12 Years of the JOBS Act: Impact on Startup Funding

12 Years of the JOBS Act

It’s time to reflect on and remember the impact of this innovative legislation in the history of financial market. Passed in 2012, JOBS Act has brought positive changes to the landscape of capital raising and investment in the USA.

This groundbreaking act has opened new doors for entrepreneurs by simplifying the process to go public and secure funding, while also democratizing investment opportunities, allowing a broader spectrum of investors to participate in previously inaccessible ventures.

KoreConX proudly acknowledges the transformative effect the JOBS Act has had on the business and investment community. By reducing regulatory hurdles and fostering an environment conducive to growth and innovation, the Act has played a critical role in supporting startups and small businesses, vital components of the economy’s backbone.

As we celebrate this anniversary, KoreConX remains committed to empowering companies to leverage these opportunities, ensuring a future where businesses can thrive and investors can access a wider range of investment possibilities. Here’s to embracing many more years of innovation, growth, and success under the JOBS Act’s legacy.

12 Years of the JOBS Act, 12 years of revolution in private capital markets.

Communications and publicity by issuers prior to and during a Regulation CF (RegCF) Offering

The idea behind crowdfunding is that the crowd — family, friends, and fans of a small or startup company, even if they are not rich or experienced investors — can invest in that company’s securities. For a traditionally risk-averse area of law, that’s a pretty revolutionary concept.  

In order to make this leap, Congress wanted to ensure that all potential investors had access to the same information. The solution that Congress came up in the JOBS Act with was that there had to be one centralized place that an investor could access that information — the website of the funding portal or broker-dealer that hosts the crowdfunding offering (going forward we will refer to both of these as “platforms”). 

This means (with some very limited exceptions that we’ll describe below) most communications about the offering can ONLY be found on the platform. On the platform, the company can use any form of communication it likes, and can give as much information as it likes (so long as it’s not misleading). Remember that the platforms are required to have a communication channel — basically a chat or Q&A function — a place where you can discuss the offering with investors and potential investors (though you must identify yourself). That gives you the ability to control much of your message. 

So with that background in mind, we wanted to go through what you can and cannot do regarding communications prior to and during the offering. Unfortunately, there are a lot of limitations. Securities law is a highly regulated area and this is not like doing a Kickstarter campaign. Also, bear in mind this is a changing regulatory environment. We put together this guide based on existing law, the SEC’s interpretations that it put out on May 13, and numerous conversations with the SEC Staff. As the industry develops, the Staff’s positions may evolve. 

We do understand that the restrictions are in many cases counter-intuitive and don’t reflect the way people communicate these days. The problems derive from the wording of the statute as passed by Congress. The JOBS Act crowdfunding provisions are pretty stringent with respect to publicity; the SEC has “interpreted” those provisions as much as possible to give startups and small businesses more flexibility. 

What you can say before you launch your offering 

US securities laws regulate both “offers” and sales of securities; whenever you make an offer or sale of securities, that offer or sale must comply with the SEC’s rules. The SEC interprets the term “offer” very broadly and it can include activity that “conditions the market” for the offering. “Conditioning the market” is any activity that raises public interest in your company, and could include suddenly heightened levels of advertising, although regular product and service information or advertising is ok (see discussion below). 

Under new rules which went into effect on March 15, 2021, companies considering making a crowdfunding offering may “test the waters” (TTW) in order to decide whether to commit to the time and 2 expense of making an offering.1 Prior to filing the Form C with the SEC, you may make oral or written communications to find out whether investors might be interested in investing in your offering. The way in which you make these communications (eg, email, Insta, posting on a crowdfunding portal site) and the content of those communications are not limited, but the communications must state that: 

  • No money or other consideration is being solicited, and if sent in response, will not be accepted; 
  • No offer to buy the securities can be accepted and no part of the purchase price can be received until the offering statement is filed and only though the platform of an intermediary (funding portal or broker-dealer); and 
  • A person’s indication of interest includes no obligation or commitment of any kind.2 

You can collect indications of interest from potential investors including name, address, phone number and/or email address. The rule does not address getting any further information, such as the manner of any potential payment. If you do make TTW communications, you must file any written communication or broadcast script as an exhibit to your Form C. And TTW communications are subject to the regular provisions of securities law that impose liability for misleading statements. 

Before the point at which you file your Form C with the SEC, the TTW process is the only way you can make any offers of securities, either publicly or privately. This would apply to meetings with potential investors, giving out any information on forums which offer “sneak peeks” or “first looks” at your offering, and public announcements about the offering. Discussions at a conference or a demo day about your intentions to do a crowdfunding offering must comply with the TTW rules and you should read out the information in the bullets above. Any non-compliant communication made prior to filing the Form C may be construed as an unregistered offer of securities made in violation of Section 5 of the Securities Act — a “Bad Act” that will prevent you from being able to use Regulation CF, Rule 506, or Regulation A in the future. 

Normal advertising of your product or service is permitted as the SEC knows you have a business to run. However, if just before the offering all of a sudden you produce five times the amount of advertising that you had previously done, the SEC might wonder whether you were doing this to stir up interest in investing in your company. If you plan to change your marketing around the time of your offering (or if you are launching your company at the same time as your RegCF offering, which often happens), it would be prudent to discuss this with your counsel so that you can confirm that your advertising is consistent with the SEC’s rules. 

Genuine conversations with friends or family about what you are planning to do and getting their help and input on your offering and how to structure it, are ok, even if those people invest later. You can’t be pitching to them as investors, though, except in compliance with the TTW rules. 

What you can say after you launch 

After you launch your offering by filing your Form C with the SEC, communications outside the platform fall into two categories: 

  • Communications that don’t mention the “terms of the offering”; and 1 We are talking here about Crowdfunding Regulation Rule 206. There is another new rule that permits testing the waters before deciding which type of exempt offering (eg, Regulation CF or Regulation A) to make, which does not preempt state regulation; using that rule may be complicated and require extensive legal advice. 2 We advise including the entirety of this wording as a legend or disclaimer in the communication in question. The convention in Regulation A is that “it it fits, the legend must be included” and if the legend doesn’t fit (eg, Twitter) the communication must include an active hyperlink to it. 3 
  • Communications that just contain “tombstone” information. 

Communications that don’t mention the terms of the offering 

We are calling these “non-terms” communications in this memo, although you can also think of them as “soft” communications. “Terms” in this context are the following: 

  • The amount of securities offered; 
  • The nature of the securities (i.e., whether they are debt or equity, common or preferred, etc.); 
  • The price of the securities; 
  • The closing date of the offering period; 
  • The use of proceeds; and 
  • The issuer’s progress towards meeting its funding target. 

There are two types of communication that fall into the non-terms category. 

First, regular communications and advertising. You can still continue to run your business as normal and there is nothing wrong with creating press releases, advertisements, newsletters and other publicity to help grow your business. If those communications don’t mention any of the terms of the offering, they are permitted. Once you’ve filed your Form C, you don’t need to worry about “conditioning the market.” You can ramp up your advertising and communications program as much as you like so long as they are genuine business advertising (e.g., typical business advertising would not mention financial performance). 

Second, and more interestingly, offering-related communications that don’t mention the terms of the offering. You can talk about the offering as long as you don’t mention the TERMS of the offering. Yes, we realize that sounds weird but it’s the way the statute (the JOBS Act) was drafted. Rather than restricting the discussion of the “offering,” which is what traditional securities lawyers would have expected, the statute restricts discussion of “terms,” and the SEC defined “terms” to mean only those six things discussed above. This means you can make any kind of communication or advertising in which you say you are doing an offering (although not WHAT you are offering; that would be a “term”) and include all sort of soft information about the company’s mission statement and how the CEO’s grandma’s work ethic inspired her drive and ambition. 

You can link to the platform’s website from such communications. But be careful about linking to any other site that contains the terms of the offering. A link (in the mind of the SEC) is an indirect communication of the terms. So linking to something that contains terms could mean that a non-terms communication becomes a tombstone communication (see below) that doesn’t comply with the tombstone rules. This applies to third-party created content as well. If a third-party journalist has written an article about how great your company is and includes terms of the offering, linking to that article is an implicit endorsement of the article and could become a statement of the company that doesn’t comply with the Tombstone rules. 

Whether you are identifying a “term” of the offering can be pretty subtle. While “We are making an offering so that all our fans can be co-owners,” might indirectly include a term because it’s hinting that you are offering equity, it’s probably ok. Try to avoid hints as to what you are offering, and just drive investors to the intermediary’s site to find out more. 

Even though non-terms communications can effectively include any information (other than terms) that you like, bear in mind that they are subject, like all communications, to the securities antifraud rules. So even though you are technically permitted to say that you anticipate launching your “Uber for Ferrets” in 4 November in a non-terms communication, if you don’t have a reasonable basis for saying that, you are in trouble for making a misleading statement. 

Tombstone communications 

A tombstone is what it sounds like — just the facts — and a very limited set of facts at that. Think of these communications as “hard” factual information. 

