true win-win partnership.”

About TriState Angel Investor Group

TriState Angel Investor Group is an early stage private equity fund located in Ashland, KY. It serves the Tri State area (Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia) investing in local and regional technology enabled companies. To apply for funding, please visit tristate.venture360.co or contact Mick Fosson, mick.fosson(at)kctcs(dot)edu.

About Angel Capital Group

Angel Capital Group is a fully syndicated “angel” capital private equity network with operations in nine states. ACG recently consolidated its operations with RAIN Source Capital. The combined entity enjoys a 10 year history and has invested approximately $44M in 131 companies across a variety of market sectors. The combined portfolios have created over 4500 jobs and $750M in follow-on capital investments by other funds. For additional information about Angel Capital Group and its investment criteria, visit online at http://www.theangelcapitalgroup.com, @angelcapitalgr, or http://www.facebook.com/angelcapitalgroup.

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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12551310.htm

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“Budget 2015 has a distinct focus on farmers, youth, poor, neo-middle class and the Aam Nagrik. It delivers on growth, equity and job creation,” PM Modi tweeted. …

Article source: http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/union-budget-2015-16-offer-154237148.html

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Many have the impression that most angel investing happens in Silicon Valley, Boston and New York. I’m here to tell you that angel investing is thriving in many other places across the country.  Case in point: angels in so called “flyover states” without a tradition of venture capital or cities with populations of 100,000.  These locations are creative angel epicenters that are doing special things to be successful.

Over the years, I’ve met many highly successful angels and entrepreneurs from places that may surprise you – Whitefish, MT, College Station, TX and Greenville, SC, among others.  These angels are having a great run, with financial returns to covet and the rewarding feeling of helping to create companies that are meaningful in their communities and states.

Are there challenges of investing in “underserved markets?” Sure.   These angels can rifle off a good list:

  • Deal flow is initially more difficult to find
  • More education of potential investors is needed
  • Follow-on Venture Capital is not available locally and/or companies often need to move to where VCs are
  • Lack of a support “ecosystem” of experienced startup mentors and programs that prepare entrepreneurs for equity investment and successful growth

 Leigh_1 | Dreamstime.com - Vector Map Of US Photo

© Leigh_1 | Dreamstime.com – Vector Map Of US Photo

Even with these challenges, the real story is about their success and what they’re doing to be so effective.  Take Matt Dunbar, Managing Director of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) in Greenville, SC.  UCAN has had multiple successful exits since it was created in 2008, investing about 80 percent of the network’s money in South Carolina-based startups.

Dunbar describes UCAN’s work as part education, part investing and part “market making.”  Since there hasn’t historically been a strong startup culture in the state, UCAN has worked with other emerging ecosystem partners to build an infrastructure for success.  “We needed to be a market maker, bringing investors together with entrepreneurs, increasing the viability and longevity of startups in our community and across the state,” he says.

This infrastructure includes considerable education so that angel investors have a basic understanding of good investing practices.  As UCAN attracted new angel investors, they leveraged best practices and networking from the Angel Capital Association and brought angel investor courses of the Angel Resource Institute to South Carolina, continuing their education in regular monthly member meetings.

The market making effort also involved working with state and local government leaders, universities and economic development professionals to develop effective resources and policies that support exciting entrepreneurs and innovation.  The effort has expanded over seven years, and has been helped by a growing national awareness that high-growth startups are important to the economy.  This recognition helped increase local resources and in part helped in the proliferation of business accelerators in South Carolina (as they have in many parts of the world).

Another important piece of the story is how the Internet has opened up markets and knowledge from other more advanced markets.  For example, angels can access blogs from knowledgeable venture capitalists and angels anywhere in the world to learn the finer points of investment strategy. Likewise, entrepreneurs have access to great “how-to” resources and data from Silicon Valley and the Kauffman Foundation.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mariannehudson/2015/02/27/the-emergence-of-small-town-angel-investing/

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Two industry powerhouses – America Online Co-Founder Steve Case and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – made a splash recently when they led a report,“Can Startups Save the American Dream?

I very much like this report from the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the ideas in it. However, they missed a significant piece of the answer. While the report focuses on how entrepreneurs can kick-start the economy, it overlooks what we need to do to support the angel investors who fuel the entrepreneurs creating our country’s jobs and innovations.

