|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/.
Sherwood Neiss Jason Best
(202) 247-7182 (415) 999-2271
Available 7am to 7pm M-F (ET) Available 7am to 7pm M-F (PT)
About The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council: SBE 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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Entries tagged as ‘JOBS Act’
March 24, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Crowdfunding Industry Establishes Standards to Help Protect Entrepreneurs and Investors and Spur JOBS Act
March 21, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Crowdsourcing.org and Crowdfunding Industry Experts Launch Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards (CAPS) Program
LOS ANGELES, CA, Mar 21, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Today, the JOBS Act took one step closer to becoming law. On the heels of the JOBS Act passing the Senate cloture vote by a wide margin (with two amendments pending) — which will allow companies to offer securities to non-accredited investors via crowdfunding platforms — the launch of the Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards (CAPS) program is the first significant milestone adopted by the industry. The CAPS program establishes standards for crowdfunding operations and aims to protect investors from fraud. As the industry begins the process of creating a self-regulatory framework, CAPS — which will govern the accreditation of crowdfunding platforms — will be a key pillar within this framework.
More than 400 crowdfunding platforms were operating in January 2012. As industry leaders recognized that investors would need help and more information when funding ventures through these platforms, the CAPS program was created to ensure a secure and reliable experience. Now CAPS-accredited platforms will display the CAPS badge on their sites to demonstrate they have been accredited based on qualification criteria in four areas:
- Operational transparency
- Security of information and payments
- Platform functionality
- Operational procedures
“Now that crowdfunding legislation is gaining momentum in Washington, the future of the industry will be determined by its ability to create a consistent and safe environment,” said founder of Crowdsourcing.org Carl Esposti. “As the intermediary between investors and entrepreneurs, crowdfunding platforms owe fundraisers and investors a high degree of transparency and the ability to facilitate secure transactions to reduce the risk of fraud. If the industry can deliver in these areas, the potential is unlimited, and crowdfunding can effectively become the backbone of both SME financing and philanthropic donations.”
The CAPS Council, the governing body of CAPS with currently 11 crowdfunding experts, has taken the initiative to establish these accreditation criteria to ensure crowdfunding platforms adequately protect fundraisers and investors. Members of the CAPS Council include:
- Carl Esposti, founder of The Industry Website Crowdsourcing.org
- Sherwood Ness & Jason Best, founding members of the Start-up Exemption, and leading lobbyist and advocate for crowdfunding
- Kevin Lawton, author of Crowdfunding Revolution
Following an initial private invitation-only launch, eight organizations — Crowdcube, Grow VC, Crowdfunder, GreenUnite, HelpersUnite, Symbid, Give A Little and Fundrazr — have been accredited by the CAPS program and another 20 organizations are currently undergoing the process. More than 200 crowdfunding platforms are expected to apply for accreditation in 2012.
“Crowdfunding is the future of seed and growth financing for startups and entrepreneurs,” said Sherwood Ness, founding member of the Startup Exemption. “It uses the web, social media and advances in technology to allow an entrepreneur to raise a limited amount of capital from his friends, family & community under a framework that provides for investor protection. Establishing high platform standards is the clear next step to not only protecting investors but also to ensure continued success and growth of the industry.”
Journalists interested in speaking to a CAPS Council member or learning more about the program can contact Jennifer Moebius at email@example.com.
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: www.startupexemption.com.
Sherwood Neiss Jason Best
(202) 247-7182 (415) 999-2271
Available 7am to 7pm M-F (ET) Available 7am to 7pm M-F (PT)
- Website: www.startupexemption.com
- CrowdFund Investing framework http://bit.ly/mRWXcZ
- twitter: @woodien
Founded in 2010, the industry website Crowdsourcing.org is a neutral organization dedicated solely to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. As one of the most influential and credible authorities in the crowdsourcing space, Crowdsourcing.org is recognized worldwide for its intellectual capital, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding practice expertise and unbiased thought leadership. Crowdsourcing.org is an initiative by massolution, a unique research and advisory firm specializing in crowdsourcing and crowdfunding solutions for private, public, and social enterprises. More information at www.crowdsourcing.org .
