When crowdfunding burst onto the scene a couple of years ago, it generated huge interest in the startup sector since it created a new source of seed capital. That said, the initial version of crowdfunding has limitations since it is transacted through a rewards-based mechanism.
Since then, we have seen the first phase of equity crowdfunding, under which startups are introduced to accredited investors through intermediaries. This has made it possible for startups to connect with large pools of certified investors within a relatively short time frame.
We are now going into the second equity phase - the introduction of SEC rules which will allow startups to sell shares of their firms directly to the public. The SEC has taken quite a bit of time to sort out these guidelines, which are expected to be released later this year. It remains to be seen how lenient or restrictive these regulations will be.
The event will focus on:
(1) Expected SEC guidelines for Equity Crowdfunding, as they apply to startup firms.
(2) Anticipated structure of transactions between investors and fund raisers.
(3) Will the process be just as rigorous, or more lenient, than the one used for IPOs?
(4) Impact on traditional funding sources - such as angel & venture capital investors?
(5) How will rewards-based crowdfunding be affected, when investors can now receive shares?
(6) How will the phase I equity crowdfunding sector be impacted by this development?
Douglas Ellenoff is a Corporate and Securities attorney at Ellenoff, Grossman & Schole (EGS). EGS has frequently taken part in the establishment of new securities programs, and, in particular, has taken a leading role in regulatory discussions i involving the crowdfunding industry. It represents the trade association CFIRA (Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates) in ongoing discussions with the SEC and FINRA on rules proposed for the sector.
Sang Lee is Founder and CEO of Return on Change, an equity crowdinvesting platform connecting startups and investors in a wide range of Technology, Life Science, and Social Enterprise industries. Campaigns totaling $40 MM are currently in process. He is also the Executive Director of CF50, a global crowdfunding think tank. Sang's primary initiative is to democratize the funding process, and he has been featured Forbes, Huffington Post, and Crains.
Kim Wales is Founder & CEO of Wales Capital, a management consulting firm; and CrowdBureau, a crowdfund investment research and ratings firm. Kim is ranked as one of the top 10 experts in securities-based crowdfunding. She has been quoted in the N.Y. Times, Forbes, Business Week, Bloomberg-TV, and BBC-TV. Kim is an Executive Board Member CFIRA, the industry's lobbying and advocacy trade organization for the JOBS Act that works alongside the SEC.
Important Note: Lee Hecht Harrison has moved across 45th Street to 230 Park Avenue (Helmsley) from 200 Park Avenue (MetLife). This is the first meeting to be held at the new premises.