Technology Law Blog

Showing 36 posts in Crowdfunding.

Seeking Equity Investment? Know the Rules

The term “offer” is broadly defined under the securities laws as "every attempt or offer to dispose of, or solicitation of an offer to buy . . . for value." An offer, even without completion of the sale of securities, can run afoul of the securities laws.

An interesting case from 2011 punctuates this point and demonstrates the risks of unknowingly violating securities laws. Two advertising executives hatched an innovative, although imprudent, plan to purchase Pabst Brewing Company by offering to sell shares on Facebook and Twitter to cover the $300 million cost of the transaction. The campaign, which may have begun as simply a publicity stunt, was wildly successful, attracting five million pledging $200 million. A bit too successful, it turns out.

The SEC soon took notice and halted the campaign via a Cease and Desist Order due to a violation of securities laws by the ad men. They failed to register the public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and could not meet an exemption. A settlement was reached and the men, who never actually collected any money, paid a fine and agreed to stop selling shares to the public.

The SEC, which has an entire enforcement unit devoted to Internet surveillance, is paying increasing attention to online activity. By law, public offerings - online or otherwise - must be registered with the SEC or meet an applicable exemption before promoters begin to offer or sell shares. Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

Michigan Enacts Law Allowing Local Stock Exchanges

On October 22, 2014, Governor Snyder signed Public Act 355 of 2014 into law.  The cardinal rule of securities laws is that a person cannot sell a security unless the security is: (A) registered, or (B) exempt from registration.  Public Act 355 creates a new exemption for secondary sales facilitated by a Michigan Investment Market. Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

Kickstarter and Crowdfunding can provide much needed business funds – and a big tax bill

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform for creative projects. It has helped a wide range of people fundraise to help finance a variety of projects. Often time people overlook the tax implications to successful Kickstarter campaigns. Check out our Tax Law Blog post to learn more about the tax implications>

Categories: Crowdfunding, Tax

New Michigan Crowdfunding Website

Since the passing of the Crowdfunding Act in December 2013, many questions concerning the applicability of the law have surfaced. This past month, the Michigan Municipal League launched CrowdfundingMI.com, a website pertaining to crowdfunding in Michigan. It is an excellent resource intended to answer basic questions and importantly, aimed to help local businesses connect with investors. The website provides general information, along with frequently asked questions, and tutorials regarding the benefits of crowdfunding Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

PART 3: New Michigan Law Permits Intrastate Crowdfunding

Part 1 and 2 of this series discussed the basic requirements that must be met to utilize Michigan’s new intrastate crowdfunding exemption.

This post will discuss the definition of an “accredited investor.” The distinction between accredited and non-accredited investors is important. Non-accredited investors cannot invest more than $10,000 under Michigan’s new intrastate crowdfunding exemption. Accredited investors, on the other hand, are not subject to the $10,000 investment cap. Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

Part 2: New Michigan Law Permits Intrastate Crowdfunding

Part 1 of this series discussed the 12 basic requirements that must be met to utilize Michigan’s new intrastate crowdfunding exemption.

This post will take a deeper look at Requirement 2. As noted in Part 1, Requirement 2 states that the offer must meet the requirements for the federal exemption for intrastate offerings under Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”). Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

New Michigan Law Permits Intrastate Crowdfunding

Note: This post is Part 1 of a multi-part series regarding Michigan's new crowdfunding law

It's official, crowdfunding is legal in Michigan. So, what does that mean for your business? Let's start with the basics.

Federal and state law prohibit a business from selling a security unless: (A) the security is registered with the SEC, or (B) an exemption from registration is applicable. Registration is expensive, so nearly all businesses try to satisfy an exemption from registration. Historical exemptions have made it difficult for businesses to receive investment from "non-accredited" investors and flat out prohibit "general solicitation" (i.e., public advertising of the investment, including advertising on the Internet). Those historical difficulties, however, have recently been eased. Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

The SEC Proposed Crowdfunding Regulations: Funding Portal's Transaction Responsibilities

Posting of Issuer Disclosures. In prior blog posts, we described the disclosure obligations imposed on the issuer (the company that is raising capital) under the SEC's proposed crowdfunding regulations. (Read: The SEC Crowdfunding Proposed Regulations: Overview of Offering Statement & Non-Financial Disclosure Requirements and The SEC Crowdfunding Proposed Regulations: Overview of Issuer Financial & Disclosure Requirements). The proposed regulations impose certain requirements on the funding portal to make sure that these issuer disclosure obligations are met. Specifically: Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

The SEC Proposed Crowdfunding Regulations: Investor Accounts for Platforms

In the release accompanying the proposed crowdfunding regulations, the SEC explains its view that Congress anticipated that crowdfunding would occur exclusively through electronic media. The SEC's proposed rules are intended to facilitate the exclusive use of electronic media. 

Under the proposed rules, before an investment commitment may be accepted by an intermediary, the intermediary must require the investor to:

  • Open an account with the intermediary; and
  • Provide a consent to the electronic delivery of materials.
Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

The SEC Proposed Crowdfunding Regulations: Required Intermediary Measures to Reduce Fraud

The SEC's proposed crowdfunding regulations include a number of specific steps that an intermediary is required to take in order to reduce the risk that an issuer (the company raising capital) does not use the intermediary's platform to engage in fraud. The intermediary is viewed as a check and balance on the crowdfunding marketplace. Among an intermediary's responsibilities are the following: Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding