Startup Exemption

Entries tagged as ‘crowd funding’

Crowdfund Investing: 13 Lessons from the Guys Who Brought Crowdfunding to Washington

December 20, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Image from crowdsourcing.org

This article was originally published on crowdsourcing.org.

A year ago, Jason Best, Zak Cassady-Dorion and I were deep in the trenches either trying to launch, grow or expand our entrepreneurial endeavors. There was a common thread to all our stories: capital was scarce. The trickle-down effect of the global recession was having a negative impact on our ability to innovate. Without access to capital, how could we grow and hire? If jobs were the economic stimulus needed to lift our nation out of the recession, then someone needed to address the capital crisis facing entrepreneurs and small businesses, our nation’s job creators.

With that, we sat down and crafted a framework to allow an entrepreneur to raise a limited amount of equity capital from his friends, family or community using the tenants of crowdfunding. We then embarked upon changing outdated security laws, which were written for a period in time that did not reflect today’s technology, the internet or the flow of information. We further vetted our framework at a symposium we held in San Francisco attended by security lawyers, academics, investors, crowdfunding platforms and entrepreneurs. Buy-in was building from the community at large.

With the help of Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Washington started to listen. President Obama came out in favor of our proposal to make equity-based crowdfunding legal, then the House drafted the first bill — H.R. 2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act — and, in a rare burst of bipartisan support, passed it 407-17. Now there are two bills in front of the Senate. All signs are pointing to some version of crowdfunding for entrepreneurs being legal the beginning of 2012.

While we aren’t done yet, our story is one of trial and perseverance, of old vs. new. Many people have asked us what we’ve learned along the way, so here are 13 lessons from our journey to get this legislation passed…

1) Giving up is not an option.
2) When you’re in a recession and you have a solution to the jobs crisis, people listen.
3) There is power in a few voices. Showing up in Washington is more than half the battle. Making your voice heard does resonate and people on Capitol Hill can and have been incredibly gracious with their time, experience and knowledge.
4) The people trying to run the government aren’t bad people. As a matter of fact, the majority of people there work insanely hard for the good of our nation, but the bureaucracy makes it difficult to understand and the media spins public perception of our elected officials.
5) On the Hill, both sides need to feel like they are winning. In order to get to the end goal, you need to present Washington with 100% of something that will be reduced to 25%, whereby each party can add back bits and pieces, bringing it up to 85% or so. We might not get 100% of what we want, but both parties will feel satisfied that they did their job.
6) Fear is the enemy of progress. The special interests have spent countless hours and dollars to derail the discussion from entrepreneurship, opportunity and jobs to focus on fraud. Fraud sells like sex and their message resonates with the media even though it defies logic. We haven’t shut down the markets because of fraud.
7) It is true, money and special interests (lobbies) control Washington in an unhealthy way and eerily so. They don’t try too hard to hide who they represent. You quickly come to understand how the special interests can be nice to your face and stab you in the back. If only you could have been present for some of the nice chats we’ve had with the special interests only to see what they espouse in the media.
8) Believe it or not, there is logic to some of what the opposition has to say. Fraud is an important point. Social media and crowd vetting has shown how we can mitigate this.
9) It is easier for the opposition to focus on the past than craft a working solution for the future. The opposition isn’t focused on helping the American economy and creating jobs. They don’t claim to be. And yet no one asks them, if you see the problems in the capital markets firsthand, why don’t you see the solutions as well?
10) In America, one’s right to use one’s money as he see fit is trumped by the government’s right to tell you how you can invest it. Isn’t there a first amendment case here?
11) Lobbying is exhausting; it takes a lot of patience and you have to get comfortable educating and repeating the same information over and over.
12) Nothing in life is free. This has cost us a lot of personal time, energy and money. We are grateful to people that have supported our struggle and are dismayed by those who stand to benefit the most but not participated materially or financially. It is no wonder why special interests succeed with the endless flow of capital to their coiffeurs. Couch surfing — thank you various D.C. friends — is exhausting and eating up your own financial resources is painful.
13) And once more: giving up is not an option.

