“Building An Alumni Angel Group”,  addresses everything from best practices in leveraging university ecosystems to deal structuring. This 60-minute panel session features 4 leaders of top university angel groups: Harvard Business School Alumni Angels, Princeton Alumni Angels, IU Angel Network, and Baylor Angel Network. The panel is moderated by Assure CEO Jeremy Neilson. Watch the video of this panel below:

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT BUILDING AN ALUMNI ANGEL GROUP

This opportunity to learn from and connect with leaders in the alumni angel space included a Q&A with our panelists where the following questions were answered:

Do any of the Alumni Networks use a platform to manage/track deals, investors and startups?

Gust and Proseeder are Angel group software programs to assist with the sharing of deal flow and due diligence. Other options are the traditional options of email and Google spreadsheets. When it comes to platforms for SPVs and Syndicates, most use Glassboard (Assure’s technology platform).

What membership fees do these groups charge?

IU and Baylor both charge $1500 per year. Some groups charge more and some groups don’t charge any membership fees. The purpose of fees is to increase group engagement and participation more than revenue.

How big are the management teams and how are they funded, or do the members do the work on a volunteer basis as in many Angel groups?

Every angel group has its own personality, structure and process but the key to a strong and successful group is either full-time team members like IU and Baylor or dedicated volunteers like with Princeton and Harvard. The group size and volume of deals will oftentimes dictate the size of the teams but one highly dedicated individual can build a very successful angel group.

What guidance/resources can you point us to if we wanted to start our own Alumni Angel Group?

Panelists and Alumni Groups on Linkedin:

Angel Capital Association (ACA): https://www.angelcapitalassociation.org/

Assure: Assure SPVs

Did the angel groups set up restrictions around "accredited investor"? If so, what mechanics are in place to check the eligibility of the investors?

It is recommended that only accredited investors be allowed to invest in private assets like startups. If an angel group encourages its members to invest directly into the startup, the startup will likely reject any investor that is not an accredited investor. Non-accredited investors have what Assure’s CEO calls “super rights” and if the company wants to raise additional funds in the future from institutional investors then these non-accredited investors will be forced off the cap table. If an angel group uses SPV’s, the non-accredited issues still exist and groups like Assure will not allow the non-accredited investors to participate because of their “super rights” granted to them by the SEC and other regulatory agencies.

There are two types of fund raises that are available to angel groups - 506(b) raise and a 506(c) raise. If an angel group selects a 506(b) raise then each investor “self accreditation” by checking a box and signing a document. The angel group, unless it knows otherwise, can rely on the investor’s statement that they are accredited. If the angel group selects a 506(c) raise then each investor must be verified, through a verification process, that they are accredited. Assure provides this verification service for its clients and it requires the sharing of documentation for review. Most investors do not like to share their personal information and would prefer self accreditation.

Do each of your groups always operate/ have pitch days on your own or do you sometimes partner with other alumni angel groups?

Most groups have their own process and pitch days but some supplement their own deal flow with other groups. Usually, an angel group receives more deal flow than they have time to evaluate and present to their members.

Is the "Jobs Act" changing the accreditation barrier? Any thoughts current legislative efforts opening a broader segment of Alumni?

If the proposed changes to the definition of “accreditation” are finalized then this would open up a larger number of alumni that could participate in the group investments. Everyone that managing angel groups or other syndications are eagerly awaiting for the final word on these changes.

PANEL MODERATOR

 

 
Jeremy-portrait
Jeremy Neilson
MODERATOR
Jeremy Neilson, an Inc. 5000 entrepreneur, is a founder and a co-CEO of Assure. Prior to Assure, Mr. Neilson launched and managed Utah’s $300M private equity program, the Utah Fund of Funds, which invested in 28 funds and across most of the private equity spectrum. Before the Utah Fund of Funds, Jeremy was an associate with the University Venture Fund where he spent time working closely with local and national venture capitalists on company due diligence. Jeremy has served as a venture capital fund advisory board member and investment committee member for various foundations.
 
Jeremy hosts a podcast “The Assure Podcast with Jeremy Neilson” and does weekly video interviews with leaders in venture capital in a series called “What’s Going on in Venture”. Watch it here.
 