The contribution of angel investors is huge. Angels have backed some of the most important companies in America including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Starbucks. Angels supply nearly 90 percent of outside equity to startup companies, after friends and family.  In 2013 angels invested nearly $25 billion in about 71,000 companies in every state. Without angel investors, many of these companies would not be around.

 Bebcmj | Dreamstime.com - American Dream Home Photo

© Bebcmj | Dreamstime.com – American Dream Home Photo

The Miller Center report focuses on five ideas to support entrepreneurs to drive job growth in our country. It’s a great start. But imagine the impact possible if we expanded the original scope of thinking by adding angels to the equation. Here are five ways we can do just that:

  1. Unlock angel capital for high-growth startups: Develop federal and state tax policies that provide incentives to increase angel investments in startups. More than half of states offer tax credits to angels that invest in early-stage companies. In addition to reducing angels’ investment risk, these incentives raise awareness of the investment class, potentially encouraging more angel investors. At the federal level, Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) is a tax provision that allows investors to minimize or eliminate taxes on gains from successful exits in small businesses. QSBS has led to additional investing in the past, but it’s difficult for investors to plan on these benefits because they change frequently due to repeated Congress debates on tax issues. Implementing a consistent tax policy that promotes a healthy environment for early-stage investing would help.
  1. Ensure high-quality angel capital: Angel capital is important to entrepreneurs, however capital from educated angels is even more important. This ensures sound investment decisions and that entrepreneurs get the “intellectual capital” needed to succeed. High quality angel capital comes from angels that actively improve their craft. Whether an angel invests alone, as part of group or in online investment platforms and crowdfunding, all angels need access to resources, education and information to make smart investment decisions, understand the risks and incorporate best practices. The Angel Capital Association and Angel Resource Institute offer education through webinars, conferences, seminars, and have vast online resources including the popular Investor IQ.
  1. Further integrate angel investors into the entrepreneurial ecosystem: The University of Virginia report has some great recommendations for how community leaders can work with business leaders to create environments that support entrepreneurial growth. Angels can also help by plugging more deeply into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in their own communities. Many angels are former entrepreneurs who have done exactly what new startups are looking to do. They can work with accelerators and incubators, participate in meet-ups, serve as mentors, give presentations, and coach entrepreneurs. It’s also important for community and economic development leaders to talk to angels to learn more about their needs and understand what startups need to attract the right type of capital. Additionally, federal programs, such as Small Business Development Centers, would improve considerably if they were staffed with experts who understood equity capital and the type of support high-growth entrepreneurs need.
  1. Make entrepreneur education at universities more relevant: Many university courses and activities emphasize venture capital, with projects based on startups attracting VC money. However, research shows that angel capital is the more likely source of financing for startups. Entrepreneurs-to-be need education on the full variety of equity financing including friends and family, angels, VCs and more.  Some of this education could come from updating formal curricula, with additional education supplemented by real world angel investors serving as guest speakers, project advisors, and providing internships with angel groups and accelerators that work with angels.
  1. Expand on the paper’s terrific “Regulatory Roadmap”: The report’s roadmap would help entrepreneurs navigate the complex set of business regulations in our country so they could more easily find relevant rules. Among other things, it suggests that regulatory rules be written in understandable language.  Amen to that.  I recommend carrying forward these suggestions to ensure that federal and state securities regulations better support early-stage companies and accredited investors.  This means simplifying existing regulations and finishing rulemaking for the JOBS Act. Several confusing securities rules need clarifications so that all involved parties – investors and entrepreneurs – understand the rules.

As Case and Fiorina state, the future for America is bright if entrepreneurs can be further educated and empowered. It will be even brighter if we do the same for the angel investors who fuel the entrepreneurs that create the bulk of our country’s jobs and innovations.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mariannehudson/2015/01/29/dont-forget-angels-in-the-equation-for-saving-the-american-dream/

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By Mahima Kaul*

New digital age won’t be as much fun if we don’t talk about privacy. Privacy should not be limited to headline grabbing revelations about surveillance, Snowden and Sony; these conversations need to be mainstreamed to every citizen-consumer.

A few months ago, I was invited to sit on a jury looking at innovative uses of social media platforms and community-oriented apps. The awards criteria included originality, implementation, scalability and impact. The ideas ranged from community based apps that serve as a local Google to online campaigns asking netizens to share their experiences

about sensitive issues. While I returned feeling very hopeful about the positive potential of the internet, there was a nagging feeling that something was missing. The issue of privacy, so very central to the “high brow” conversations we have around the internet, had simply not been addressed in this initiative.

