Title III crowdfunding is here! The first funding portals can begin operations today, May 16, 2016. On Friday, I was a guest on the “This Week in Law” Podcast, where I talked about the impact this will have on startups, technology companies, and the people who invest in them. Click on the link below for my discussion.
For many startup founders, what led them into the risky but thrilling world of starting their own company was technology, innovation, the ability to affect the world, and the freedom of being their own boss. Learning the ins and outs of financing, attracting investors, and understanding how to comply with state and federal securities laws is probably not at the top of the list of a startup founder’s most favorite things. But, given that the vast majority of startups will rely on outside financing in their early years while they progress in stages of production and expansion, their founders are going to eventually need to do some real-world study in the basics of how raising capital works in order to grow their business while protecting their vision. [Read more…]
In October, the SEC finally completed its implementing regulations to Title III of the JOBS Act, more commonly known as the “crowdfunding” exemption. The 600-page release can be found here. I’m not going to bother summarizing these regulations, as so many others have done a very good job doing of that already. So, as I previously did with the proposed regulations, I’ll instead offer some of my thoughts on and reactions to the final rules: [Read more…]
When the JOBS Act was passed, a lot of people hoped that it would de-regulate startup finance, resulting in a boom of new startups being funded. Through repealing the ban on general solicitation, allowing online angel investment platforms, creating the new “Regulation A+,” and allowing equity crowdfunding, the JOBS Act was supposed to make funding startups considerably easier. But there have been some significant bumps in the road. First, in my view, the equity crowdfunding exemption that was included in the bill was unworkable from the beginning. That continues to be true under the crowdfunding regulations proposed by the SEC and of course the SEC has yet to adopt final equity crowdfunding regulations (which means that equity crowdfunding is still largely prohibited for non-accredited investors). While the SEC finally did implement the lifting of the ban on general solicitation by creating the new Rule 506(c), it also has proposed new onerous rules governing its use (as well as the use of the existing Rule 506(b)). The SEC has proposed implementing regulations for Regulation A+, but has not adopted final regulations, which means that the exemption still cannot be used. In addition, the SEC is getting pushback from state securities regulators on the proposed Regulation A+ on the issue of preempting state registration requirements, which may result in the removal of preemption from the final regulations (which would make the exemption considerably less useful). Furthermore, since Regulation A+ investors would be counted as shareholders for purposes of triggering reporting under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), as the proposed rules are currently written, any use of the exemption would also likely trigger expensive Exchange Act reporting requirements. [Read more…]
On October 23, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued proposed regulations to implement Title III of the JOBS Act, which will allow for the public sale of securities using crowdfunding under an exemption from registration under securities laws. [Read more…]