2020 ACA Summit Agenda Topics

The Summit of Angel Success

Below is the preliminary agenda - note that sessions may be updated.

Understanding RBF/Structured Exit deals

What is a Royalty Based or Structured Exit deal and what are the pioneers learning so far?  Should you be including these deals in your portfolio? Pros & Cons, tips and tricks.

Driving Portfolio Company Exits

Wake up!  Hope is not a strategy.  Seeing an exits slide in a pitch is not the same as having an actual exit strategy.  There are four key things every CEO should be doing and it is up to the board to make them do it.  (Getting the CEO out there, talking about your MAD regularly, knowing what value you are creating, training your directors to get the board to discuss it and keep the CEO under pressure).

Assessing Co-Founder Relationships as part of Advanced Due Diligence

How do you spot signs that a relationship won’t work and what are the signs that it might?

How to Avoid Getting Crammed Down

Avoiding the financing mistakes and execution mistakes that lead to angel cram-downs.  

(e.g. high post-money, insufficient round size, unclear on value being created, optimistic operational assumptions, failure to monitor and achieve key value creation KPIs.)

Portfolio Construction

Comparing and contrasting three different portfolio building personas: (1) The newbie looking for maximum diversification, (2) the small angel with a fixed budget (3) the experienced pro taking a high concentration/high commitment strategy of going big on a relatively small number of deals. What can you learn from these approaches and how could you reduce your risk as an investor by fixing your diversification blindspots?

Cross Border Deals - Keys For Success

A debate between a cross-border bear and a cross border bull.  When are these deals worth the trouble? What are the issues to look out for and what are the situations which are going to lead to the most interesting opportunities?  What are the legal and financial risks with these deals. Ending with three reasons to look at them and three gotchas to look out for.

Can we find ways to get returns from zombies?

Are there best practices for up-front negotiating dividend or repurchase or forced sale triggers where A) cashflow is present; B) growth is slower; C) CEO seems content to putter along; D) no end is in sight??  Are there clauses we can bake in from day one? (Should angels revisit redemption rights clauses?) Five stories of deals where angels got money out of zombies.

How to Use Federal Tax Credits and Deductions to Maximize your Angel Returns

Understand how you ensure that your angel investment meets the “Qualified Small Business” IRS rules to allow you to use Section 1202 capital gains tax exclusions, how to “write off” a bad investment using IRS Section 1244 loss provisions, how to maximize use of the new “opportunity zones” investment rules, how to ensure your start-up maximizes use of the R&D tax credits, and other hidden gems in the tax code that can help you prosper as an angel investor.

Partnering with Economic Development Agencies to Up the Angel Game

Learn from leading Federal, state and local development agencies how they partner with angel groups and individuals to encourage the creation of start-up companies in their region, support incubators and accelerators, offer matching grants, co-invest, and drive an enhanced innovation ecosystem applicable to your community.

What have we done for You Lately in Washington, DC

Get the latest updates on what policy makers on Capitol Hill, the White House, and the regulatory agencies are doing to help and hinder angel investments in start-up companies.  This discussion will include recent actions on the Accredited Investor Definition, what is being done to exempt “Demo Days” from onerous rules, how we can improve existing Federal tax credits to help start-ups, lifting the cap on angel funds, harmonizing private securities offerings, and addressing the impact of foreign investments in your start-up companies.  

The Changing Face of Angels

As the growth of the Hispanic and African American population increases, and the number of accredited investors of color grows, new angel networks are emerging.  Responding to the needs and investment appetites of the next generation angel will be critical for maintaining access to early stage funding.  Local communities must collaborate to identify, engage, and sustain a network of new angels, and find ways to support emerging networks.  

The Role of Angels in a Slowing U.S. Innovation Ecosystem

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, it was noted that despite increased investment in scientific research from 1970-2010, innovation productivity has steadily decelerated.  The interactions of government, industry, and academia (“the triple helix”) has led to a focus on life science and ICT as the drivers of innovation along with early stage investing.  Angels will be critical to the future growth of innovation, and can serve as catalysts for change in the triple helix to enable other sectors to thrive.   

Are Mega Networks the way of the Future? 


Over the years, sector and demographics-focused angel groups and funds have risen to capitalize on national deal flow and enable easier syndication across networks. For smaller angel groups, especially across rural communities, the formation of similar networks, or mega networks, may serve as a necessary approach for the survival of middle America angel groups.  

Exploring the Universe of Angel Group Models

Starting a new angel group or transitioning an existing one? This session will identify, compare and contrast various models of angel groups in practice today.

Married but not Engaged: Strategies for Keeping your Members Informed, Involved and Committed for the Long Term

Attracting, onboarding and retaining engaged and educated members who write checks!

VenmoMeNot! Keeping Pace with Emerging Software and Tools

A discussion of systems and software in use by angel groups today; everything from payment systems to member management to portfolio tracking. A brief overview of systems in use and group discussion of their experience with each.

All the Things: Unconference for Group Leaders

Crowd-selected topics for deeper discussion on all things related to group management.

Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Early Stage Investing

Some stats on % of $ from angels and VC going to female founders and founders of color, % of angels and VC that are female and POC. Many ACA members and Early stage investors are working hard to change these statistics. Join us to see how you can help move the numbers

Investing in a Sustainable Planet

All investing has an impact, but is it positive or negative. How do we maximize the positive impact of impact investing? With the current climate crisis, how can we best leverage our investment dollars to create a more sustainable world? Join us for an interactive dialogue about investing in a sustainable planet.

Innovations in Impact Investing

Alternative Stuctures (RBI, Flex Equity), Alternative Capital (PRI, DAF), and Alternative Investing (Zebras, Gacelas)---There is a lot of innovation going on in early stage investing, which is being led by impact investors. Come learn and contribute!

International Impact Investing

Let's share best practices for investing across borders. If you are interested in building an international portfolio, JOIN US.