The central business model of the internet is data collection, and much rides on the successful analysis and use of that data. Its growing importance can be gauged from the fact that today “big data” is an industry in itself. It is no wonder that questions of privacy of the data that users are supplying (often inadvertently) are rising to the fore. Globally, the terms of service between consumer and developer are in the spotlight; often users have no idea the degree of personal information they are signing away with a simple click. Worse, is the lack of understanding about privacy concerns in the internet age – which part of your data legitimately belongs to these companies whose services you are using, and what are they attempting to claim ownership over? Will these companies share this data with the government? Are they going through your hard drive and contact list? Who will they sell your data to and will they anonymise it before selling it? Will you be informed of a data breach?

Flagging these concerns in India today can avoid a lot of complications later, and certainly lessons can be drawn from societies who have been through similar experiences. The myth of techno utopia has been around since the early 1990s, when there was hope in the US that new technology would bring universal wealth, enhanced freedom, revitalise politics, and satisfy community and personal fulfillment. Is this true of India today? Consider how the internet is sold to the average Indian – from the wonderful ways in which an internet search can add value to your life, or multiple safety solutions for women which ask them to blithely allow these apps to track their location and movements. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was not wrong when he told the audience at the World Economic Forum at Davos that the internet would simply disappear into the background as it will become so common – a recent report revealed that millions all over the world did not even realise they were using the “internet” when they were using Facebook!

“Code is law” – the idea which Lawrence Lessig fielded in 1999 – believes that it is the code of the software and hardware we use that will determine how much privacy, free speech, anonymity and individual control we are afforded. This certainly rings true today as well, especially in a country like India where we are still operating in the shadow of concepts like privacy, data security and certainly data collection. Unless the apps, platforms and websites being developed and disseminated in India are held to a higher standard – even as they win awards for popularity and sustainability – a billion Indians will find themselves at the short end of the stick due to the proliferation of the uncritical use of these technologies. Are start-up competitions, innovation and entrepreneur funding, and even technology journalists addressing this crucial issue? Are they helping to implement the privacy provisions to India’s Information Technology Act and rules? Look for yourself: Do any of the tech forums seem to betray this concern?

The internet is growing faster than we realise – the internet of people is giving way to the internet of things. Voice-controlled televisions that can “listen” to your information and share with third parties, and weighing scales which could sync your information with your phone, laptop and cloud through your home Wi-Fi network. Before we buy into the vision of a new digital age, one in which technology will save us, let the buyer beware. Is it completely unimaginable in India that our online identities could be linked to a digital “profile” culled from information gathered from digital wallets, websites, and social media chatter?

It’s time developers, funders and users alike start paying more attention to the privacy implications of the techno-utopia they are so eager to participate in.

*The writer is a Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi

Courtesy: www.dailyo.in/scitech/why-developers-and-users-need-to-pay-more-attention-to-privacy/story/1/2139.html

ORF was established on 5 September 1990 as a private, not for profit, ’think tank’ to influence public policy formulation. The Foundation brought together, for the first time, leading Indian economists and policymakers to present An Agenda for Economic Reforms in India. The idea was to help develop a consensus in favour of economic reforms.

Article source: http://www.eurasiareview.com/25022015-new-digital-age-and-importance-of-privacy-of-data-oped/

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Tauranga entrepreneur Julia Charity chats with angel investor John May. Photo / Supplied
Tauranga entrepreneur Julia Charity chats with angel investor John May. Photo / Supplied

Tauranga is a tier-one city for angel investing, says American early-stage capital pioneer John May.

“Tier one cities understand it’s something where you’re really helping the local economy, while you’re working on your own financings as an angel. And that you can’t do this without a group of entrepreneurs coming up with great ideas.”

Mr May, former chairman of the US Angel Capital Association, last visited New Zealand briefly five years ago, and this time will spend a month in the country.

During his visit to Tauranga, Mr May took part in a number of networking events with local entrepreneurs, investors and businesspeople. He also ran a workshop for members of host organisation Enterprise Angels, one of the most active early-stage investing groups in New Zealand.

“The three components of a vibrant angel group are investable deals, active angels not just dumb money, and charismatic leadership with people willing to volunteer their time to grow the local angel community,” he told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.

All of those elements were present in Tauranga, he said.