Helping Fund the Fight to Make Crowdfund Investing LEGAL

Changing the Security Laws isn't easy and it sure isn't cheap. Everything that you see here costs us money. If you support our cause, if you wish to see it legal for entrepreneurs to go to their friends, family and community to crowdfund money, then help us fight the cause with a small donation. You have no idea how much every dollar helps us achieve this goal!
$1,185Raised10,000Target
Choose donation amount:
Share

Categories: crowdfunding · Sherwood Neiss
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Podcast: How the “Crowd” in Crowdfund Investing Provides Investor Protection

December 14, 2011 · Leave a Comment

The Startup Exemption and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council had a briefing on December 13, 2011 at the law offices of Jones Day in Washington, DC to brief Senate Staffers and the Media on how Crowfunding currently work, how it will work under the law and answer questions.  The following is a live Powerpoint Podcast of the presentation.  Sherwood Neiss is speaking during this part of the briefing.  He is one of the partners and Chief Advocates of the Startup Exemption, which is the group that brought the Crowdfund Investing framework to Washington which is the basis for all 3 bills in front of Congress.

 

 

Share

Categories: Sherwood Neiss
Tagged: , , , ,

Startup Exemption & SBE Council to Hold Crowdfunding Briefing for Senate Staffers

December 10, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Crowdfunding Briefing, December 15, 10:00 a.m.
December 7, 2011

Please Join SBE Council for this Briefing Event

Crowdfund Investing: A Modern and Transparent Platform to Help Entrepreneurs Access Capital

December 13th
10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m.

 Featuring

Woodie Neiss, Co-FounderStartup Exemption

Freeman White, CEO & Founder, Launcht.com

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, SBE Council (Moderator)

Crowdfund investing legislation passed the U.S. House 407-17. Now, the U.S. Senate is considering similar legislation that would modernize SEC regulations and allow entrepreneurs to raise and identify new sources of capital through crowdfunding platforms. How will these platforms work to help entrepreneurs raise capital while protecting investors?  How do startups use crowdfunding currently?  How would startups and startup investors like to use crowdfunding in the future?  What about fraud? Experts on crowdfunding and advocates for reform legislation will answer questions about this transformative approach for raising capital.

Briefing will take place at:

 Jones Day
• 51 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.     • 
Washington, D.C. 20001-2113

  

Rsvp: (703)-242-5840, or mvaught@sbecouncil.org

  

Share

Categories: crowdfunding · Sherwood Neiss
Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Frustrating Day for Crowdfunding at the Senate

December 1, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Today was a frustrating day for Crowdfunding.  The Senate Banking Committee, one of the most powerful committees on Capitol Hill held a hearing called, ‘Spurring Job Growth Through Capital Formation While Protecting Investors.’  It should have been called, ‘Why We Need to Stop Americans From Investing $1,000 into their Community Entrepreneurs.’

Anyone attending today’s hearing could tell it was to listen to special interests and regulators talk about the risks inherent in investing under the current system and why we need to protect consumers.  There was no discussion about protecting people from spending their $1,000 paycheck on a lottery ticket, gambling it on Red in Vegas, nor spending more than that on their credit cards and being locked into interest payments upwards of 36% on the balance.   For some reason, the only area they feel we need to provide prudent consumer protection is when a person is making a decision where they want to invest their money.  Why?  Because the expectation is different.  Yes, we expect to win the lottery.  Oh wait, no we don’t.

What’s the point of having a hearing about small businesses and capital formation if there isn’t one panelist that is an entrepreneur, small business owner or crowdfunding expert?  How do you have a balanced discussion of crowdfunding if there is no one on the panel to discuss how crowdfunding works, the merit of allowing the community to back their local entrepreneurs, how the crowd will only fund those ideas they collectively decide are worth and how the social media connectivity will expose fraud and foster winning ideas.  More importantly, if you don’t have a crowdfunding representative on the panel, how do you expose the blatant misrepresentations from the other panelists about crowdfunding?