The specific rules under Regulation CF (RegCF) allow for “notices” limited to the following, which can be written or oral: 

  • A statement that the issuer is conducting an offering pursuant to Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act; 
  • The name of the intermediary through which the offering is being conducted and (in written communications) a link directing the potential investor to the intermediary’s platform; 
  • The terms of the offering (the amount of securities offered, the nature of the securities, the price of the securities, the closing date of the offering period, the intended use of proceeds, and progress made so far); and 
  • Factual information about the legal identity and business location of the issuer, limited to the name of the issuer of the security, the address, phone number, and website of the issuer, the e-mail address of a representative of the issuer and a brief description of the business of the issuer. 

These are the outer limits of what you can say. You don’t have to include all or any of the terms. You could just say “Company X has an equity crowdfunding campaign on SuperPortal — Go to www.SuperPortal.com/CompanyX to find out more.” The platform’s address is compulsory.

“Brief description of the business of the issuer” does mean brief. The rule that applies when companies are doing Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), which is the only guidance we have in this area, lets those companies describe their general business, principal products or services, and the industry segment (e.g.,for manufacturing companies, the general type of manufacturing, the principal products or classes of products and the segments in which the company conducts business). The brief description does not allow for inclusion of details about how the product works or the overall addressable market for it, and certainly not any customer endorsements. 

“Limited time and availability”-type statements may be acceptable as part of the “terms of the offering.” For example, the company might state that the offering is “only” open until the termination date, or explain that the amount of securities available is limited to the oversubscription amount. 

A few “context” or filler words might be acceptable in a tombstone notice, depending on that context. For example, the company might state that it is “pleased” to be making an offering under the newly- adopted Regulation Crowdfunding, or even refer to the fact that this is a “historic” event. Such additional wording will generally be a matter of judgement. “Check out our offering on [link]” or “Check out progress of our offering on [link]” are OK. “Our offering is making great progress on [link]” is not. Words that imply growth, success or progress (whether referring to the company or the offering) are always problematic. If you want to use a lot of additional context information, that information can be put in a “non-terms” communication that goes out at the same time and through the same means as a tombstone communication. 

The only links that can be included on a tombstone communication are links to the platform. No links to 5 reviews of the offering on Kingscrowd. No links to any press stories on Crowdfund Insider or CrowdFundBeat. No links to the company’s website. The implicit endorsement principle applies here just as with non-terms communications, meaning that anything you link to becomes a communication by the company. 

An important point with respect to tombstone notices is that while content is severely limited, medium is not. Thus, notices containing tombstone information can be posted on social media, published in newspapers, broadcast on TV, slotted into Google Ads, etc. Craft breweries might wish to publish notices on their beer coasters, and donut shops might wish to have specially printed napkins. 

What constitutes a “notice” 

It is important to note that (until we hear otherwise from the SEC) the “notice” is supposed to be a standalone communication. It can’t be attached to or embedded in other communications. That means you cannot include it on your website (as all the information on your website will probably be deemed to be part of the “notice” and it will likely fail the tombstone rule) and you cannot include it in announcements about new products — again, it will fail the tombstone rule. 

We have listed some examples of permissible communications in Exhibit A. 

Websites 

It’s a bad idea to include ANY information about the terms of the offering on your website. However, some issuers have found a clever solution: you can create a landing page that sits in front of your regular website. The landing page can include the tombstone information and two options: either investors can continue to your company’s regular webpage OR they can go to the platform to find out more about the offering on the platform. We have attached sample text for landing pages on Exhibit A. 

“Invest now” buttons 

Under the SEC’s current interpretations as we understand them, having an “invest now” button on your website with a link to the platform hosting your offering is fine although you should not mention any terms of the offering on your website unless your ENTIRE website complies with the tombstone rule. Most of them don’t. 

Social Media 

As we mention above, the medium of communication is not limited at all, even for tombstone communications. Companies can use social media to draw attention to their offerings as soon as they have filed their Form C with the SEC. Social media are subject to the same restrictions as any other communications: either don’t mention the offering terms at all or limit content to the tombstone information. 

Emails 

“Blast” emails that go out to everyone on your mailing list are subject to the same rules as social media: either don’t mention the offering terms at all or limit content to the tombstone information. Personalized emails to people you know will probably not be deemed to be advertising the terms of the offering, so you can send them, but be careful you don’t give your friends any more information than is on the platform — remember the rule about giving everyone access to the same information. 

Images 

Images are permitted in tombstone communications. However, these images also have to fit within the “tombstone” parameters. So brevity is required. Publishing a few pictures that show what the company does and how it does it is fine. An online coffee table book with hundreds of moodily-lit photos, not so much. Also, a picture tells a thousand words and those words better not be misleading. So use images only of real products actually currently produced by the company (or in planning, so long as you clearly indicate that), actual employees hard at work, genuine workspace, etc. No cash registers, or images of dollar bills or graphics showing (or implying) increase in revenues or stock price. And don’t use images you don’t have the right to use! (Also, we never thought we’d need to say this, but don’t use the SEC’s logo anywhere on your notice, or anywhere else.) 

While the “brevity” requirement doesn’t apply to non-terms communications, the rules about images not being misleading do. 

Videos 

Videos are permitted. You could have the CEO saying the tombstone information, together with video images of the company’s operations, but as with images in general, the video must comport with the tombstone rules. So “Gone with the Wind” length opuses will not work under the tombstone rule, although they are fine with non-terms communications. 

Updates and communications to alert investors that important information is available on the platform 

Updates can and should be found on the crowdfunding platform. You can use communications that don’t mention the terms of the offering, to drive readers to the platform’s site to learn about updates and things like webinars hosted on the platform. They may include links to the platform. 

Press releases 

Yes, they are permitted, but they can’t contain very much. Press releases are also laden with potential pitfalls, as we discuss below. Press releases that mention the offering terms are limited to the same “tombstone” content restrictions that apply to all notices. Companies may say that they are pleased (or even thrilled) to announce that they are making a crowdfunding offering but the usual quotes from company officers can’t be included (unless those quotes are along the lines of “ I am thrilled that Company will be making a crowdfunding offering,” or “Company is a software-as-a-service provider with offices in six states”). The “about the company” section in press releases is subject to the same restrictions and if the press release is put together by a PR outfit, watch out for any non-permitted language in the “about the PR outfit” section of the press release (nothing like “Publicity Hound Agency is happy to help companies seeking crowdfunding from everyday investors who now have the opportunity to invest in the next Facebook”). 

You could also issue non-terms press releases that state you are doing an offering (and you can identify or link to the platform) but don’t include terms and still include all the soft info, including quotes, mission statements and deep backgrounds. It’s likely, though, that journalists would call asking “So what are you offering, then?” and if you answer, you are going to make your non-terms communication into communication that fails the tombstone rule. 

Press interviews and articles 

Interviews with the media can be thorny because participation with a journalist makes the resulting 7 article a communication of the company. In fact, the SEC Staff have stated that they don’t see how interviews can easily be conducted, because even if the company personnel stick to the tombstone information (which would make for a pretty weird interview), the journalist could add non-tombstone information later, which would result in the article being a notice that didn’t comply with the tombstone rule. 

The same thing could happen with interviews where the company tries to keep the interview on a nonterms basis. The company personnel could refrain from mentioning any terms (again, it’s going to be pretty odd saying, “Yes, we are making an offering of securities but I can’t say what we are offering”), but the first thing the journalist is going to do is get the detailed terms from the company’s campaign page on the platform’s site, and again the result is that the article becomes a non-complying notice. 

These rules apply to all articles that the company “participates in.” This means that if you (or your publicists) tell the press, “Hey, take a look at the Company X crowdfunding campaign” any resulting article is probably going to result in a violation of the rules. By you. 

Links to press articles are subject to all the same rules discussed in this memo. If you link to an article, you are adopting and incorporating all the information in that article. If the article mentions the terms of the offering then you can’t link to it from a non-terms communication (such as your website) and if it includes soft non-terms information, then you can’t link to it from a tombstone communication. And if it includes misleading statements, you are now making those statements. 

Remember that prior to the launch of the offering you should not be talking about your campaign with the press (or publicly with anyone else). If you are asked about whether you are doing a campaign priorto launch you should respond with either a “no comment” or “you know companies aren’t allowed to discuss these matters.” No winking (either real or emoji-style.) 

Press articles that the company did not participate in 

In general, if you (or your publicists) didn’t participate in or suggest to a journalist that he or she write an article, it’s not your problem. You aren’t required to monitor the media or correct mistakes. However, if you were to circulate an article (or place it or a link to it on your website), then that would be subject to the rules we discuss in this memo. You can’t do indirectly what you can’t do directly. 

Also, if you add (or link to) press coverage to your campaign page on the platform’s site, you are now adopting that content, so it had better not be misleading. 

Demo Days 

Demo days and industry conferences are subject to many of the same constraints that apply to press interviews. In theory, you could limit your remarks to a statement that you are raising funds through crowdfunding, but in reality people are going to ask what you are selling. You could say “I can’t talk about that; go to SuperPortal.com,” but that would lead to more follow-up questions. And following the tombstone rules means you can’t say too much about your product, which rather undermines the whole purpose of a demo day. 

Demo days might be easier to manage when you are still in the testing-the-waters phase. 