“We’re not just trying to make money off the entrepreneur, we’re trying to help them grow,” he said. “This is patient capital – it’s mentor capital.”

Mr May said New Zealand shared a history of entrepreneurial activity with countries such as Canada, Australia and the US.

“There’s an understanding you have to take risks to get rewards, there’s the important element of the rule of law, and a tax structure oriented towards protecting minority interests, which helps create a positive environment for small businesses trying to grow.”

Enterprises Angels executive director Bill Murphy said the experienced US investors the group had invited to Tauranga over the years brought expertise from a market that had been angel investing for two or three times as long as New Zealand.

“We’re still getting new angel investors coming on board all the time so the Angel Investing 101 workshop is incredibly useful for them,” said Mr Murphy.

“But the Enterprise Angels management team are now working on the nuances around effective investing and most especially the post-investment relationship with the start-up company. We need to learn how we can do everything we can to make sure they’re successful.”

Mr Murphy said most US angel groups were made up of cashed-up, wealthy retired businessmen with plenty of time to work with their investee companies.

“In New Zealand, nearly all of our angels are still working fulltime,” he said. “Enterprise Angels has to manage a lot of the process and use our angels in defined areas of their expertise because they don’t have a lot of time. And that creates some challenges in terms of how you resource that. Conversations with experienced angel investors like John are very valuable to us.”

Entrepreneurs focussed on how best they can help

John May also joined a panel – including local angel investors Daryl French, Beppie Holm and John MacDonald – for the Angels at My Table event last night, organised by the Venture Centre.

The event brought the angels before 50 local entrepreneurs, with panelists pitching their ability help get new companies off the ground.

Mr May said he had been impressed with the types of deals available in New Zealand.
“In terms of entrepreneurship and hi-tech, in the horticultural and agri-business and dairy sectors, you’re finding it easy to put knowledge and expertise together with resources, to be state-of-the-art and to find ways to grow even outside your region,” he said.

“The thing to do is to focus on the businesses where you have historic roots and look for ways to deal with the most scalable and innovative aspects of those industries,” he said.
Jo Allum, a co-founder of Venture Centre, said it had been great to have so many entrepreneurs with potentially good ideas getting to know some local angels.

“And some of the best advice from the angels was to tell entrepreneurs they shouldn’t just be looking for money,” she said. “You should also do your due diligence on the angel, find out how he is to work with and whether, as well as investing, he helps you along and is interested in developing your business.”

Darren Bruning of Tauranga-based startup financialme said: “I thought it was a really good idea and nice to get a bit of visibility into how these angel-types think.”

Mr May also visited the Newnham Park Horticultural Innovation Centre in Te Puna, which nine companies, including PlusGroup, Kiwifruitz, Southern Produce, Plus Group, Heilala Vanilla, and industrial design company Locus Research.

Plus Group managing director and Enterprise Angels board member Steve Saunders, who lives in Te Puna, later hosted Mr May to an informal dinner with a group of angel investors. The dinner was catered by MasterChef New Zealand 2014 winners, sisters Kasey and Karena Bird from Maketu, and was designed to give Mr May “a taste of Kiwiana,” said Mr Saunders.

“John’s very interested in cross-border investing and that’s one of the things he’s been looking at here,” he said. That could result in American and New Zealand angel investors interacting more on potential deals, he said.

“There is some potential for cross-border trading,” said Mr Saunders.

“I think being able to get those connections internationally is hugely valuable from a New Zealand perspective. Especially when you’re looking at a technology in New Zealand you think has real relevance to an international market.”

- Bay of Plenty Times

Article source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11407643

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K Street is duking it out for cyber supremacy. Reuters/Thomas Peter

Welcome to Main Street Morning, The Washington Post’s daily collection of news affecting entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses, with a special focus on policy and government.

Here’s what’s affecting my small business, my clients and other entrepreneurs today.

Washington

•  A shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security is drawing closer.

•  Obama is pushing back against a court ruling on his immigration orders.

•  Congress has a big decision to make on the Export-Import Bank.

•  D.C.’s lobby shops and law firms are scrambling for cyber supremacy

•  The SBA has announced a millennial entrepreneurs road show.

The Economy

•  A study says that financial security has hit an all-time high, but many people are still struggling with debt.

•  Economic growth in the Chicago region picked up slightly in January.

•  Gas prices are rising, and here’s why.

Management

•  A third-generation business owner in the auto industry shares some of the ups and downs he’s had over 50 years.