One of the most frustrating parts of the hearing was when John Coffee the anti-crowdfunding law professor from Columbia said crowdfunding could lead to a situation where unlicensed, nefarious salesmen “who look like Danny Devito,” could set up shop in a bar or coffeehouse and peddle risky offerings to unsophisticated investors. And “In its current form, [Senator Brown’s] bill could be called the Boiler Room Legalization Act of 2011,” Boy does this drama sell.  His fabrication immediately became the cover story for Investment News.

If you are reading this, you understand that the Crowdfund Investing framework we put together is based on a few main principles:

  1. Social Networking – you are raising capital from your friends, family and community.  Your 1st degree connections.
  2. Communication – you must clearly articulate to your friends, family and community what you are doing, why you need this money, why they should trust you to do what you say and why this is a good investment opportunity for the crowd.
  3. All or nothing financing – using the principles of lean startup, you should set the minimum amount of money that you need to accomplish the milestones that you set out to your investors.  If you don’t hit that funding target, you aren’t funded.

You also know that the very first thing we advocate is a fraud/background check to keep unsavory people from participating.  That Crowdfund Investing platforms will need to be registered with the SEC and that we advocate for communicating who (including name, address, social security number, etc) is raising money on crowdfunding platforms and sending that information to both the SEC and the State Regulators.

What the panelists were discussing today was another form of Reg D offering without the safeguards that we’ve been advocating for 11 months.  Not one of the panelists today acknowledged how crowdfunding works or any of the principles above. Obviously, just looking at them, it is clear that none of them have a Facebook page, have tweeted or blogged to a community that follows them.  No wonder they don’t understand how crowdfund investing would work.

Why is it that the people who are crafting the rules under which entrepreneurs can raise capital are the same people who benefit from the rules not changing or changing in their favor?

At the end of the day, why not focus on what we do know.  Crowdfunding has been around for over 5 years now.  Over half a billion dollars has been given away and while we still expect people to do what they say with their money, no one has complained of fraud.  It’s worked well enough up to now, under our framework it will continue to work well but have the added benefit of spurring entrepreneurialism and JOBS!

Share

Categories: Crowd Fund Investing · crowdfunding · Sherwood Neiss
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

More Proof that Crowdfund Investing is Less Risky than the Special Interest Opponents Say

November 22, 2011 · Leave a Comment

The following is an excerpt from Kevin Lawton, the author of the Crowdfunding Revolution.

I recently re-ran a quick study of the risk-vs-reward profile of penny stocks vs initial angel investments in startups (data from the Kauffman Foundation’s AIPP).  See below.  It’s yet another confirmation that early stage investments are actually less risky and have better returns than “penny stocks” (which the public has access to without limitation).

Fraud has been trotted out as the ad naseum bogeyman, but it’s been nothing but a red herring.  Failure is the issue.  Given any degree of risk, a portfolio is necessary to mitigate against investment failure.  So far, I can not find a person (at least one who has any wealth left) who does not have a portfolio.  And thus, for any high-risk asset class where one can lose 50% of the time, having 1% of fraud is a tiny and noisy component in investment failure.

The issue has always been an education thing (i.e. the portfolio).  Beyond that, if a system suppresses crowdfunding in a futile attempt to fight the 1 unit of fraud, it will not only suppress the 99 units of investment, but often a 3x .. 10x economic multiplier (so up to a 1000 units).  Most of the crowdfunding projects tend to have a geographic locality component.  And as Amy Cortese points out in Locavesting, local businesses have a strong local economic multiplier.

But I’m most curious why we are starving private equity of some serious profits and deal flow.  Please see my brief post about how I applied a black-box hedge fund technique to amp up Venture Capital IRR from 30% to 46%.  Allowing crowdfunding platforms to flourish, opens up the door for some bigger players to access investments in smaller companies, and frankly eat some of the VC pie.

Crowdfunding platforms will include crowdsourced diligence & fraudster detection, which will rival the response time and accuracy of anything that Venture Capital has ever seen. We just need the government to get the heck out of the way…

-Kevin Lawton

Author of The Crowdfunding Revolution and serial entrepreneur

Share

Categories: Crowd Fund Investing · Jason Best · Kevin Lawton · Sherwood Neiss
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

VIDEO – What Does Crowdfunding Mean?

