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Dec022009

Microfinance for entrepreneurs with Angels in Action

A friend points me to Angels in Action, an "ecosystem" and community for entrepreneurs and amateur investors. The idea seems simple enough: investors buy in at a minimum of $1/month and that money gets circulated to entrepreneurs who are part of the community. There is also an Angel Academy where investors get to network and resources for entrepreneurs to connect to funders, artists, and fellow nascent businessmen.
The concept is one that I like: a microfinance community for entrepreneurs and a mechanism for amateur investors to share in a new idea's success. Unfortunately, the promise of the site goes downhill fast. It begins here with AiA's "Social Compact":

  1. Angels in Action is a social network of individuals with one common purpose: the long-term benefit of humanity and the planet.
  2. Angels in Action is an inclusive community of people who seek to extend generosity and create sustainability.
  3. Angels in Action reserves the right to restrict access to our network of affiliates, service groups, financing resources, and sources.
  4. Angels in Action restricts access to pornographers, social and financial predators, gambling and gaming institutions, and any organization or person that seeks to bring injury or harm to others or the network as a whole.
  5. Angels in Action's mission is to gather resources from a broad pool of Patron and Sponsor groups, and to lend to Angel Recipient Entrepreneurs.
  6. Angels in Action forwards over 60% of the net proceeds within our system to Entrepreneurs.
  7. Angels in Action establishes contracts and distribution agreements with like-minded companies and individuals to market, sell, and distribute their product sets via our social network.
  8. Angels in Action is the micro-finance division of Angel Acquisition Corp, a Nevada Corporation that is fully licensed to do business in the state of California. Angel AC is a publicly traded company, trading under the symbol: AGEL.OB
  9. Angels in Action accounts for and reports on all of its financial transactions on a quarterly and annual basis.
  10. Angels in Action is based upon the simple premise of ONE TO MANY, MANY TO ONE.
  11. Angel AC has retained the services of Randall Gruber & Associates, PCAOB as its external, independent audit firm.
  12. Angel AC has retained the firm of Paulina Lippets as its general counsel.
  13. For full terms & conditions, refer to our "Use Doctrine" that can be found on our web site.

Leaving aside the grand pronouncement of #1, I am most troubled by #6: for a microfinance community, why are only 60% of the funds going to entrepreneurs? Why isn't the number 100%? The site is not all transparent in explaining how your money gets distributed or what the repayment plan is. And a 40% overhead cost seems unacceptable.

Digging through the site deeper, things get more strange. The "Angel Academy" section for the angels is merely a series of bizarre videos on "secrets of the self-made millionaire" by Brian Tracy, a self-help author/guru/motivational speaker. Then the "AiA Store" section only sells books of the Through Gates of Fire series, here described on Amazon:

Dr. Flash Bastion is the cutting edge of Christianity. He is the poster-child of Christian success. Dr. Bastion is the senior pastor of the largest evangelical church in the world. The Harmony Heights Community Church is the epicenter of the Christian Faith. Dr. Bastion leads his congregation for twenty years. His congregation goes from "glory to glory," until . . .Through Gates of Fire: Wingless Flight is a story of paradise found, paradise lived, and paradise lost. Volume I: Wingless Flight introduces the character who imprints grace upon others. Have you ever wondered what happens when those who dispense grace become emptied of their giving energies? In Through Gates of Fire: Wingless Flight, author Steve Bonenberger leads the reader through the journey of faith found and faith misplaced and faith restored.

This all makes me question whether the company is even for real. Yet they proclaim Microsoft is their sponsor, and they are tweeting. Seems like the door is wide open for someone else to execute this idea much better.

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Reader Comments (5)

I was just thinking about how useful a peer to peer angel investing service could be. I just started researching the area. Have you found anyone who executes better than Angels in Action?

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Dan,
Alas, no! That's why I was so happy to find Angels in Action. I know of a start-up investment site that is in stealth, not sure when (if) they'll launch. You can lend to small businesses on Lending Club (but not share in the upside). The "qualified investor" legal restrictions are the biggest impediment I think to fully developing the field.

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

I think Angels in Action is one of the best social network which is individuals with one common purpose and I am really very impressed with all the activities of this organization.
Regards: action games

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfay

Hi. I am an officer of the company at Angel AC / Angels In Action. I found it very valuable to read this, and receive your feedback. We have been in the building-block stages for some time now, and we are re-launching in the next couple of weeks.

We will take all of your input into consideration. Our intention is to clarify and simplify the purpose and mission of the company, and serve American entrepreneurs in need of financing.

We'll also be launching our "Halo Effect" program.

When we have re-launched, I'll share the new and improved site and site content. I look forward to communicating with you.

In gratitude,
- Team Angel

February 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTeam Angel

Good one..
I am really glad to get this update that Angels in Action is the micro-finance division of Angel Acquisition Corp, a Nevada Corporation that is fully licensed to do business in the state of California.
Regards: Tower defense games

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersuzanne
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