Taxes

•  New IRS regulations on tangible property could be disastrous for contractors.

Retail

•  These are 50 all-time great email subject lines for retailers to use.

•  An expert believes that restaurants have room to raise their prices.

Strategy

•  How a small business can stay relevant in a big-box world.

People

•  A business owner raises money for his brother with cancer.

Social Media

•  How letting your employees be on social media can help your business grow.

•  The founder of a social media Web site for professionals says Yelp is not a trusted authority for small businesses.

Cash Flow

•  Here are five surefire ways to get clients to pay on time.

Finance

•  Why the death of the export-import bank would devastate thousands of small businesses.

•  This small business is helping women get into the angel investing game.

Entrepreneurs

•  Meet an entrepreneur who is changing the funeral business.

•  These are the recently announced honorees of the Arts Entrepreneurship Awards.

Mobile

•  Google has inked a distribution deal with the biggest wireless carriers in the U.S. to get the Google Wallet payments app pre-installed on their phones.

Online

•  Apple introduces a new group of diverse emoji.

•  What you can learn from these six companies that are killing it on YouTube.

•  Twitter throws its weight behind the FCC’s net neutrality push. 

•  The race is on to build the “Snapchat for business.”

Technology

•  Avast launches the world’s first free business-grade security offering.

•  Why it’s not likely that we are heading for “peak code.”

Opportunities

•  Now may be the time to invest in real geothermal energy.

Start-up

•  These could be the nine most valuable start-ups in the world.

•  More than 250 founders from Harvard Business School classes between 2008 and 2014 have raised over $2.5 billion in capital to date for the 90+ companies they launched.

•  The University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute awards $129,500 to student start-ups in a business plan competition.

•  An entrepreneur explains why you shouldn’t be afraid to start a second company in an unrelated industry.

•  These are 10 essential start-up expenses (and 10 you should avoid).

Ideas

•  Finally, an app that lets you “play off” rambling coworkers like Oscar acceptance speeches do.

•  An interview with the entrepreneur that prompted three Shark Tank sharks to leave the set.

Around the Country

•  Some Connecticut taxpayers might receive income tax refunds a few weeks later than expected as state revenue officials verify that fraudulent returns are not being submitted.

•  A study finds that 70 percent of New York City businesses are optimistic about their 2015 opportunities.

•  The Mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania’s wants to eliminate from city job applications the question of whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime.

•  These are the best cities for black entrepreneurs.

•  Vermont’s raw milk producers say that state regulations are prohibitive.

Gene Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa., consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. Follow Gene Marks and On Small Business on Twitter. 

News we should know about? Email us here.

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2/23/15Follow @bromano


ACA EAG logo

The angel investing horror story goes something like this: An entrepreneur publicly solicits seed capital under new securities laws, but accidentally accepts investment from an unaccredited investor. When this violation of JOBS Act rules is discovered, the entire investment round must be rolled back and the money—if there’s any left—returned. It’s the ultimate lose-lose situation.

“Everything shuts down and everyone loses money,” says Yi-Jian Ngo, managing director of the Alliance of Angels, a long-tenured angel group in Seattle.

It almost doesn’t matter whether this has actually happened under new rules born of the 2012 JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which lifted the longtime ban on general solicitation of securities offerings by small companies, provided the companies verify that all investors are accredited. The fear that it could, along with continuing uncertainty, has caused some entrepreneurs and investors to avoid generally solicited deals altogether. (It had been illegal since 1933 to advertise a non-registered stock offering to the general public. Until the JOBS Act, small companies selling equity did so privately, through quiet offerings in which shares were sold only to accredited investors with whom the company had a pre-existing relationship.)

This caution can also be seen at startup accelerators such as Techstars, which have dialed-down the specific financial details presented on stage at their demo days and even explored new company presentation models to ensure they don’t accidentally generally solicit investment.

Now some angel investing groups are taking steps to clear away some of the ongoing JOBS Act confusion, and remove the costly burden from startup entrepreneurs of verifying that all of their investors are indeed accredited.

The Alliance of Angels is among about 15 groups to have the Established Angel Group Certification from the Angel Capital Association (ACA), a national nonprofit trade organization based in Overland Park, KS. The certification essentially provides a company seeking investment verification that all the investors in the angel group are accredited, meaning—for now, anyway—they have net worth in excess of $1 million or annual income of at least $200,000 (or $300,000 for married couples).