March 19, 2012 · 1 Comment
Leave it to the Crowdfunding opposition to turn ‘entrepreneurship, innovation and jobs’ into ‘fear, fraud and apocalypse.’ Now that the JOBS Act is on the verge of passing, the media is running wild with stories that re-regulating the markets (yes Crowdfund Investing (aka equity-based crowdfunding) is re-regulating not deregulating) will lead to mass fraud, hysteria, a loss in investor confidence and a collapse of the general markets. Most importantly there’s a general misperception among the opponents to Crowdfund Investing that access to capital will NOT lead to innovation and jobs. How wrong they are.
Over a year ago, 3 successful entrepreneurs sat down with a goal to craft a framework to allow a limited amount of seed and growth capital to flow into the hands of entrepreneurs using the tenants of crowdfunding. These entrepreneurs had the experience of taking ideas, raising money, growing businesses and hiring over 150 employees. That’s walking the walk. These MBA grads understand what it means to be an entrepreneur, what information investors need to make informed decisions, what the laws regarding raising capital formation are and the benefits of a symbiotic relationship to a functioning, transparent marketplace.
The missing component post the 2008 financial meltdown was the disappearance of capital. Along with the collapse of the financial markets went home equity lines used to launch ideas, credit cards with large credit lines and low interest rates used to finance growth, and private money used to expand businesses. Business 101 – Cash is KING. Without access to capital, you cannot grow or hire!
So rather than come up with “a mechanism to undermine market transparency, roll back important investor protections, and, drive up the cost of capital for small companies” as Barbara Roper Director of Investor Protection, Consumer Federation of America said, these Entrepreneurs crafted a framework that if implemented along its original extent would have addressed all the concerns, misperceptions and drama floating around today.
The framework was carefully crafted. It carved out a rule under which fraud-free entrepreneurs and small businesses with revenues of less than $5M that weren’t foreign corps, public or investment companies could raise up to $1M either selling Common Stock or revenue based financing on SEC-registered websites. Where, investors would have to agree using current standard verification technology that they understand there is no guarantee of return, that they could lose their entire investment and that their liquidity/return is limited to any dividends, sale, public offering or a merger of the company. And once they agreed to that, would be limited as to how much they could risk to the lower of $10,000 or 10% of their AGI. Where standardized forms (generic term sheets & subscription agreements) based on industry best practices would be used to maintain transparency and reduce time and expense for all parties. Post funding standardized and automated reporting for use of proceeds would be required on a quarterly basis by entrepreneurs. Platforms would provide the SEC monthly offering reports that include information on: deals funded, entrepreneurs’ names, social security numbers, addresses, date of births, amount of capital raised, list of investors and individual dollar amount contributed. And most importantly social media would control the process. Entrepreneurs would only be allowed to solicit people in their social network using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. Platforms would use social media tools to create a deal room for each idea where interested investors can publicly pick apart the entrepreneur, the idea, the business model and the investment opportunity. And most importantly, NO MONEY would be exchanged until the ENTIRE crowd decided to fund the entrepreneur and the entrepreneur’s funding target was 100% met. Not so easy, right?
If implemented as designed it would allay all concerns including entrepreneurs who need capital, investors who need proper disclosures to make informed decisions, regulators who want to know what is happening in the capital markets and intermediaries who will provide the social media tools to allow for solicitation and vetting before the crowd collectively and in an open dialog, decides which of their community entrepreneurs they wish to fund and with how much money as well as the conduit for the transaction to happen.
Crowdfund Investing will be a great financing tool for our nation’s entrepreneurs. The opponents, well they are academic and regulators. We are entrepreneurs , investors and most importantly JOB CREATORS. We created 150 jobs before when capital was available. But you know what? We can’t do it today, without Capital! The time is now to Legalize Crowdfunding!!
Sherwood Neiss, Jason Best & Zak Cassasdy-Dorion are the developers of the framework for Crowdfund Investing which is the basis for all the CF Bills before Congress. For more information about us go to www.startupexemption.com/about-us