 
 

PANEL GUESTS

PANEL DISCUSSION: BUILDING AN ALUMNI ANGEL GROUP

A discussion on everything from best practices in leveraging university ecosystems to deal structuring.

 

Barry Goldman
Barry Goldman
HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL ALUMNI ANGELS OF GREATER NEW YORK
Barry Goldman spent just under 30 years at Goldman, Sachs & Co ("GS&Co"). He ran the New Products group for most of his career, and reviewed all new business proposals on a global basis to ensure operational readiness prior to go-live. After the firm went public, Barry also led the controls reviews of due diligence for proprietary acquisitions made by the firm.
 
Before moving to Wall Street, Barry was a management consultant with Touche, Ross & Co (now Deloitte), where he supported small to large companies and government agencies in a variety of industries and functions.Upon retiring from GS&Co., Barry joined with the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York (HBSAANY), and became both a board member and Sports Sector Lead. He is an active angel investor, frequently leads due diligence teams, and assists in the selection of companies to be invited to pitch to HBSAANY.
 
About Harvard Business School Alumni Angels Association:
The Harvard Business School Alumni Angels Association (HBSAA) is an educational and networking forum for Harvard Business School and other Harvard Alumni who are interested in researching and investing in early stage companies on an individual basis. Our members have extensive experience across industries and like to help strong entrepreneurs succeed. Many have been successful entrepreneurs themselves. There are eight chapters in the United States, and six chapters in other countries. There are over 1,000 members globally, and over 300 companies have collectively received investments from members in excess of $70 million. No affiliation with Harvard is required to pitch.
 
 
rob wolk_paa
Robert Wolk
PRINCETON ALUMNI ANGELS
Rob currently manages private investments, with a focus on international and emerging market equities. Rob serves as US Board Chair of Amref Health Africa, the largest health development NGO in Africa, and is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of Volunteers of America-Greater NY, Breakthrough NY, the New York Cardiac Center and the Michael Wolk Heart Foundation.
 
Rob is a member of the Alumni Council Executive Committee at Princeton University and serves as the President of the Princeton Association of New York City and as Founder and Co-Chair of the Princeton Alumni Angels of Greater NY.
  
About Princeton Alumni Angels:
Princeton Alumni Angels (PAA) is an angel network for alumni to come together to help foster the Princeton entrepreneurship ecosystem. PAA is committed to finding great investment opportunities and supporting exciting startups.
 
 
Jason Whitney
Jason Whitney
IU Angel NETWORK
Jason Whitney serves as Associate Vice President for IU Ventures as well as the Executive Director of the IU Angel Network.
 
Whitney's responsibilities include leveraging new and existing partnerships to fully benefit IU entrepreneurs, identifying and supporting high-potential, university- affiliated startups, and the curation of a national alumni network centered around entrepreneurship, venture, and innovation.
 
Prior to these appointments, Whitney served as Vice President for Launch Indiana at Launch Fishers where he was responsible for the development and execution of the statewide innovation-driven entrepreneurial capacity building.
 
About IU Angel Network:
The IU Angel Network facilitates connections between startup companies and prospective investors among Indiana University’s global community of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, to further Indiana University’s mission of fostering a pervasive entrepreneurial culture that contributes to the prosperity of the State of Indiana, the nation and the world.
 
 
steven diedrich
Steven Diedrich
BAYLOR ANGEL NETWORK
Steven Diedrich serves as the executive director for the Baylor Angel Network. In this position, Diedrich directs the operations of the network, including the investment strategy, stakeholder engagement and operational oversight for BAN’s student analysts. He also has the privilege of teaching finance courses at Baylor.
 
Diedrich has prior experience in investments, operations and consulting at entrepreneurial ventures and large companies. Diedrich previously worked at Stanmore Partners, a real estate development and investment firm, and Accenture, where he primarily served financial clients.
 
About BAYLOR Angel Network:
The Baylor Angel Network (BAN) is an investment network that provides early-stage capital to entrepreneurial companies. As an active investment network, BAN provides a collaborative platform for experiential learning by students of Baylor University, creating a mutually beneficial experience for investors, students and entrepreneurs.

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