While there are vaccines on the horizon and a potential further stimulus package, possibly in time for the holiday season, we still have a ways to go until economic recovery. Startups will be key to that recovery. 
 

Which Startups Will Succeed?

Have you ever wondered if your app idea was worth pursuing, if a startup was worth working for, or if your buddy’s startup was worth investing in? Of course you have. While enterprise SaaS startups have reliable benchmarks to compare against, early-stage consumer app startups are harder to evaluate. 

This is a problem for these startups, because it affects their ability to raise money. It’s also a problem for Midwest investors, who miss out on huge successes like Groupon and Grubhub.

Here’s how to evaluate them.
 

MN Entrepreneur Gift Guide


As of 2010 census data, roughly 49% of the private sector worked for a small business, and 2 out of 3 new jobs were created by a small business. If you didn’t find all of your gifts on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday, check out our 2020 Minnesota Entrepreneur Gift Buying Guide and buy from a small business.

Local small businesses have great, innovative products. Buying from them this holiday season also supports local jobs and growth. 

It includes ideas for a variety of products from local companies from camel milk skincare products to Boozy Jerky, and from Askov Finlayson’s Climate Positive Parka to the James Beard-winning  “Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” (in case you’re still celebrating Native American Heritage Month).

Local Early-Stage Startup News


LaunchMN celebrated it’s one-year anniversary, and released a First-Year Progress Report

Our latest Lean Startup School (with Red Wing Ignite, ILT Studios, and LaunchMN) pitch night ended with 2 winners: 

gBETAGreaterMN St. Cloud Director Precious Drew was just named to Minne Inno’s 2020 Under 25! (Boozy Jerky mentioned above is an alumnus!)
 

Startup Investment Incentive

If you’re thinking of investing but need some incentive, here is how investors (including investors in VC funds and angel investors) can get a 100% exclusion on their gains from those startup investments

Events

Here is a mix of upcoming events, for investors, founders, and/or ecosystem supporters. All events listed are virtual.

Portfolio News


USA Softball Announces Partnership Agreement with TeamGenius. TeamGenius has a new partnership to serve as the athlete evaluation system for USA Softball. 

Inno on Fire: The 30 companies and people shaping Wisconsin’s tech sceneAllergy Amulet was named to the list of impactful tech startups.

2ndKitchen Releases New 2021 Multifamily Amenities Guide2ndKitchen has a new report out with research and survey data on the importance of amenities in Multifamily properties.

 

Job Board

Great North Labs is hiring VC Analyst interns for summer of 2021. The application closes this week!

Dispatch is hiring a Territory Sales Manager, Business Development Representative, and Ruby Developer for Remote work. 

FactoryFix is hiring a Team Lead – Full Stack Developer, Full Stack Developer, and Infrastructure Developer- DevOps in Madison, WI; and a Sales Development Representative in Chicago, IL, Indianapolis, IN, or Madison, WI.

PrintWithMe is hiring a Regional Sales Directors for East Coast, South Central, and South East regions; Director, Demand GenerationOperations Lead, and MBA Strategy Intern in Chicago, IL.

Parallax is hiring an Experienced Product Designer in Edina, MN. 

Branch is hiring a Senior Software Engineer and Android Engineer for remote work, and an Account Executive, Mid-Market, and Channel Sales Manager in Minneapolis, MN.

Inhabitr is hiring a Chief Growth Officer/Head of B2C Growth, and a Sales and Customer Experience Associate in Chicago, IL.

Clinician Nexus is hiring a Customer Success Manager in Minneapolis, MN. 

NoiseAware is hiring a VP of Marketing, a QA Technician (independent contractor), Account Manager, and a Customer Advocate in Dallas, TX.

PartySlate is hiring a Senior Growth Marketing Manager in Chicago, IL.

Section 1202, or “The Small Business Stock Gains Exclusion”, provides a 100% tax exclusion for Qualified Small Business Stock. If you invest in early-stage companies and aren’t familiar with Section 1202, check in with your tax advisor. Being able to exclude 100% of the gain on a stock sale for cash is virtually unmatched anywhere in the tax code.

Section 1202 was originally part of the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993, which aimed to provide relief for investors risking their funds in new ventures and small businesses. It now allows for 100% exclusion of the gains on Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS), capped at the greater of $10M or 10x the investor’s basis.

What Investments Qualify?

Early-stage startup investments can qualify for the exclusion if they:

Most early-stage tech companies are considered qualified businesses under Section 1202,” according to CliftonLarsonAllen’s Patrick Smith, “but several types of businesses are not.”

According to Smith, excluded business types include:

What Is Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS)?

Section 1202 (PDF) defines “QSBS”:

It is stock in a domestic C-Corporation issued after the date of enactment of the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993 (August 10, 1993). It must be acquired by the individual taxpayer (or a pass-through entity, but not a corporation) at the original date of issue (not in a secondary offering) in exchange for money, property (excluding stock), or as compensation for services. 

The business must:

Utilizing the Exclusion

When making investments, investors may want to consider investment groups or funds that have a process to take advantage of the 1202 exclusion.

QSBS is a very powerful tax benefit that incentivizes private investment into startups,” said Mike Schulte, senior analyst at Great North Labs, “However, there are potential mishaps in structuring and documenting a transaction that can inadvertently ruin compliance. Convertible instruments, entity selection/conversion, and financial reporting are just some of the issues to understand and watch out for. It is important for issuers, investors, and each of their service providers to cooperate to ensure 1202 compliance.”

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NOTE: This article is not intended to provide tax advice. Consult your tax accountant or tax attorney.

This post is a distillation of a longer post I published in the Angel Capital Association’s “Angel Insights Blog” here.

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