“Ask Me Anythings” 

The only place you can do an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) that references the terms of the offering is on the 8 platform where your offering is hosted. You can’t do AMAs on Reddit. Unless you limit the AMA to nonterms communications or tombstone information. In which case, people aren’t going to be able to ask you “anything.” 

Product and service advertising 

As we mentioned above, once you’ve filed your Form C, ordinary advertising or other communications (such as putting out an informational newsletter) can continue and can even be ramped up. Most advertising by its nature would constitute non-terms communication, so it couldn’t include references to the terms of the offering. So don’t include information about your offering in your supermarket mailer coupons. 

What about side by side communications? 

You are doubtless wondering whether you could do a non-terms Tweet and follow it immediately with a tombstone Tweet. It appears, at least for the moment, that this works. There is the possibility that if you tried to put a non-terms advertisement right next to a tombstone advertisement in print media or online, the SEC might view them collectively as one single (non-complying) “notice”. It is unclear how much time or space would need to separate communications to avoid this problem, or even whether it is a problem. 

“Can I still talk to my friends?”

Yes, you can still talk to your friends face to face at the pub (we are talking real friends, not Facebook friends, here) and even tell them that you are doing a crowdfunding offering, even before you file with the SEC. You aren’t limited to the tombstone information (man, would that be a weird conversation). After you’ve launched the offering, you can ask your friends to help spread the word (that’s the point of social media) but please do not pay them, even in beer or donuts, because that would make them paid “stock touts.” Don’t ask them to make favorable comments on the platform’s chat board either, unless they say on the chat board that they are doing so because you asked them to. If they are journalists, don’t ask them to write a favorable piece about your offering. 

“What if people email me personally with questions?” 

Best practice would be to respond “That’s a great question, Freddie. I’ve answered it here on the SuperPortal chat site [link]”. Remember the Congressional intent of having all investors have access tothe same information. 

Links 

As we’ve seen from the discussion above, you can’t link from a communication that does comply with the rule you are trying to comply with to something that doesn’t. So for example, you can’t link from a Tweet that doesn’t mention the offering terms to something that does and you can’t link from a tombstone communication to anything other than the platform’s website. 

Emoji 

Emoji are subject to antifraud provisions in exactly the same way as text or images are. The current limited range of emoji and their inability to do nuance means that the chance of emoji being misleading is heightened. Seriously people, you need to use your words. 

 

After the offering 

These limitations only last until the offering is closed. Once that happens you are free to speak freely again, so long as you don’t make any misleading statements. 

And what about platforms? 

The rules for publicity by platforms are different, and also depend on whether the platform is a broker or a portal. We have published a separate memo for them. CrowdCheck is not a law firm, the foregoing is not legal advice, and even more than usual, it is subject to change as regulatory positions evolve and the SEC Staff provide guidance in newly-adopted rules. Please contact your lawyer with respect to any of the matters discussed here. 

 

Exhibit A Sample Tombstones

  • Company X, Inc. 

[Company Logo] 

 

Company X is a large widget company based in Anywhere, U.S.A. and incorporated on July 4, 1776. We make widgets and they come in red, white, and blue. Our widgets are designed to spread patriotic cheer. 

 

We are selling common shares in our company at $17.76 a share. The minimum amount is $13,000 and the maximum amount is $50,000. The offering will remain open until July 4, 2021. 

 

This offering is being made pursuant to Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act. 

For additional information please visit: https://www.SuperPortal.com/companyx or Invest Button URL Link direct

  • Freddy’s Ferret Food Company is making a Regulation CF Offering of Preferred Shares on FundCrowdFund.com. Freddy’s Ferret Food Company was incorporated in Delaware in 2006 and has its principal office in Los Angeles, California. Freddy’s Ferret Food Company makes ferret food out of its four manufacturing plants located in Trenton, New Jersey. Freddy’s Ferret Food is offering up to 500,000 shares of Preferred Stock at $2 a share and the offering will remain open until February 2, 2021. For more information on the offering please go to www.fundcrowdfund.com/freddysferretfoodcompany. 

 

Sample “non-terms” communications 

  • We are doing a crowdfunding offering! We planning to Make America Great Again by selling a million extra large red hats and extra small red gloves with logos on them, and to bring jobs back to Big Bug Creek, Arizona. The more stuff we make, the greater our profits will be. We think we are poised for significant growth. Already we’ve received orders from 100,000 people in Cleveland. Invest in us TODAY, while you still can and Make Capitalism Great Again! [LINK TO PLATFORM]. 
  • Feel the “Burn”! We are making a crowdfunding offering on SuperPortal.com to raise funds to expand our hot sauce factory. Be a part of history. Small investors have been screwed for years.This is your chance to Stick it to the Man and buy securities in a business that has grown consistently for the last five years. 

 

Sample Communications on Social Media:
Note all these communications will have a link to the platform. 

 

  • Company Y has launched its crowdfunding campaign; click here to find out more. 

 

  • Interested in investing in Company Y? Click here. 

 

Sample Landing Page: 

Thanks to Regulation CF, now everyone can own shares in our company. 

 

[Button] Invest in our Company 

[Button] Continue to our Website

 

CrowdCheck is not a law firm, the foregoing is not legal advice, and even more than usual, it is subject to change as regulatory positions evolve and the SEC Staff provide guidance in newly-adopted rules. Please contact your lawyer with respect to any of the matters discussed here.

Small Businesses and Their Economic Success

Small businesses have always been an integral part of the economy, contributing to job creation and economic growth. Over the last decade, small businesses have faced a variety of challenges, including economic downturns, government regulations, and evolving consumer preferences. Despite these difficulties, small businesses have continued to play a significant role in driving economic success. In this blog, we’ll examine the level of success small businesses have achieved in the economy over the last decade and how JOBS Act regulations have impacted this success.

 

The Role of Small Businesses in the Economy

 

Small businesses are often referred to as the backbone of the economy. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses account for 44 percent of US economic activity and employ nearly half of the country’s private sector workforce. In fact, there are 33.2 million small businesses in the United States and they created 8.7 million jobs created between March 2020 and March 2021. Small businesses also contribute to innovation and competition in the marketplace, which in turn drives economic growth

 

Small Business Challenges and Successes

 

Over the last decade, small businesses have faced a variety of challenges, including the great recession, rising costs, and increased competition from online retailers. Despite these challenges, small businesses have continued to achieve success in the economy. With eight out of ten small businesses having no employees and 16% of small businesses having up to 19 employees, this sector of the economy is mostly driven by individuals who can take risks and innovate for growth.

 

Meaning, small business growth often depends on entrepreneurs’ risk-taking capability and ability to identify profitable opportunities. Additionally, the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012 has enabled small businesses to access capital more easily than ever before. The act allows businesses to raise money from investors without having to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This allows smaller organizations that are still private to raise millions of dollars in capital while tapping into a much wider pool of potential investors.

 

The Impact of JOBS Act Regulations on Small Business Success

 

The JOBS Act allows companies to use SEC exemptions from registration, which include:

 

  • Reg CF to raise up to $5 million
  • Reg A to raise up to $75 million
  • Reg D to raise an unlimited amount of capital

 

These capital-raising methods allow small businesses to access a much wider pool of potential investors, obtain higher levels of capital, and achieve greater success in the economy. By allowing organizations to tap into an audience of investors they would have not had access to previously, the JOBS Act has enabled small businesses to build relationships with their customers, grow their operations, and create good jobs in local economies. With the continued support of government regulations and technological advancements, small businesses are poised to play an even greater role in driving economic success in the years to come.

Approaching the 11th Anniversary of the JOBS Act

Eleven years ago, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law in a White House Rose Garden ceremony. Looking back on this landmark legislation, we see its impact has been far-reaching. From increased access to capital for small businesses to the rise of new markets for investment opportunities, the JOBS Act has reshaped how companies raise funds and spur economic growth. In 2022, $150.9 B was raised through Regulations A+, CF, and D, showcasing the tremendous power of these regulations for companies. As we mark the 11th anniversary of this game-changing law, let’s look at what it has accomplished and how it is (still) changing the capital formation landscape.

 

David Wield: The Father of the JOBS Act

 

David Weild IV is a veteran Wall Street executive and advisor to U.S. and international capital markets. He has become well known as a champion of small business as the “Father of the JOBS Act”. Signed into law by President Barack Obama in April 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act has opened up access to capital markets, giving small businesses and startups the ability to raise money from a much larger pool of investors. Wield has remarked that this was not a political action; it was signed in “an incredibly bipartisan fashion, which is really a departure from what we’ve generally seen. It actually increases economic activity. It’s good for poor people, good for rich people. And it adds to the US Treasury”.

 

As such, Weild is seen as a leading figure in the JOBS Act movement, inspiring the startup community to break down barriers and build the future. He has helped make it easier for companies to become public, empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses. Furthermore, Weild’s efforts have allowed more investors to participate in capital markets.

 

Benefitting from the JOBS Act

 

At the inception of the JOBS Act in 2012, non-accredited investors were only allowed to invest up to $2,000 or 5% of their net worth per year. This was designed to protect non-accredited investors from taking on too much risk by investing in startups, as these investments would likely be high risk and high reward. Since then, the JOBS Act has expanded to allow non-accredited investors to invest up to 10% of their net worth or $107,000 per year in startups and private placements.  

