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意大利:法案实施一周年 股权众筹风头正旺

2013年7月,意大利成为全球首个颁布股权众筹法案的国家。一年之后,这里的股权众筹市场终于正式启动。

意大利采用了零售式股权众筹,不对任何债权人的投资设限。其中"大额度"投资(即个人单次投资额度超过500欧元,年投资额超过1000欧元; 公司投资额度则为个人额度的10倍)的风险投资倾向需依据MIFID(欧洲金融工具市场法规)规定程序由股票经纪人进行强制核查。这意味着,拥有所谓"欧洲护照"的股票经纪人可以在欧盟任何地方接受投资。

小额投资拥有股票经纪规则和MIFID规定的相应豁免权; 尽管如此,股票经纪人仍必须检查投资者的身份,防止洗钱事件发生。

目前,只有创新型初创企业可能通过众筹集资(目前有超过3000家公司符合规定),而到2014年底,众筹集资将发展到所有中小企业。此外,任何在意大利初创的欧洲公司,无论其股东或董事国籍,都可以在网上筹集股权。(政府也在考虑根据这一年的相关经验进行其他一些规则更改,并且可能将针对MIFID II 指令要求进行调整)。

通过使用奖励措施,立法积极鼓励包括创新型初创公司及其投资者参与其中。例如,如果投资者对一个具有社会效应的初创公司进行独立投资,那么作为奖励,投资者可以减免价值投资额度27%的个人税款。

成功的项目投资总额已超过一百万欧元,并集中于三个最先获得授权的融资平台。市场正在逐渐升温:到目前为止,有九个平台已获授权,同时许多其他平台正在等待CONSOB(意大利证券交易委员会)授权,每个平台都对下一个秋季展开了宣传活动。例如:

StarsUp 成功地帮助新创公司Cantiere Savona从44个投资者(其中31个是个人投资)那里筹集了38万欧元,其中仅有2单大额投资(超过5万欧元)和4单中型投资(1.5万欧元到5万欧元之间)。

Unicaseed 已为Diaman Tech成功完成一单价值14.7万欧元的项目投资:该项目针对财务软件操作者,并会为投资者提供大量折扣(事实上,85%的投资者已经是该公司的客户了)。

Assiteca Crowd已达到最高目标, 在Paulownia Social Project项目中筹集52万欧元, 并保持每天超过9000欧元的投资额度注入,平均每个投资者投资额度超过4万欧元。 Paulownia也是第一个通过众筹获取投资的初创公司,因此投资者也在这笔投资中享受了最大额度的奖励。

Paulownia筹款项目将在8周后结束,该项目唯一的例外情况是,股权项目需要更长的时间进行奖励。信息的拓展和投资者教育是其中的两个重要原因:虽然时间已经过去了一年, 但是仍然只有少数人了解股权众筹带来的机遇。

今年秋季将有两个由大学创建的众筹平台开放,以支持学校各项副业。其他一些新平台也宣布了项目重点,它们往往选择纵向经营(例如,可再生能源、粮食等项目)。

上个冬天,欧盟委员会认可(任何一种模式的)众筹是一种破坏性的金融工具,将有助于保持欧盟的经济持续发展,并宣布将逐步了解这一领域, 尽管如此,该组织也确认至少在最近几年不会下达欧洲相关的规例或措施。

几个意大利运营商还是EECA(欧洲股权众筹协会)的创始会员国, 该机构致力于联合各股权众筹平台及服务提供商。创始机构也有一些正在授权过程中的平台,服务提供商和大学。EECA于去年五月在巴黎成立,由来自14个国家的约50个机构组建。EECA将于今年九月在罗马进行首次董事会议。

In Italy, one full year has passed since the enactment of the first equity crowdfunding law in the world and now the Italian market is finally taking off.

Italy has chosen a retail equity crowdfunding model, where everybody is allowed to invest without limits, and where for "big" investments (above €500 per investment and €1000 per year, for individuals; for companies, the figure is ten times these amounts) proclivity to risk investments is compulsorily scanned by broker-dealers under the MIFID procedure (a European regulation). This means that a broker-dealer with the so called "European Passport" is allowed to take investments from anywhere in the EU.

An exemption to the broker-dealer rule and to the MIFID procedure is provided for small investments; nevertheless, broker-dealers have to check the investors' identity for anti-laundering purposes.

At the moment, only innovative startups may be crowdfunded (there are currently over 3000 companies that fit that description), but an extension to any SME has been announced and should be authorized by the end of 2014. Moreover, any European startup having a place of business in Italy is allowed to raise equity on the web, regardless the nationality of its shareholders or directors. (The government is also considering some other tweaks to the rules, with a year of experience under the belt and anticipating some changes required by the MIFID II Directive.)

Legislation is strongly encouraging the players of this market, through big incentives offered to innovative startups and their investors. For example, an individual investing in a startup that has social impact is entitled to deduct 27 percent of his investment from his or her personal taxes.

Successful projects have surpassed the first €1 million, spread largely among the three initial authorized platforms. And the market is fizzing: to date, nine platforms have been authorized, and many other are under authorization process with CONSOB (the Italian version of the SEC), each one announcing campaigns for next fall.

StarsUp has successfully helped Cantiere Savona to raise €380,000 from 44 investors, 31 of which were individuals, and collecting only 2 large investments (over €50,000) and 4 medium-szed investments (between €15,000 and €50,000).

Unicaseed has closed a €147,000 deal for Diaman Tech: a project about software for financial operators, that enjoyed big benefit offering discounts to the investors (indeed, 85 percent of the investors where already clients of the company).

Assiteca Crowd has achieved the highest goal, hitting a €520,000 target with Paulownia Social Project, keeping a rhythm of over €9000 per day, and averaging more than €40,000 per investor. Paulownia was also the first startup being crowdfunded and therefore offered investors the maximum incentives available.

With the only exception of Paulownia, which closed in 8 weeks, equity projects have demonstrated the need of longer timing then reward projects. The reason is clearly in the need of information and education: even a year on, few people are aware of the opportunity offered by equity crowdfunding.

Two of the upcoming platforms about to open in the fall are platforms created by universities, in order to sustain their own spin offs. Some of the other newcomers are also announcing a focus, often choosing to operate vertically (for instance, in renewable energy, food, etc.).

In the winter, the European Commission confirmed the interest for crowdfunding (any model) as a disruptive financial tool, suitable to sustain the economic development in the European Union and announced steps in order to better understand the matter, although it has been announced that no European regulation or measure will be issued for a couple of years at least.

Meanwhile, several Italian operators have been among the founding members of the EECA - the European Equity Crowdfunding Association, a body aiming to unite equity crowdfunding platforms and service providers. Among the founders there are also platforms under authorization process, service providers, and universities. EECA, founded in Paris last May, counts about 50 members from 14 different countries. It will keep its first board meeting in September, in Rome.


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