November 21, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Thanks to Congressman McHenry’s staff for putting together this amazing video on the Rally 4 Crowdfunding

McHenry Addresses Crowdfunding Rally

 

Share

Categories: Congressman Patrick McHenry · Crowd Fund Investing · Jason Best · Sherwood Neiss
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Post Rally Update – Progress and Backlash by Special Interests

November 19, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Dear Crowdfund Investing (CFI) Followers,

The rally was a HUGE success.  How do we know?  The regulators have launched a full-frontal assault against us in the Senate and are trying to kill Crowdfund Investing for good in the next 6 weeks.  Here’s what you need to know in 3 sections: 1) What you can do now, 2) What’s happening next week (SENATE HEARING Dec 1st!) and 3) Highlights from last week:

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:

o   Click this link to identify your Senators, call them and tell them “I support HR2930, the Crowdfunding Bill as a solution to getting capital flowing to community entrepreneurs so that we can create jobs!” It may sound crazy but grass roots calls are powerful.

o   We need your financial support to help offset the mounting costs (travel, marketing, additional rallying, etc.) of getting the message to the Senate.

o   We need you to recruit other supporters!  Please send this to your friends, family and community and say, “I NEED YOU TO HELP ME STOP THE REGULATORS THAT REFUSE TO JOIN THE INTERNET AGE.  WE HAVE A SOLUTION TO THE JOBS CRISIS BUT THE REGULATORS ARE STAGING A TURF WAR THAT DRAMATICALLY HINDERS ENTREPRENEURSHIP. ONLY THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THE LAW TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO ACCESS CAPITAL, INNOVATE, AND HIRE AMERICANS!”

WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT WEEK:

o   The Senate Banking Committee is holding a hearing on December 1st for which they still haven’t guaranteed us a seat at the table (crazy how you can bring this stuff to Washington and not be included in the hearing on the subject).

o   We plan on hosting a luncheon for Senate Staffers the beginning of December to walk them through how CFI works and answer any questions/fears they might have about letting entrepreneurs raise capital from their social networks.

o   We MUST push for a vote before the end of the year!  If we do not get a vote by the end of 2011, it is unlikely the laws will change because next year is an election year.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST WEEK:

–       NPR, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company covered the event.   Much thanks to everyone who came to the rally, everyone who sponsored the rally and Representative McHenry & Maloney for speaking at the rally.

–       We confronted our most vocal opponents at the SEC Small Business Capital Forum.

o   Heath Abshure (Arkansas Securities Dept.) told us while they are in favor of crowdfunding (funny how this isn’t what he says in the media) their number one concern is ‘investor protection’ and market confidence.

o   We responded with 2 questions that fell on blank stares:

1) If investor protection is so important, why haven’t they brought anyone to justice for the 2008 financial meltdown?  

2) If fraud leads to the collapse of the markets due to lost confidence, why haven’t the financial markets ceased to exist with the 2008 financial meltdown?

o   NOTE: If the broader markets are where the fraud is being perpetrated why isn’t the SEC focusing their energies on combating and stopping fraud there while letting the crowd take over in their community?

–       We met with 9 Senate offices.

o   Republicans are in favor of the legislation from a Jobs perspective and cutting the bureaucratic tape which inhibits access to capital for entrepreneurs.

o   Democrats (including the President) are in favor of Jobs and democratizing the financial market so that not only the rich are allowed to participate.

o   Both sides understand that the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we do business and hence it only makes sense that it should change the way we also do financing in the future.