 

For companies they were initially allowed to raise:

 

  • Up to $50 million in RegA+ offerings
  • $1 million through crowdfunding (RegCF)
  • Unlimited capital from accredited investors under RegD

 

These numbers have grown significantly since 2012, with:

 

  • Reg A allowing $75 million to be raised
  • Reg CF allowing $5 million to be raised

 

These rules have opened the door for startups to access large amounts of capital that otherwise may not have been available to them. This has allowed more companies to grow, innovate and create jobs in the U.S.

 

How Much has Been Raised with JOBS Act Regulations?

 

The JOBS Act regulations have revolutionized how capital is raised by companies and how investors access new markets. According to Crowdfund Insider, companies have raised:

 

  • $1.8 Billion from July 2021 to June 2022 with RegA+
  • $2.3 trillion with RegD 506(B)
  • $148 trillion with RegD 506(C)
  • $506.7 million with RegCF

 

Since its formation in 2012, the JOBS Act has opened up a variety of avenues for entrepreneurs to access capital. The exempt offering ecosystem has allowed innovators to raise large sums of money with relatively fewer requirements than a traditional public offering, while still requiring compliance and offering investors protection. This has enabled companies to stay in business and grow, allowing the US economy to remain competitive on the global stage.

 

Insights from Industry Leaders

 

Expanding the discussion about capital formation, KoreConX launched its podcast series, KoreTalkX in April 2022. Through this platform, we’ve hosted many thought leaders and experts to share their insights on capital-raising strategies and compliance regulations. Guests have included renowned thought leaders including David Weild, Jason Fishman, Shari Noonan, Joel Steinmetz, Jonny Price, Douglas Ruark, Sara Hanks, and many others. Each of these episodes has explored topics in-depth to provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to be successful when raising capital from investors.

Understanding the JOBS Act for Real Estate

Real Estate has become increasingly popular as an asset class in recent years and investors are eager to put their money into this space. However, the high capital requirements associated with real estate investments have been a large barrier for many individuals. From February 27th to March 3rd, the KoreSummit event “Real Estate + JOBS Act + Tokenization = Liquidity” will discuss the potential of blockchain technology and tokenization for transforming this industry.

 

Day 1

 

On day one of the summit, the discussion will be centered around why real estate is an attractive asset class and what steps can be taken to help make it more accessible to a wider range of investors. Douglas Ruark, Frank Bellotti, Nathaniel Dodson, and Oscar Jofre will speak during the first day’s panel, which is sure to provide valuable insight into the industry as well as the potential opportunities that could arise with the use of tokenization and blockchain technology.

 

Day 2

 

The second day of the summit will be focused on fractional ownership, a concept that makes it possible for multiple investors to own a single asset, and attracting the right investors. Laura Pamatian, Oscar Jofre, Peter Daneyko, Richard Johnson, Tyler Harttraft, Andrew Cor, and Jillian Bannister will be leading these discussions, which will provide attendees with an understanding of how fractional ownership can help to make real estate investments more affordable and accessible while attracting the right investors.

 

Day 3

The third day of the summit will be all about identifying which SEC exemption is right for raising Capital. Douglas Ruark, Peter Daneyko, Chris Norton, Nathaniel Dodson, Oscar Jofre, and Louis Bevilacqua will explain how to make the offering to retail, institutional, and accredited investors. These sessions will provide a great opportunity to learn from the experts and gain insight into how to ensure that your projects reach the right investors.

 

Day 4

 

The fourth day of the summit will focus on what companies should do once their real estate offerings are live. Panelists will include Kim LaFleur, Mona DeFrawi, Andrew Corn, Peter Daneyko, Amanda Grange, and Ryan Frank. This session is sure to provide attendees with valuable information about understanding what steps to take once their offering is live.

 

Day 5

 

The final day of the summit will look at private real estate shares and how they can be traded. Peter Daneyko, Kiran Garimella, Lee Saba, James Dowd, Frank Bellotti, and Laura Pamatian will provide insight into the concept of tokenization for private shares and how it can help to bring liquidity to this sector.

 

The upcoming KoreSummit is sure to provide invaluable insight into real estate and how blockchain technology and tokenization can help to make this asset more accessible and liquid. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and gain valuable knowledge on how to successfully launch and promote their offerings. With the JOBS Act paving the way for real estate tokenization, this summit is an ideal way to get ahead of the curve in what is sure to be a huge market in the years to come. 

 

Sign up for the upcoming KoreSummit here

 

Online Capital Formation is Always Available, Even When VC Funding Is Not

The venture capital (VC) industry has been struggling since 2022. Venture funding has dropped by more than 50% since 2022 and late-stage investments have plummeted even more dramatically, down 63%. Online capital raising may be a viable alternative for entrepreneurs seeking funding in an uncertain VC climate.

 

What Is Online Capital Formation?

 

Online capital formation is the process of using digital platforms to raise funds from investors through JOBS Act regulations. Using exemptions from SEC registration such as RegA+ and RegCF, companies can tap into a larger pool of investors beyond traditional VCs and private equity firms. These investments can be accessed by anyone, regardless of their net worth or accreditation status. On the other hand, venture capital firms are typically limited to investing in businesses with high growth potential and start-up costs that require large sums of money. With online capital raising, entrepreneurs can access smaller sums of money from a larger pool of investors. In 2022, companies raised an impressive $494.0 million from RegCF raises and $431.8 from Reg A through over half a million investments. 

 

Benefits of Online Capital Formation

 

Online capital formation offers many benefits for entrepreneurs and investors alike:

 

  1. Access to a larger pool of investors: By using online capital raising platforms, businesses can access a much wider range of investors than traditional VCs or private equity firms. This allows businesses to access capital from individuals and retail investors who may not have the same wealth or investment track record as professional investors.

 

  1. Increased transparency: Online capital raising platforms allow for greater transparency, giving investors more information about an offering before they commit to investing in a particular business. This allows investors to make more informed decisions and reduces the risks associated with investing.

 

  1. Lower cost of capital: Online capital-raising platforms typically charge lower fees than traditional VCs and private equity firms, making it a more cost-effective way to raise funds. Companies are typically able to retain more of their businesses than the VC or private equity route.

 

Available 24/7/365

 

Online capital raising is available 24/7/365, which allows entrepreneurs to access funding when they need it without having to wait for the next round of venture capital or private equity investments. This makes online capital raising a particularly attractive option for businesses that need quick access to funds. This makes online capital raising such as Reg A+, Reg CF, and Reg D an attractive option for companies looking to access funds quickly and efficiently.

 

VCs have traditionally been the go-to source of funding for entrepreneurs, but venture capital investments are dwindling in today’s turbulent economic environment. Online capital raising offers a viable alternative that allows businesses to access a wider pool of investors, increased transparency, and continuous access to capital. With online capital-raising platforms, entrepreneurs can access funding quickly and efficiently without requiring lengthy fundraising cycles. In this challenging economic environment, online capital raising provides a much-needed lifeline for emerging businesses.

The Need for Compliant and Safe Online Capital Formation

In the State of the Union address given by President Joe Biden on February 7th, 2023, he remarked: “Every time somebody starts a small business, it’s an act of hope.” This followed a statement citing the record 10 million Americans who applied to start a new business within the past two years. The President also remarked that Vice President Kamala Harris would continue her work to ensure that these businesses can access the capital they need to thrive. But what does this look like? 

 

As he shared in his speech, there are already major changes to the economy underway. From increasing taxes on capital gains to boosting infrastructure spending, many of Biden’s plans are focused on driving domestic growth. But one area that needs more attention is online capital formation – particularly how to do so in a compliant and safe way. The sheer number of Americans applying for small business startups sheds a light on an urgent need to provide access to capital for these entrepreneurs. 

 

The Benefits of Online Capital Formation

 

In 2012, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act into law. This legislation was designed to make it easier for small businesses to raise capital by loosening specific regulations. Most notably, it enhanced Reg A+ and created Reg CF which allows companies to receive investments from everyday people, sometimes referred to as retail investors. The exemptions from SEC registration have since expanded to increase the amount of capital that can be raised by private companies. As a result, more companies have begun to see Reg A+ and Reg CF as viable alternatives to traditional VC and private equity funding, like medtech, real estate, and cannabis companies.

 

The exemptions have also allowed for capital to be raised online, reducing barriers for entrepreneurs as well. Online capital formation has the potential to provide a great benefit to entrepreneurs by providing access to investment opportunities that they can use to scale their businesses faster and more efficiently. This expansion of capital availability can also help drive economic growth across industries, as well as help create jobs in tech and start-ups. Furthermore, it will allow investors to diversify their portfolios and access new markets.

 

Gary Gensler’s Remarks to the Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee

 

In a separate speech also delivered on February 7th, Gary Gensler of the SEC discussed the importance of private funds and their advisers. He noted, “the people whose assets are invested in private funds often are teachers, firefighters, municipal workers, students, and professors.” While addressing the Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee, Gensler stated that “there may be somewhere in the range of $250 billion in fees and expenses each year” for private funds. This is money that portfolio companies, like small businesses, do not get to use. He called for greater transparency, efficiency, and competition between intermediaries to help both investors and the companies who benefit from these funds.