Other groups to receive the certification so far include Hub Angels Investment Group of Cambridge, MA; Launchpad Venture Group in Boston; the Bellingham Angel Investors in Bellingham, WA; and the Tech Coast Angels, with various locations in Southern California.

The ACA issues the certification to groups that are established with the purpose of early-stage investment; have a code of conduct; include processes to allow individual members to invest their own money or participate in the group’s investment decisions; regularly require members to self-certify that they are accredited and aware that angel investing is risky; and vet new members thoroughly.

While the Securities and Exchange Commission hasn’t made an official pronouncement on the certification, it is in keeping with guidance that SEC officials have intimated, says Marianne Hudson, executive director of the ACA. Keith Higgins, who heads the SEC’s corporate finance division, speaking for himself at an ACA event last year, “essentially endorsed” the certification, she says. In the speech, which is posted in its entirely online, Higgins described a “principles-based approach” in which companies issuing stock can look at “the particular facts and circumstances to determine the steps that would be reasonable to verify that someone is indeed an accredited investor,” and that reliable third-parties could undertake this verification.

Angel investing remains a relationship-based endeavor. New investors are frequently invited in by business and social acquaintances (though that too is starting to change with efforts such as Seattle Angel Conference and The Lion’s Den casting a wider net for would-be investors).

That social aspect is a big part of what makes the EAG Certification work, proponents say. “It’s very unusual to join [the Alliance of Angels] without any references, without any kind of background,” Ngo says. “So in most cases, when someone applies, chances are we would know someone who’s connected to that person and we would be able to tell fairly quickly whether or not this is really someone who’s accredited.”

The EAG Certification will also be a competitive differentiator, Ngo says, as angel groups jockey for deal flow in a marketplace where entrepreneurs—particularly the best of them—have more options for raising early capital, including crowdfunding platforms, startup competitions, and proliferating angel groups.

It’s worth stepping back for a moment to remember why lifting the ban on general solicitation—in place for more than eight decades—was significant in the first place, and how we ended up with Rule 506(c) of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933. There was … Next Page »

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

Article source: http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2015/02/23/angel-groups-seek-to-assure-entrepreneurs-they-are-accredited/

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Here’s a statistic that Angela Lee would like people to know: In 2012, only 13 percent of angel investors were women. 

Lee, an assistant dean at Columbia Business School, had been involved in angel investing for about five years when she decided to do something about that. So, that same year, she launched 37Angels, a company designed to help women get more involved in funding startups and other entrepreneurs.

“I was interested in investing alongside women, but I wanted to invest in both female- and male-led companies,” said Lee. “What we’re doing is building a network and providing education for women who want to get more involved.”

Her goal? To close the gap so women account for 50 percent of angel investors. By bringing more women into the field, Lee’s hope is that more of the money flowing to startups will go to female entrepreneurs.

Lee started 37Angels by herself, which meant she had to do everything from build the website to create the marketing strategy to make photocopies and order the food for events.

“It was a pretty typical startup beginning,” Lee said. “But, it was fun. When you’re physically building the company from the ground up, it can be really exciting.”

Four months later, she hired her first employee — an investment associate who could help Lee research between 2,000 to 2,500 companies to see which might turn out to be high-potential investment opportunities. Today, 37Angels has 10 employees and dozens of mentors in a network that’s diverse both in terms of geography and industries represented.

To help women jump into angel investing, 37Angels offers a small-group, intensive bootcamp that offers training in how to select and value early-stage startups. And, the company holds pitch forums five times a year to connect these investors with fledgling entrepreneurs who show promise.

Going forward, Lee hopes to expand 37Angels from a company focused on business-to-business transactions into one that also has a business-to-consumer component. To that end, she’s working with large firms to develop a program that will help them retain their senior female executives.

“There has been tremendous interest from corporations to train their female leaders,” Lee said, though exactly what that course would look like is still up in the air. “We hope to create a program that helps them do just that.”

As Lee points out, there are several ways to define success for her company. Today, roughly 18 percent of angel investors are women, though Lee is quick to share the credit for that increase with other organizations. But perhaps, more important than the numbers, is the sense of community that 37Angels has fostered.

“We’re one of the brands you think of when you think of women investors,” she said. “People are talking about this issue now and doing something about it. We’re part of a bigger movement.” 

Article source: http://theweek.com/articles/540447/small-business-helping-women-into-angel-investing-game

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