–       HOWEVER, State Regulators and special interests are throwing a full-frontal assault to stop our progress and KILL CROWDFUND INVESTING.

o   They are using nonspecific cases of fraud to halt our progress because fraud, like sex and war, sells newspapers.

o   They are doing this because they think we are encroaching on their territory and money.

o   They are detracting from the conversation (JOBS via access to capital) without taking time to understand the advances in technology, the Internet, and how social media has led to transparency and accountability.

o   They want you to think there will be millions of cases of fraud when the bigger issue is failure. The hedge against failure is portfolio diversification.

o   Less than 40% of CFI ideas will ever be funded, and those that are funded, will be by people who know the entrepreneur (true investor protection at work).

o   They want you to focus on fraud because they don’t understand that Crowdfund Investing is based on many-to-many communication between an entrepreneur and many investors in a open dialog as opposed to one-to-one fraud.

o   They want to distract you from the benefits of this bill because they know that January 1st starts an election year and this bill will die if it isn’t passed into law before then and focus shifts to election politics.

Entrepreneurs, ideas, capital, businesses and jobs.  You can have many entrepreneurs with thousands of ideas but you’ll NEVER HAVE ONE BUSINESS NOR JOB WITHOUT CAPITAL.  We need to pick up where Wall Street and the Banks have left off.  The Regulators are standing in the way simply because they don’t stand to earn a commission.  Join the cause.  Spread the word and let’s get Joe the Entrepreneur back to Innovating so that we can create JOBS and get us out of this recession!

Sincerely,

Sherwood, Jason & Zak

 

 

Share

Categories: Jason Best · Sherwood Neiss · Woodie Neiss · Zak Cassady-Dorion
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

What Crowdfunding Opponents Don’t Want You to Know

November 15, 2011 · Leave a Comment

With all the time and attention that fraud has received, we wanted to talk about a much more important issue, failure.  Failure of early businesses happens 50% of the time – that’s just a fact of nature.  If we were to hold that fraud would happen 1% of the time, then failure is 50 times more important in risk mitigation for investors.  And nearly all Americans who invest in the public markets already mitigate against the risk of “losing it all” by way of holding a portfolio.  Diversification has been practiced for centuries, and it’s no different in any asset class, be it public equities, commodities or crowdfund investing.

We believe that prudent risk and fraud mitigation currently in HR2930, along with law enforcement provisions in the bill preserve the power of state and federal officials to aggressively pursue those who commit fraud.  Now, let’s create a plan to help more honest businesses succeed.

KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCE

When entrepreneurs talk about failure they talk about the lessons they learned and the experience they gained which is less sexy to the media than fraud.  In crowdfund investing, the entrepreneur has access to his investors to gain knowledge and experience from them in order to attempt to reduce the rate of failure.  The transparency and ease of many to many communication benefits all.

When investors talk about a stock’s failure, they always focus on the critical importance of diversification.  WHY?  Because everyone knows, a diversified portfolio is the best security against loss.  Why focus on educating people about portfolio diversification when it is easier to claim crowdfund investing will open the floodgates to fraud?

So why do we bring this up?  Because the opponents want you to focus on something that will grab the media’s attention (fraud).  This also distracts the debate while trying to prevent regular Americans from supporting entrepreneurs with their own dollars.

There are entrenched interests that don’t want you to focus on how getting capital to entrepreneurs will stimulate innovation.  They clearly don’t talk about alternative solutions.  AND most importantly they don’t want to lose jurisdiction over the business and revenue they are currently generating.  These are areas we hope the media starts to look into more fully.

Much of our new information economy is based on new ways of connecting people.  Preventing entrepreneurs from soliciting financing from their fans and potential customer base, equates to a massive form of economic suppression.  And it’s a suppression of the most powerful human right ever given, the 1st Amendment.

If the opponents took the time to think it through, they’d see that fraud is no more of an issue than in other forms of investing.  With prudent safeguards in place, let’s focus the majority of our energy on the real issues – continued education about diversification.

Think we are wrong?  Please tell us why.  How does one “lose it all” when holding a portfolio of businesses?  How does suppressing platforms which will drive Yelp-like crowdsourced checking & reviews of entrepreneurs help prevent fraud?