 

The Need for Compliance and Safety

 

Although online capital formation can be beneficial for entrepreneurs, investors, and the economy at large, it is important that measures are taken to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. This is especially true for private funds and their advisers, as Gensler discussed. The SEC is focused on protecting not just the investor, but also the companies that are seeking capital.

 

To do this, there must be rigorous enforcement of laws and regulations that govern online capital formation. Companies need to ensure that they understand disclosure requirements so that investors can make informed decisions. Additionally, safeguards must be put in place to protect against data misuse and cyber-security risks that can occur when seeking capital online.

 

The Biden Administration’s Role

 

President Biden has expressed his commitment to creating an environment where entrepreneurs can access the capital they need to grow their businesses. He is in support of the JOBS Act and other key initiatives that have been put in place to help small businesses. Additionally, he has directed his Administration to focus on creating more jobs, including ones in tech and alternative energy sectors.

 

For entrepreneurs to access capital more efficiently and safely, online capital formation must be optimized with compliance in mind. This can be done through the implementation of strong regulations, while also encouraging innovation within the sector.

 

Is Reg D Suitable for My Company?

Regulation D (Reg D) is a set of rules established by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that allows companies to raise capital without registering their securities for public sale and is related to, but different than other JOBS Act regulations. Reg D also establishes certain disclosure requirements that companies must comply with when selling securities under this type of offering and offers several advantages for companies seeking to raise capital, these include:

 

  • Ability to raise capital from accredited and some nonaccredited investors
  • Reduced disclosure requirements, and faster access to capital
  • No limits on offering sizes

 

However, there are also certain drawbacks associated with Reg D. For example, companies must comply with state regulations that may require disclosure of notices of sale or the names of those who receive compensation in connection with the sale. Additionally, the benefits of Reg D only apply to the issuer of the securities, not to affiliates of the issuer or to any other individuals who may later resell them.

 

What is Reg D?

 

Reg D is a set of rules established by the SEC to help companies raise capital without registering their securities for public sale. The regulations are designed to make it easier for businesses to access capital markets and take advantage of potential investors who were not previously able to invest in private offerings.

 

Under Regulation D, companies are allowed to raise capital without registering their securities with the SEC under rule 506. Under Rules 506(b) and 506(c), companies are not limited to the amount of capital that can be raised. However, offerings under rule 506(b) cannot use any form of general solicitation, which means they need to rely on their networks of accredited investors. In addition, 506(b) offerings can have up to 35 nonaccredited investors.

 

Who Can Benefit from Reg D?

 

Reg D can benefit both companies and investors. Companies can access capital markets without registering their securities for public sale, a great alternative to a cost-intensive IPO. Issuers can also raise the capital they need to grow and expand their business, as well as fund future rounds of fundraising that may be accomplished through a Reg CF or a Reg A+ offering.

 

For investors, Reg D offers the opportunity to invest in companies with potentially higher returns than other investments due to the increased risk associated with such investments. The majority of investors must meet specific criteria (such as having an annual income of over $200,000) to be considered accredited investors.

 

Is Reg D Suitable For My Company?

 

The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as your company’s financial situation and whether you can meet the disclosure requirements under Reg D. Companies that may benefit from a Reg D offering include:

 

  • Start-ups or development-stage companies
  • Growing businesses needing additional capital
  • Companies looking to access capital more quickly than they could through a traditional public offering

 

Reg D can be beneficial for companies, as well as accredited investors who meet specific criteria. While there are potential risks associated with a Reg D offering, it may be suitable for your company if you can meet the disclosure requirements and familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations. Ultimately, it is important to consult a qualified securities lawyer to determine if Reg D is the right option for your company.

 

Over the Next Five Years, the Private Capital Market is Expected to Double

Over the past decade, fiscal stimulus and opportunities for liquidity have caused a surge within the private capital markets. Even though this year’s outlook is challenged by increasing borrowing costs and economies cooling, London-based research firm Preqin forecasts that the industry’s global assets under management will double to $18.3 trillion by the end of 2027, from $9.3 trillion currently. The study highlights how investors desire to seek alternative investment types in an economic environment characterized by uncertainties. While the first half of 2022 did see a fundraising drop in private capital by $337 billion from $495 billion in the same period last year. However, by 2023, private capital fundraising is expected to return to 2019 levels as the growing trend of private capital continues.

 

Private equity fundraising hit a record $561 billion in 2021, with North America leading the way, followed by Asia-Pacific and Europe, according to Preqin. According to McKinsey North America had about a 22% growth in private capital markets, compared to Europe with 17% and Asia with 13%. This means that for investors and companies raising capital, the US is a more attractive market than Europe and Asia and is a great place to market your private capital offering, notably through JOBS Act regulations like Reg A+ and Reg CF. 

 

Private markets have been able to continue to grow during this pandemic because of the growth in digitalization and the internet. This has allowed for a decrease in face-to-face interactions, which has made it easier for managers to connect with LPs, as well as an increase in online tools and resources. For example, many fund managers have started using online data rooms, which allow investors to access documents and due diligence materials remotely. In addition, online investor portals have become more popular, providing LPs with 24/7 access to information on their portfolios.

 

The study found that the average private equity fund size has increased over the past decade, while the number of first-time funds has declined. The report attributes this to the “maturing” of the industry and the rise of large institutional investors, which have become an increasingly important source of private capital. Institutional investors, such as pension funds, insurance companies, and endowments, are allocating more of their portfolios to private capital as they seek higher returns. Private markets have outperformed traditional public markets in recent years, but that outperformance is expected to moderate over the next decade. Preqin’s study predicts that private equity returns will net 7.6 percent annually between 2018 and 2027, compared to 6.4 percent for public markets.

 

According to Preqin, the interest in impact investing has also increased in recent years. The firm estimates that there are now more than 3,000 impact funds globally, with assets under management totaling $228 billion. In particular, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations are becoming increasingly important to private capital investors. A majority of private capital firms say that they consider ESG factors when making investment decisions, and almost half of firms say that they have adopted policies or strategies specifically focused on impact investing. As the private capital markets continue to grow, firms need to consider how they can best position themselves to capitalize on this growth.

 

The private capital markets are expected to continue growing in the coming years, presenting a unique opportunity for raising capital. In addition, the growth of the private capital markets may lead to more regulation, as policymakers seek to mitigate risk and protect investors. Overall, the study provides a positive outlook for the private capital markets. For firms looking to take advantage of this growth, it’s vital to consider how they can best position themselves to capitalize on these opportunities. For investors, this means considering which private capital investment opportunities offer the best potential returns. But regardless of how the private capital markets evolve, one thing is clear: they are likely to play an increasingly important role in the global economy.

Cannabis Consumers’ Home Growth Increases Worldwide

As marijuana becomes increasingly legalized all over the world, an interesting trend is developing–an increase in the home-growing of the plant. This can be seen in the US, Canada, and Europe, with more people taking up this activity to ensure they have access to safe, high-quality cannabis, especially in more rural areas where access to dispensaries is limited. Keep reading to learn about what the rise in homegrown means for the global cannabis industry.

 

Global Home-growing Trends

 

Cannabis consumers are growing their own plants at home more frequently worldwide, as laws surrounding cannabis production and consumption continue to change. In Luxembourg, people 18 years or older will now be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes, making it the third country in the world to legalize this activity, after Uruguay and Canada. This new legislation is intended to address the problem of drug-related crime by introducing fundamental changes in Luxembourg’s approach to recreational cannabis use.

 

The decision by the small but financially powerful European country to legalize the production and consumption of the drug is a milestone on the continent, which has been slower to adopt more liberal cannabis laws. Consumption will only be legal within the household, although fines for the possession of a maximum of three grams in public will be reduced considerably from current amounts.

 

In the United States, you can grow cannabis for medical or recreational purposes in 19 states. The rules vary by state, but generally, you are allowed to grow a certain number of plants, and the plants must be at a certain maturity level. For example, in Massachusetts, you are allowed to grow up to six plants, and only three of those plants can be mature. In California, you are allowed to grow up to 25 plants, regardless of maturity level. This increased demand for home growing in the US can be seen because of the numerous benefits it offers. Home-grown cannabis is typically cheaper than store-bought cannabis, and it also allows for more customization and control over the product. With store-bought cannabis, you are at the mercy of the growers and manufacturers, but when you grow your own, you can choose exactly what goes into your product. You can also grow unique strains that may not be available at your local dispensary, just a few reasons why home-grown cannabis has risen in popularity across the globe.

 

In Canada, where recreational cannabis was legalized in 2018, there is a growing trend of cannabis cultivation in people’s homes. This trend can be seen as an effort by consumers to have more control over the quality and price of the product they are buying. In general, when a product is legalized, there is often a surge in demand for that product. The legal status of cannabis has done nothing to slow this trend. As recreational cannabis has become legal in Canada, 10% of the country’s cannabis users grow it at home, according to the National Cannabis Survey (NCS) of 2019. This showcases how there is an increasing demand among cannabis users to be able to grow their own.

