Articles Posted in Crowdfunding

In 1974 the  Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”)  adopted Rule 147 as a “safe-harbor”  for intrastate offerings under Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Act.”)  On October 30, 2015, the SEC proposed sweeping changes to Rule 147. Notably, the proposed Rule 147 would be “decoupled” from Section 3(a)(11), instead being proposed under the SEC’s general exemptive authority in Section 28 of the Act.

Substantively, the proposal – while still limited to offerings entirely within one state – significantly liberalizes the restrictions on intrastate offerings contained in the current Rule 147 and Section 3(a)(11). First, it allows general solicitation across state lines (i.e., using the Internet), whereas such solicitation is now widely seen as problematic due to the current statutory and regulatory prohibition against offers outside the offering state.  The new rule does not prohibit interstate offers, but simply requires that all sales be made to residents of one state.

Also, the current Rule 147 provides that an issuer can make offers or sales only (i) in the state in which it is incorporated or organized; (ii) in the state where its principal office is located; (iii) in the state in which it earns 80% or its revenues and has 80% of its assets; and (iv) if 80% of the proceeds of the offering are used in the state.  The proposed Rule 147 basically requires only one of these standards to be met. The proposal also eliminates the requirement that the issuer be incorporated in the state.

Continue reading

Tennessee’s new “Invest Tennessee Exemption” to the state’s securities registration requirements went into effect on January 1, 2015. Like other securities exemption laws recently adopted by other states, Tennessee’s exemption allows for the intrastate offerings of certain securities that do not exceed $1 million. The law sets out the rules for issuers to use this exemption as an alternate way to raise capital.

Under the Invest Tennessee Exemption, securities offerings meeting the following requirements will be exempt from state registration:

Continue reading

On October 22, 2014, Michigan took a significant step to increase investment crowdfunding opportunities for Michigan businesses by becoming the first state to establish an intrastate market where broker-dealers can sell securities of Michigan-based companies. While “crowdfunding” can have different meanings, including rewards-based fundraising campaigns on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, “investment crowdfunding” generally refers to small businesses seeking investment capital in small amounts from a large number of investors.

The signing of House Bill 5273 by Governor Rick Snyder, along with the state’s preexisting registration exemption for securities issued by Michigan businesses under the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (“MILE Act”), allows Michigan business to raise capital over the Internet or though general solicitation by selling the exempt securities within a newly-created alternative intrastate market.
Continue reading

The Indiana Securities Division recently issued an emergency rule to explain new distinctions in Indiana’s crowdfunding exemptions, which became effective July 1, 2014. Indiana’s new rule is similar to Georgia’s “Invest Georgia” rule, which we have previously profiled.

The Invest Indiana Crowdfunding Exemption, Sec. 23-19-2-2(27), permits Indiana-organized entities to offer or sell securities for intrastate offerings to Indiana residents only. The exemption requires the Indiana-organized entity to file with the Indiana Securities Division SEC Form D, which clearly states “Indiana Only” on the first page, and to include a cover letter identifying that the filing is for the 23-19-2-2 (27) exemption, and to include a $100 filing fee. The Exemption details the requirements for both issuers and investors in regards to an Invest Indiana offering.
Continue reading

The Alabama Legislature passed a crowdfunding exemption bill this April, but the bill is still awaiting the Governor’s signature to become effective. Alabama is the eleventh state to enact legislation or develop regulations on this topic. Other states that have adopted crowdfunding exemption bills include, Washington, Idaho, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Maryland, and Maine.

Similar to the approach taken by other states, Alabama’s new legislation is intended to unlock capital and increase access to it for local small businesses and entrepreneurs. While it is still uncertain how successful state measures such as these will be in achieving the goal of increased capital access, the ability of small business owners to raise capital should be enhanced through the relaxation of some of the previous constraints. It is important to note, however, that regulatory agencies will require strict adherence to the new standards in return for less-regulated access to capital. Businesses using the Alabama crowdfunding exemption, and other, similar state exemptions, bear the burden of ensuring its sale of unregistered securities does not run afoul of restrictions governing them.
Continue reading