 

Share

Categories: Crowd Fund Investing · Funding Gap · Jason Best · Kevin Lawton · Sherwood Neiss · Woodie Neiss
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Entrepreneurs to Rally – Will Urge Senate and SEC Action on Crowdfund Investing

November 10, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Startup Exemption and SBE Council to Host a Crowdfunded Rally in Support of H.R. 2930

Washington, DC – The Startup Exemption and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) announced today they will hold an event to call attention to the need for the U.S. Senate and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to act on a common sense proposal that would permit crowdfund investing. The rally coincides with Global Entrepreneurship Week and the SEC’s annual meeting on small business capital formation on November 17th. The event will be held on the Capitol grounds between Union Station and the Capitol building at 8:00 a.m.

True to the tenants of crowdfunding, the group is crowdfunding the costs of the event with a pitch on IndieGoGo.

The goal of the rally says Sherwood Neiss, Chief Advocate of the Startup Exemption is to “put a face to Joe the Entrepreneur and Jill the Innovator and call for action by the Senate and the SEC. Representative Patrick McHenry used our framework for H.R. 2930, the ‘Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act.’ The bill recently passed the House in a unique burst of bipartisan support with a vote of 407 to 17. This Act represents a major step forward in solving the capital crisis facing our nation’s job creators while bringing securities laws into the modern era.”

Crowdfund Investing (CFI) builds on the tenants of crowdfunding. While in traditional crowdfunding, a group of individuals “donate” small amounts of money to an idea (for example, an art related project). In CFI, individuals use small amounts of money to buy equity in a business. The goal of CFI is to provide entrepreneurs and small businesses with access to capital that they will use to grow and hire. Individuals are motivated to invest by the desire to support an entrepreneur and her business plan, to be a part of the solution to our economic woes, and for a potential financial return.

Jason Best, co-founder of the Startup Exemption said, “Our proposal is a jobs initiative that everyone can agree on and requires no government spending. Providing this funding option to connect entrepreneurs with the capital they need, will unleash the next wave of American innovation and create jobs. With President Obama officially backing Representative McHenry’s bill, we look forward to quickly advancing this common sense framework in the Senate.”

SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan observed that the quick pace of the crowdfund investing bill demonstrates that members of both political parties understand capital access is a critical issue for both entrepreneurs and our nation’s economic recovery.

“Crowd fund investing will give small business owners and entrepreneurs access to sources of capital they currently cannot tap into without triggering complex SEC rules. With common sense reforms, more Americans will be able to invest in promising small businesses, which means more jobs and greater economic growth. Reformulating outdated rules while maintaining investor protections will help entrepreneurs identify and connect with potential funders,” said Kerrigan.

She added: “We are very excited that Congress and President Obama are seeking intelligent and innovative ways to help small business owners access capital. Technology and the Internet have leveled the playing field in so many other areas for entrepreneurs, and it only makes sense that they are allowed to tap into its power and the intelligence of the crowd for needed capital.”

Crowdfunding has grown in popularity over the past 5 years with millions of participants around the world. Entrepreneurs see CFI as a way to raise moderate amounts of capital and investors see it as a way to help entrepreneurs in their community. Numerous academic reports discuss how SEC rules block small business’ access to capital. SEC-registered Crowdfund Investing websites will provide the platform for investors to analyze ideas and self-select those community entrepreneurs they wish to support.

According to H.R. 2930, only businesses that reach their funding target will be funded, entrepreneurs cannot raise more than $2M and investors are limited on how much they can invest. The SEC would continue to provide prudent oversight to CFI to mitigate the risk of fraud and protect investors.

# # #

________________________________________________________

About STARTUP EXEMPTION: Startup Exemption is an initiative spearheaded by Sherwood Neiss, Jason Best and Zak Cassady-Dorion. Mr. Neiss, a 3-time INC500 entrepreneur, came across the problem when trying to help crowdfund two of his startups. While discussing it with Mr. Best, a 2-time Inc 500 entrepreneur, lawyers made it clear that the rules for raising capital were arcane, complicated and required costly compliance measures. Understanding the critical importance of startup capital, these three colleagues set about changing the regulations for investing in Startups. Their goal is to add an exemption to the Securities & Exchange laws based on Crowdfund Investing aka equity-based crowdfunding. Online petition and more information can be found at: http://www.startupexemption.com/.