 

Creating Business Opportunities

 

With homegrown cannabis becoming more popular, businesses are taking notice and looking for ways to get in on the action. The JOBS Act regulations provide an opportunity for companies to connect with small investors and raise capital through crowdfunding. By using these regulations, companies can crowd-fund their business ventures related to cannabis home-growing. This includes businesses that sell products or services that help people grow cannabis at home or companies that invest in the cannabis home-growing industry.

 

The JOBS Act regulations have been a boon for small businesses and startups, and the cannabis industry is no exception. These regulations have opened up a new avenue of investment for companies involved in the cannabis home-growing industry. By connecting with small investors through crowdfunding, these businesses can raise the capital they need to grow and expand their operations. With global cannabis sales projected to skyrocket, now is the time for businesses to get involved in the home-growing market.

 

Opportunities to Invest in the Private Capital Market

The private equity market is rapidly growing, fueled by expansions to the JOBS Act exemptions in 2021. By 2030, the private capital market is anticipated to grow to a total value of $30 billion. This is largely driven by more companies seeing the potential in regulated crowdfunding through RegA+ and RegCF, and the rising interest of retail investors looking to move into the private space. Plus, research has shown that there is nearly $5 trillion in uninvested funds held by private equity firms alone. In addition, retail investors now represent 25% of the security trading volume in the public markets, a significant increase from the previous decade. According to BNY Mellon, “a new generation of younger retail investors are purchasing equities with the intention of becoming long-term market participants.” These factors have coalesced to create a favorable environment for investments in the private capital market. 

 

With favorable conditions to invest in public companies, there are many emerging and attractive industries for investors. Some of these include:

 

  • Medtech: Every day, companies are creating lifesaving technologies to improve human health and revolutionize medical care. Medtech companies often require high amounts of capital to fund clinical trials, research and development, and the many other processes they must go through. Since offerings limits for RegA+ were expanded to $75M, Medtech companies are increasingly viewing the exemption as a viable choice for raising capital.

 

  • Cannabis: The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, especially as public perception grows more favorable and legalization at the state level spreads across the US. However, cannabis companies are often underserved by traditional financial institutions due to the illegality at the federal level. With RegCF and RegA+, cannabis companies can tap into a vast market of retail investors who are willing to invest in an evolving industry.

 

  • Real Estate: Traditional real estate investments are capital intensive, making them cost prohibitive for many investors who are not high net worth individuals, private equity, or institutional investors. However, with RegA+ and RegCF, retail investors can own fractions of properties. And in, 2020, insurance, finance, and real estate accounted for 53% of qualified RegA+ offerings and 79% of the funds raised through the exemption. This indicates that real estate is an attractive investment opportunity for many investors. 

 

  • Franchises: JOBS Act exemptions create new opportunities for franchisees and franchisors to raise capital. These companies often have existing customers, who can become investors and brand ambassadors.

 

Regardless of the industry, a key component of any offering is the broker-dealer. Many states require issuers to work with a broker-dealer when selling securities in those states. A broker-dealer ensures that the issuer follows all SEC and state securities laws. More importantly, working with a FINRA-registered broker-dealer gives investors confidence by verifying that the issuer has provided all required information for the investors to make a sound investment decision. FINRA protects American investors by ensuring that brokers operate fairly and honestly. Plus, the broker-dealer also completes compliance activities, such as KYC, AML, and investor suitability and due diligence on the issuer themselves. 

 

Working with a broker-dealer ensures that the issuer behaves compliantly and gives the investor peace of mind when investing in one of the many investment opportunities within the private capital market.

 

The JOBS Act as the Founding Father Of A New Economy

April 5th, 2012. On this day, Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, signed the JOBS Act into law. This has touched so many lives in so many ways that simply saying the JOBS act has democratized access to capital, does not fully capture the impact. We are talking about creating jobs, and helping people realize their dreams by developing solutions, and not only about capital markets. We can call the it The Founding Father Of A New Economy.

David Weild IV, father of the JOBS Act, has remarked that this was not a political action; it was signed in “an incredibly bipartisan fashion, which is really a departure from what we’ve generally seen. It actually increases economic activity. It’s good for poor people, good for rich people. And it adds to the US Treasury”.

Expanding Benefits In A New Economy

Five years later, in July, 2017, the SEC started expanding access to the JOBS Act benefits originally available only to emerging growth companies (EGC). These could submit draft registration statements relating to initial public offerings for review on a non-public basis. Permitting all companies (not just EGCs) to submit registration statements for non-public review, provides companies with more flexibility to plan their offerings. 

More Investors empowered by the JOBS Act

Private capital markets have grown more important, as both accredited and non-accredited investors started to be a bigger part of raising capital and actually becoming shareholders. There are more than $5 trillion of uninvested funds currently available, and this number is only expected to grow in the coming years.

ESG

This strategy that considers environmental, social, and governance factors. This investing style has been gaining in popularity in recent years, as more and more investors are looking for ways to invest in companies that positively impact the world. The focus on this kind of company, with strong commitment to ESG concerns, will grow especially among equity crowdfunding. 

Is it safe?

With the private capital markets blooming and so many new firms and platforms surfacing, it is only natural that users, issuers, and even broker-dealers and transfer agents feel confused and overwhelmed with logins and uncertain about compliance issues. This is something that the regulations were very careful about: protecting both investors and issuers, creating safe investment ecosystems.

As the JOBS Act has really opened up new ways to operate as the Founding Father of a new economy, there will be many opportunities for new players to enter the markets. These are very exciting times for being optimistic about the future of our startups.

The SEC Released its 41st Annual Small Business Forum Report

For 41 years, the Securities and Exchange Commission has hosted its annual Small Business Forum. The event, led by the SEC’s Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, aims to gather feedback from both the public and private sectors to improve capital raising and sheds light on many issues facing small businesses and investors to help event participants develop policy recommendations.

 

Highlighting the needs of small businesses within the US is crucial, as they play a vital role in the economy and job creation. Over the past 25 years, 2 out of every 3 jobs created can be attributed to small businesses. These businesses serve as the lifeblood of their communities.

 

Some of the key takeaways from the four-day event included the fact that more entrepreneurs need to be made aware of resources available when raising capital, as many have great ideas, but lack the knowledge and experience to raise capital effectively. This also means expanding access to capital to both underrepresented groups and locations, especially outside of major “tech-hub hotspots.” Additionally, panel discussions highlighted the issues minority entrepreneurs continue to face when seeking traditional funding options, such as venture capital or private equity. These funding methods often rely heavily on networks and connections that exclude many entrepreneurs. 

 

According to sources such as Crowdfund Insider, the Commission has addressed past issues such as democratizing the definition of an accredited investor by empowering a more significant segment of the population to gain access to Reg D private securities offerings. However, other suggestions often face political challenges and regulatory obstacles.

 

Even so, Commissioner Hester Pierce urged the Commission and forum participants to be inspired by the JOBS Act. She also commented: 

 

“Heightening the importance of this year’s Forum is the Commission’s current posture of, at best, indifference, and at times, hostility to facilitating capital formation. As it happens, today is the tenth anniversary of President Obama signing into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. That bipartisan legislation required the SEC to write rules lessening the burdens on small companies seeking to raise capital. Some of the Act’s provisions were things we could have done on our own. Congress and the President got fed up waiting for the Commission to take small business capital formation seriously.”

 

Additionally, Commissioner Allison Lee remarked:

 

“Many investors are business owners and vice versa. And capital raising and investor protection are not at odds with one another or a zero-sum proposition. Rather, investors need appropriate investment opportunities, and investor protection increases investor confidence, which in turn helps promote capital raising. The relationship between the two is symbiotic and we can and should seek to balance the need for both robust capital raising opportunities and robust investor protection.”

 

Hopefully, seeing how the JOBS Act has expanded capital formation will encourage the SEC to continue the momentum and create more tools and resources to support small businesses. In the meantime, companies should explore existing options and opportunities for capital, such as through the JOBS Act. Small businesses should not wait for the SEC to create more opportunities – they should take advantage of the rules and regulations that are currently in place to raise the capital they need to grow their businesses.

4 Ways to Build Better Shareholder Relationships

As a business owner, you know that communication is key to success. But when it comes to shareholders, shareholder communications can sometimes take a backseat. They’ve already invested, so customer communications to generate revenue often steal the show. However, it’s essential to keep shareholders in the loop since they own a piece of the company and are entitled to know what you’re doing with it. After all, the more involved they are, the more willing and able they will be to help, reinvest, or promote the brand. So how can you build strong relationships with your shareholders? While email has been the go-to method for shareholder communication in the past, other options may be more effective in building relationships with your shareholders. Here are four ways to enhance the way you communicate with shareholders, and a good communication strategy will make use of several of these strategies.

 

1. Webinars

Webinars are a great way to connect with shareholders and provide them with valuable information about your company. You can use webinars to give updates on your progress, share financial information, and answer questions from shareholders. Plus, webinars allow shareholders to get to know you and your team better and help put a face to the company. Since webinars can feel like you’re talking with rather than just to your audience, they can help build a powerful connection and establish trust, as well as give you valuable feedback from people who care about the company.

