Beyond the Pitch

Well-earned Recognition to Marianne Hudson, a Trailblazer in Organized Angel Investing

Marianne Hudson

There are trailblazers in every industry—the people who recognize what needs to be done, set forth a plan, and then organize a team that can carry it out.

In the world of angel investing, Marianne Hudson, executive director of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), is one of those trailblazers. Marianne was recently honored with the prestigious Hans Severiens Award, the annual national award recognizing one individual’s work in advancing the field of angel investing.

It’s been my privilege to work with Marianne in various capacities over the last twenty plus years, from the early 2000s, when I was an advisor in entrepreneurship to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (EMKF) and Marianne was Kauffman’s director of entrepreneurship working on what would become the Angel Capital Association.

Seeing Marianne honored by the industry she helped create, caused me to think back about how far angel investing has come since the .com bubble burst.

There have always been individual angel investors (although the term “angel” wasn’t as ubiquitous then as now), but the Kauffman Foundation recognized the opportunity for greater leverage, and Marianne led the charge for greater collaboration through organized angel groups.

A group of us from across the country, brought together by Marianne, shared the vision, and we came together as founding members of the ACA. It was my honor to continue to serve on the ACA board for several years and to chair back-to-back ACA Summits in New York City and Chicago.

Today, the ACA, which spun into its own independent non-profit in 2007, represents more than 14,000 angels in 260+ angel groups, accredited platforms, and family offices. There are more than 20,000 entrepreneurial companies in ACA member portfolios. Further, Marianne applied her expertise to assist angel groups in Canada, UK, and beyond to expand the ACA model of angel investing internationally.

In addition to this remarkable growth, two of Marianne’s most significant accomplishments include helping thousands of women become angel investors (increasing the percentage from 5 percent to 23 percent in 15 years) and her work in getting language in the Dodd-Frank Act changed so that most angels could continuing startup investing.

With sincere respect and appreciation, I add my voice to those angels and entrepreneurs across North America and beyond to say, thanks to Marianne, for your persistence, professionalism, and accomplishments.

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