Startup Exemption

The New Crowdfunding Law: What Does it Mean?

March 24, 2012 · Leave a Comment

March 23, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  3 Entrepreneurs, 579 days, 1 Crowdfunding Law

Now, What Does it All Mean?

(Washington, DC) – The Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act (JOBS Act), H.R. 3606, passed the U.S. Senate on March 22, with overwhelming support (73-26). So what will the impact be, particularly as it relates to the CrowdFund Investing measure, for America’s entrepreneurs and small businesses?  According to the three entrepreneurs who developed the crowdfunding framework, which was the basis for the legislation, it means a new source of funding, more jobs and a greater chance of success for small businesses.

The U.S. House passed the Jobs Act on March 8 (390-23), and the U.S. Senate amended the legislation before its passage on March 22.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said he plans to schedule a vote on the amended package early next week. This means the legislation could be signed by President Barack Obama next week, if the House passes the Senate amended bill (which it is expected to do).   

More small businesses will get funded

“With the passage of this legislation, entrepreneurs will be able to post their businesses on SEC-registered CrowdFund Investing (CFI) websites and the community will step in to fund only those ideas they have fully evaluated and made an informed decision about,” says Jason Best co-author of the CrowdFund Investing Legislation that passed both chambers.   Entrepreneurs will use Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools to reach out to their customers and say, “If you like our business so much, why not become an investor?”

Investors (who must first take a short quiz to make sure they understand that investing in a business is a highly risky endeavor with no guarantees) will pick apart the entrepreneur, the idea, the business model and the investment opportunity in an open manner with other members of the community.  Until 100% of a funding target is met, no money will be transferred, but once it is, an entrepreneur will have not only cash, but also a loyal customer/investor base.

With the collapse of the markets in 2008, the traditional means of financing for startups and small businesses – credit cards, home equity lines, bank loans and venture capital – disappeared.  Interest rates increased, home equity lines disappeared, and banks stopped lending to Main Street.  Venture capital shifted to larger, more secure deals.  A funding void ensued ($0 to $250,000 in financing) that no one has yet filled.  According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), this is the most critical seed and early-stage growth capital necessary for success and the number one reason why startups fail in the first five years. 

More startups and successful businesses means more jobs

More jobs will be created once startups and entrepreneurs have access to capital. According to the Kauffman Foundation, the majority of new jobs in the U.S. over the past 30 years have come from small businesses that are less than five years old.  Sherwood Neiss who co-authored the crowdfunding framework with Best observed: “We are entrepreneurs who prior to the 2008 financial collapse were able to access capital to launch Inc500 businesses that created over 150 direct and countless more indirect jobs.”

According to Neiss, “cash is king” and following the 2008 collapse it became exceedingly scarce.  “We were left trying to figure out how to launch new businesses and create jobs without access to capital. So we merged the principles of seed financing and crowdfunding together to develop a framework.”

The framework will allow friends and family to invest up to $1 million into an entrepreneurial enterprise, but individual investments are capped below $10,000.  The capital will either go directly into hiring people or into the purchase of products or services. 

More successful enterprises, and a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem

The crowdfunding platforms will lead to more community investing and more successful local businesses because people will have a vested interest in the success of these entrepreneurs.

“Five years from now we are going to look back on the impact CrowdFund Investing has had on the world,” remarks Zak Cassady-Dorion Co-Founder of Startup Exemption. “We are going to see more vibrant communities where the residents aren’t just consumers but are also owners helping to drive the success of their local entrepreneurs and communities.” 

And why is this important?  “Because a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem depends on access to capital.  Freeing up new sources of capital – as the JOBS Act will do through crowdfund investing – will strengthen our nation’s small business sector, and add to their job creating capacity. Being accountable to community investors will enhance success,” says Karen Kerrigan, president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council).

As for investor protection, says Neiss, “Under the CrowdFund Investing model, we believe it is going to be easier to expose fraud with social networking and the real-time Web.  At the community level the people investing will be investing in people and businesses they know or have carefully evaluated.  With the transparency of the social Web, fraud can be exposed before it can take place.  We have seen this work on donation-based sites to great effect.”  

About  STARTUP EXEMPTION: 

Startup Exemption is the name Sherwood Neiss, Jason Best and Zak Cassady-Dorion created to describe their CrowdFund Investing (CFI) framework.  The framework is an exemption under Regulation D Securities Offerings that would allow startups and small businesses to raise a limited amount of seed and growth capital from their social networks using SEC-registered websites.  Their framework was the basis for the three Crowdfunding bills considered by Congress and was endorsed by the President.  It passed the US House in November, 2011, 407-17 and the US Senate on March 22, 2012 as part of the JOBS Act 73-26. The path from idea to law in 579 days can be found at: http://www.startupexemption.com/.

Contact Information:

Sherwood Neiss                                       Jason Best

(202) 247-7182                                 (415) 999-2271

Available  7am to 7pm M-F (ET)           Available  7am to 7pm M-F (PT)

sherwood@startupexemption.com   Jason@startupexemption.com

Other Links:

About The Small Business & Entrepreneurship CouncilSBE Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit: http://www.sbecouncil.org/.

Contact Information:  Karen Kerrigan, (703) 242-5840, kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org

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