 

2. LinkedIn Page

Having an updated and informative LinkedIn page is a great way to connect with shareholders online. Use your page to share company updates, industry news, and other relevant information that shareholders might find useful. You can also use your LinkedIn page to answer shareholder questions and build relationships with them. By maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn, you can show shareholders that you’re committed to keeping them updated on your company. By providing value on your LinkedIn page, you can also attract new shareholders who may be interested in investing in your company.

 

3. Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to share detailed information about your company with shareholders. You can use podcasts to give updates on your progress, share financial information, and answer questions from shareholders. By providing valuable information in your podcasts, you become an industry influencer by providing this information and can more easily build trust with shareholders that are listening. You can also interview other industry leaders whose thoughtful insights into your industry your audience may find informative.

 

4. Shareholder Management Tools

After your successful RegA+ or RegCF offering, you can anticipate many new shareholders to welcome on board. As shareholders, they have a vested interest in how your company performs. Thankfully, shareholder management is streamlined when you eliminate Excel sheets, CRM, or email. The Shareholder Management solution from KoreConX sets the new standard, empowering you and shareholders with transparency, compliance, and confidence. Keep shareholder documents secure and engage shareholders with portfolio management tools that allow them to see detailed information about their investments. To learn about the many great features of the KoreConX platform, get in touch with our team for a demo or any additional information. 

 

The most important thing you can do to build relationships with shareholders is to maintain communication with them. Whether you’re using email, webinars, podcasts, or blogs, make sure to keep shareholders updated on your progress and answer any questions they might have. By maintaining regular communication with shareholders, you can show them that you’re committed to keeping them informed and building trust with them.

Jumpstart Our Business Startups: Democratizing Access To Capital

The JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) reached its 10th anniversary in 2022 and we keep working on education to empower people through private capital markets. Even though it has already been a decade, we are still clearing the land to open up more opportunities. The Wharton Magazine anticipated that the JOBS Act would be as impactful in changing how we allocate capital as social media has been in how we manage time. Both entrepreneurs and regular people, such as customers, are able to be part of the financial market. Brand advocates, for example, can easily become shareholders, democratizing access to capital.

 

Meaningful changes

 

Title V in the JOBS Act raised the number of possible shareholders to 2,000, while 499 can be non-accredited. To give an exact feel of how deep this change is, before the JOBS Act, the maximum number of shareholders was 500, all of whom had to be accredited. This opens up opportunities for nearly everyone who wants to invest in the private capital market. And the bigger pool of potential investors also benefits the companies looking to raise capital. 

 

With regulations such as A (RegA+) and crowdfunding (RegCF), both accredited and non-accredited investors can be part of capital raising. Companies do not need to go public anymore to raise capital as entrepreneurs maintain control. Using RegA+, companies can now raise up to $75 million every 12 months. For RegCF, the limit is $5 million.

 

Market size

 

There are plenty of possibilities that arise from the regulations and how they change companies’ perspectives. The available pool of capital is expected to reach up to $30 trillion by 2030, making it a promising resource for companies. Also, there are several online services and platforms that have come up in recent years, such as KoreConX, but we will talk about those in other posts.

 

Equity Crowdfunding with RegCF

 

This form of capital raising for non-accredited investors is very new (2016) but it has shown steady growth since it was introduced. In its first full year (2017), $76.8 million were raised like this. In 2021, this number skyrocketed to $502 million. Startup customers, closest clients in a database, and closest network members can become valuable investors. Brand advocates can be more motivated to make a difference in a startup’s life once they can become shareholders.

 

RegA+

 

Although there are great possibilities for companies going for a RegA+, there are still some important investments involved. As a general rule, it is a good idea to be ready to spend at least $250,000 on a successful RegA+ offering. There are several steps that have to be accomplished, such as filing, which involve fees for lawyers and auditors, broker-dealer firms, investor acquisition costs like PR/advertising and social media, and online roadshows.

 

How Regulations Democratize Access to Capital

 

If you think about it, democracy is all about empowering as many people as possible to participate in and have a say in how society develops. The JOBS Act does that first and most directly by giving ordinary people more opportunity to own a stake in businesses, to become shareholders. But that wider pool of potential investors also empowers more entrepreneurs to get the funding to bring their ideas to fruition, which in turn creates jobs, empowering still more people to participate and, if they choose, to make their own investments. The entire ecosystem flourishes.

 

If you want to understand more about how the regulations help business grow and jumpstart our business startups, you can take a closer look at presentations from the father of the JOBS Act, David Weild IV, founders, funding portals and investors in our YouTube Channel.

Why RegA+ Offerings Fail

When it comes to RegA+ offerings, there are several reasons they may fail: a failure to comply with regulatory requirements, a failure to budget for the offering properly, or a failure to assemble sufficient expertise. Most of these can be attributed to a lack of commitment; if organizations do not take these necessary components of the process seriously, then RegA+ offerings are set up for failure from the start.

 

Compliance for RegA+ Raises

 

Complying with regulations is one of the most important aspects of a RegA+ offering. However, many companies try to cut corners regarding compliance, thinking they can save time and money. This is a huge mistake that can have disastrous consequences. Not only will failing to comply with regulations result in fines and penalties, but it can also jeopardize the entire offering. When experiencing an audit or investigation, companies that have not been compliant with regulatory requirements often face much harsher consequences than those who have made an effort to stay compliant. Even if the raise completes without fines or penalties from the regulator, sloppy or half-hearted compliance raises the risk of being sued by an investor for some real or imagined offense. By wholeheartedly committing to the spirit and letter of the regulations from day one, and with the assistance of professionals well-versed in the regulatory requirements (a FINRA broker-dealer, an escrow agent, or an SEC-registered transfer agent), you can increase your chances of a successful RegA+ offering while protecting your company from potential legal problems down the road.

 

Budgeting for a RegA+ Raise

 

Budgeting is essential for a successful offering. Companies must have the proper funding to hire professionals, comply with regulations, and market the offering effectively. Without adequate funding, a company is likely to run into problems along the way. A RegA+ raise is a complex and costly undertaking, and companies should be prepared to commit the necessary funding before beginning the process. Including a well-thought-out budget in your business plan is one of the keys to success when raising capital through a RegA+ offering.

 

Affinity Marketing

 

Many companies turning to RegA+ aren’t just looking to raise capital; there’s something they want to do with the capital. Whether this is a product they want to make or a service they want to provide that they’re passionate about, they’re committed to that mission. Affinity marketing is a great way to connect with like-minded investors, show them that commitment, and bring them on board. This is much harder to do if the company isn’t actually committed to that mission in the first place.

 

Technology and Expertise

 

For issuers learning new technologies and working with experts in a field that they don’t know much about, it can be a daunting process. It takes commitment to learn these new technologies or do what the broker-dealer is advising, understanding that this is the path toward a successful offering. If you’re not sufficiently committed, you might just shrug this off as not worth the cost or effort.

 

Companies should take away from this that a successful RegA+ raise requires a commitment to the process from start to finish. Commitment is a willingness to put in whatever it takes to succeed: to invest the time and resources necessary, comply with regulations, budget appropriately for the offering, and assemble a team of experienced professionals. With a commitment to these essential components, a company can increase its chances of success and avoid the pitfalls that have led to the failure of other RegA+ offerings.

 

What is the Estimated Budget for RegA+ Issuance?

Navigating the fundraising process and understanding how much to budget from a financial standpoint is one of the most frequent questions we receive. In the process of conducting a RegA+ offering ourselves, KoreConX has researched the estimated budget for a RegA+ offering.

 

While the budget varies based on several factors, you need to keep in mind the size of your raise and sector. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to be ready to spend at least $250,000 on a successful RegA+ offering, $50,000 of which should be dedicated to getting your investor acquisition started. Most of your budget will be spent on Investor Acquisition. Now, this will not apply to every company but should serve as a general guide as to what you should expect a RegA+ offering to cost depending on the amount raised. 