SBE Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy, research and training organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit http://www.sbecouncil.org/.

Sherwood Neiss sherwood@startupexemption.com
(202) 247-7182

Jason Best
Startup Exemption
(415) 999-2271
jason@startupexemption.com

Karen Kerrigan, (703) 242-5840
SBE Council, 
kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org
Mabel Vaught: mvaught@sbecouncil.org

Share

Categories: Crowd Fund Investing · Jason Best · Sherwood Neiss
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

These Entrepreneurs are Changing the World for ALL Entrepreneurs!

November 9, 2011 · Leave a Comment

 ***If you cannot read the following clearly, click to go directly to mailchimp post ****

Changing the World for Entrepreneurs
AN UPDATE FROM WOODIE

 

On November 3rd the US House of Representatives passed, with almost unanimous bipartisan support, the Bill I’ve been working on HR2930, The Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act.  HR2930 Vote - 407 to 17It made headlines from the Wall Street Journal to USA Today.

This started less than a year ago when I was out trying to raise capital for a startup idea I had; using smartphones to do instant polling.  The idea won the November, 2010 Miami Startup Weekend Challenge. I went out to raise capital but hit the same barrier as most entrepreneurs.  There’s no capital. Banks aren’t lending, home equity lines aren’t an option because of fallen home prices, credit card limits were lowered and interest rates skyrocketed, and private money is only for a select few.

Entrepreneurs, ideas, capital, businesses and JOBS – They are all interconnected.  Without capital small businesses cannot innovate and hire.  The key to getting us out of this recession is to get American’s back to work and this requires job-creating businesses.  So rather than bemoan the problem my peers and I went out to solve it.

Jason, Zak & Woodie - The Startup Exemption TeamWe decided, given the advances in accountability and transparency due to the Internet and technology, the time was right to update 80-year old security laws so that we could go to our friends, family and community and sell them shares in our businesses via crowdfunding.  (This is currently illegal).

From there we built a framework, launched a petition, started blogging and began peddling the solution to influencers in Washington including the media.  In less than 6 months:

  •      I testified at 2 congressional hearings; Testimony one and Testimony two.
  •      We were consulted by the White House and included in President Obama’s Jobs Act
  •      We are the force & framework behind HR 2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act!
  •      This was publicly endorsed by President Obama, and
  •      Our bill was almost unanimously approved by a vote of 407 to 17 on the floor of the US House!U.S. Congressional Hearing - September, 2011

But we aren’t done yet.  Even though we had such bipartisan support, we we need to keep the pressure on.  Hence, we are taking our fight to the Senate.   We are holding a HUGE rally on November 17th in Washington, DC to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week and an annual, one-day meeting the SEC is having on Small Business Capital formation.

Our goal is to introduce Washington to ‘Joe the Entrepreneur’ and ‘Jill the Innovator,’ explain how they are the job-producing engine of the USA and have a teach-in with our Senators about Crowdfund Investing.

Our solution allows the community to pick and finance only those companies they think are worthy.   They will back them not only with money, but also with knowledge, experience and marketing power.

But in order to pull this rally off, we are trying to crowdfund the cost.  So feel free to check out our Indiegogo campaign.  Feel free to give a buck or two if you’d like.  Contact your senator (here) and tell them to introduce and support HR2930.  Ask them NOT to play politics with the Bill and attach frivolous amendments that don’t pertain to the bill.  Feel free to come to the rally on November 17th and most importantly, feel free to share what we’re doing with those that you think would find it interesting!

All our best!
Woodie, Jason & Zak 🙂
Our Campaign on Indiegogo

November 2011
17
FOLLOW ON
TWITTER

 

FRIEND ON
FACEBOOK

 

A FRIEND

 

 

Copyright © All rights reserved.

 

 

Share

Categories: Crowd Fund Investing · Jason Best · Sherwood Neiss · Woodie Neiss · Zak Cassady-Dorion
Tagged: , , , , , , ,