 

Estimated Costs for USA-Based Companies:

What Why/ Work to be done When How much
USA Lawyer To file your SEC Form 1A and state filings First step in moving forward $35-$75k 
Auditors Are required to be filed with your Form 1A   First step requirement $3,500 +
SEC/State Filings Required regulatory Filings    $5k 
FINRA Broker-Dealer 8 States require you to have a Broker-Dealer to sell securities to investors  Begin engagement when you start with lawyer  1-3% fees 
Investor Acquisition

  • PR Firm
  • IR Firm
  • Video
  • Social media
  • Media Firm
  • Advertising
  • Webinar
  • Newsletter
  • Publishers
These firms prefer to be engaged right after you file, as the clock begins and gives them only 45-60 days when you go live.  Depending on size of offering you will spend up to $200k-$400k. Before you file your Form 1A  $25-50k at the beginning to start
Investor Relations Director Hire an internal resource to manage incoming inquiries from potential investors.  Handle outbound calls from investor leads. $4,500/month
KoreConX All-In-One platform End-to-end solution $4,500/month
Investment Platform Requires 45-60 days to set up After you retain your lawyer  Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform 
Live Offering During the live offering you will have to pay for ID, AML fees required   Ranges from $0.58/person, these fees are provided at cost
Live Offering During the live offering you will have to pay for your Payment processors ( Credit Card, ACH, EFT,  Crypto, WireTransfer, IRA)   These fees are provided at cost
SEC-Transfer Agent Required as part of your Form 1A filings  After you sign up with lawyer  Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform 
Secondary Market Ability for Shareholders to trade private company shares. Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform 
TradeCheck Report Ability to trade in all 50 states, include Blue Sky registration, and listing National Securities Manual Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform 

 

 

Estimated Costs for Canada-Based Companies:

What Why/ Work to be done When How much
USA Lawyer To file your SEC Form 1A and state filings First step in moving forward $35-$75k 
Canada Lawyer $5k-$10k
Auditors Are required to be filed with your Form 1A   First step requirement $3,500 +
SEC/State Filings Required regulatory Filings    $5k 
FINRA Broker-Dealer 8 States require you to have a Broker-Dealer to sell securities to investors  Begin engagement when you start with lawyer  1-3% fees 
Investor Acquisition These firms prefer to be engaged right after you file, as the clock begins and gives them only 45-60 days when you go live.  Depending on size of offering you will spend up to $200k-$400k Before you file your Form 1A  $25-50k at the beginning to start
Investor Relations Director Hire an internal resource to manage incoming inquiries from potential investors.  Handle outbound calls from investor leads. $4,500/month 
KoreConX All-in-one platform $4,500/month 
Investment Platform Requires 45-60 days to set up After you retain your lawyer  Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform  
Live Offering During the live offering you will have to pay for ID, AML fees required   Ranges from $0.58/person these fees are provided at cost
Live Offering During the live offering you will have to pay for your Payment processors ( Credit Card, ACH, EFT,  Crypto, WireTransfer, IRA)   These fees are provided at cost
Transfer Agent Required as part of your Form 1A filings  After you sign up with lawyer  Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform 
Secondary Market Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform 
KoreTrade Report Ability to trade in all 50 states, published in the Securities Manual Included with your KoreConX All-in-one platform 

Potential and Impact of the Cannabis Sector on Jobs Creation

The cannabis sector is growing fast, and with it, the potential for job creation. A recent study shows that the cannabis industry could create and support an additional 1,250,000+ jobs. As legalization spreads, it creates opportunities for all types of workers and the industry as a whole. Plus, as more companies utilize JOBS Act exemptions, the capital to support this growth is readily available.

 

Expected Job Creation Growth in the Cannabis Industry

 

As the cannabis industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, the need for qualified employees in all areas of the business increases. Vangst, a leading cannabis recruiting agency, filled over 150,000 positions in 2021 alone. With this level of growth projected to continue into 2022 and beyond, it’s evident that the cannabis sector is a significant player in job creation.

 

To get a better understanding of the employment landscape within the cannabis industry, Vangst surveyed over 1,000 professionals working in the space. The results showed that the majority of employees (34.4%) have less than a year’s experience in cannabis. On the other hand, over 30% have been working in the industry for five years or more, indicating opportunities for both experienced professionals and those just starting in their careers. 

 

According to a job report from Leafly, the legal cannabis industry supports the equivalent of 428,059 full-time jobs and created an average of 280 new jobs a day in 2021. In that year, according to New Frontier, legal cannabis sales reached $26.5 billion for the year, and this is expected to reach $32 billion by the end of 2022. This data also calculated the CAGR of the cannabis industry and expects it to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030 to reach more than $57 billion.

 

What This Means for Employment

 

With the sector experiencing its fifth consecutive year of 27% or more annual job growth, the demand for qualified employees in all business areas, from cultivation and production to sales and marketing, will continue to rise. Plus, with 49% of Americans trying cannabis at some point in their lifetime, it is evident that cannabis use is not going anywhere.  Indeed, consumer cannabis use increased by 50% during the pandemic.

 

The cannabis industry is an exciting and ever-changing field that offers ample opportunities for growth and advancement. Cannabis job creation is not only limited to those working in the plant-touching side of the business. The industry provides opportunities for professionals in a wide range of fields, from accounting and finance to human resources and marketing. This means that job creation will not slow down as the industry crosses over into other markets and types of products, providing a unique opportunity for those looking for a career change or those just starting their professional lives.

 

With its fifth consecutive year of high job growth, the cannabis sector shows no signs of slowing. As cannabis is legalized in more states, the industry’s growth is expected to continue to drive employment, especially as cannabis employment growth rates are quickly surpassing other industries.

 

Oscar Jofre Speaks at Franchising Event in Denver, CO

We are always looking for ways to help our clients and the franchise community grow and succeed. That’s why we’re excited that our CEO, Oscar Jofre, got a chance to speak at the “Living in the Roaring 20s: Looking Ahead to a Wild Decade in Franchising” event in Denver, Colorado this week. The event featured dynamic panels of industry leaders. It was a great opportunity to take advantage of a hands-on learning experience, designed to help franchise businesses reach new heights and share key lessons learned from a global pandemic, tools and strategies for risk mitigation, and explore critical trends and new opportunities on the horizon.

 

Oscar was there to share his valuable expertise regarding raising capital. He joined two panels to discuss how crowdfunding can be used by franchisees and franchisors and how NFTs and cryptocurrencies are permanently altering the franchise landscape.

 

In addition to Oscar’s presentation, the event also featured panels on franchise strategy, industry outlook, sustainability, post-COVID best practices, navigating mergers and acquisitions, and much more of interest to anyone in the franchise industry, from those just starting to explore franchising to established professionals looking for ways to take their businesses to the next level. 

 

KoreConX is proud to have been a sponsor of this event, and we hope to see you at the next one!

Private Capital Trends for the Cannabis Industry

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the need for new methods of raising capital. Revenues have doubled over the past three years, and the industry is on track to reach $25 billion annually by 2025, or $14.1 billion for CBD alone, but traditional methods such as bank loans and private equity are often unavailable to cannabis businesses, forcing them to turn to the private market for capital. While often more flexible and forgiving than the public market, the private market can be a challenging place to raise capital without the knowledge and experience. 

 

The Constantly Growing Industry of Cannabis

 

The cannabis industry is changing, and new opportunities for entrepreneurs are coming. Thanks to the JOBS Act, businesses in the cannabis industry can now use regulations like A+ and CF to raise capital from the general public. This offers several advantages, particularly the ability to reach a larger pool of investors and thus raise larger sums of money.

 

However, the most significant advantage of Reg A+ is that it allows businesses to retain more control over their company. Traditional methods of raising capital typically require businesses to give up a larger share of their equity. This is especially beneficial for businesses in the cannabis industry, which is still in its early stages and is constantly changing. With Reg A+, companies can raise capital from the general public while avoiding the costly process of going public. With more control over their company, and the ability to avoid costly IPOs, firms in the cannabis industry can better position themselves for success.

 

Investing in the Private Cannabis Market

 

The private market for cannabis investments is growing rapidly as the legalization of cannabis spreads throughout the US. Entrepreneurs are looking to get in on the ground floor of this new industry, and there are several options available to them when it comes to investing in cannabis. 

 

Private CBD companies, such as Stigma Cannabis and UNITY Wellness, are turning to online capital raising to fund their growth. These diverse companies focus on many aspects of the industry, from CBD supplements to CBD skincare products, and represent only two of many companies innovating in this space. Regulations A and CF provide excellent opportunities for these companies and the investors looking to support them. 

 

Getting started as an investor in the rapidly evolving private cannabis industry can be scary, but it’s also an exciting opportunity with many challenges and rewards. You can make the most of this unique opportunity by educating yourself on the process and available resources, and looking for and researching a private cannabis company that resonates with you as an investor. 

 

For cannabis companies looking to raise capital, the process begins by identifying the team that will help you reach your goals, such as experienced securities lawyers, broker-dealers, investor acquisition firms, transfer agents, and other parties critical to your success. However, you should also consider how you can turn customers into investors and brand ambassadors as they will be essential throughout your capital-raising journey.

 

Cannabis Industry Trends in 2022

 

Cannabis companies are benefiting from increasing consumer acceptance of the product in 2022. In states where cannabis is legal, tax revenue from sales has been significantly higher than predicted. This trend will likely continue as more states legalize cannabis, and the industry becomes more mainstream. It could also remove many barriers to entry for potential investors and entrepreneurs looking to enter the space.

 

Despite the current political environment, which is generally unfavorable to cannabis companies, several bills are making their way through Congress that could positively impact the industry. The SAFE Banking Act, for example, would allow FDIC-insured banks to offer their services to cannabis companies, providing much-needed financial infrastructure. 

 

The industry will almost certainly continue to grow because of the acceptance of cannabis and its use in a variety of products. The cannabis plant produces several compounds with medical, industrial and commercial applications, with THC and CBD only the most well-known.  Developing these products and bringing them to market is creating more jobs, stimulating the economy, and becoming more accepted by people from all walks of life.

 

Growth in the cannabis industry is not likely to slow down anytime soon. Investors and companies interested in the industry should keep a close eye on developments at the state and federal levels and the financial health of companies in the space. With the right mix of factors, the cannabis industry could achieve even greater heights in the years to come.