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创新企业股权众筹入门须知

“我需要资金,Eric。”

我的收件箱里有几百封这样的邮件。

尽管我回复创业者们要步步为营,尽可能精简到底,但是总还会受到类似的资金求助邮件。

创业的企业家们可以求助于天使投资者、风投家、朋友、银行或者是自家亲戚——但是,他们有没有想过试试众筹呢?

EquityNet的创始人兼CEO Judd Hollas分享了一些有关众筹的建议,你可以借此看看众筹是否适合你的创业项目。

为了让你对基本信息有所了解,让我先告诉你一些数据:去年全球在线众筹行业为上千家现金拮据的企业、慈善机构和初创企业筹集了51亿美元。事实上,根据Massolution 2013年的行业报告,股权众筹平均为每家企业提供的资金是市场上其他众筹方式提供资金的40倍。

简单说来,股权众筹使得企业家能够从那些对初创企业或者私人持有小企业股份有购买兴趣的投资人那里获得融资。与你在Kickstarter和Indiegogo平台上看到的那些普通的融资项目不同,那些项目的创始人是不会出让自己一部分的股权来获取融资的。

如果你在考虑是不是发起股权众筹项目,下文将列出一些建议以供参考,包括3种股权众筹简介,4点项目优化策略意见,以及10个深度挖掘的资源站点。:

3种股权众筹:

I:SEC(证券交易委员会)在1996年因为IPOnet案例而制定的“无应对行动”条款—它允许授信投资者在有密码保护的网站上查看私有企业的投资机会。大部分此类发行人都依赖于D法规的506条例,该条例法案下,投资者数目和融资量均不受限。根据Hollas的建议,这类众筹适合那些无需太多公众注意的企业家或项目。

II:该类众筹主要依据去年9月份实施的《就业法案》第二条,它允许企业家公开就他们的筹资项目广告宣传。此类众筹条件下,授信投资者数目和总融资额仍旧不受限制,但这一切必须通过股权众筹门户完成,这也让企业可以更简单地通过互联网宣传他们的募资需求。这种方式已经成为了最受欢迎的一种,它让创业者有机会接触到更多的投资人。如果你用这种方式筹资,你可能与全美600到800万个达标投资者分享你的项目信息。

Hollas说:“那些想要公开宣传他们的融资需求并且愿意采取一定措施来确定潜在投资者资质的创业者可能就非常适合使用这种融资方式。”

III:这种方式预计可在本年末付诸实践,它能使未授信投资者也参与进来——也就是市场中99%的投资者们。股权众筹平台可以在线募资并出售股份,创业者可接触到的投资人数量将上升到5000万。当然,项目也可能会遇到许多缺乏投资常识的投资人,这也意味着需要出台更多的监管要求,以帮助维护投资者权益。

4个项目资金优化利用建议

1. 建立一个非常稳固的商业模式/计划

我是“商业模式”的忠实粉丝,不太喜欢“商业计划”这个词,但两者的基本逻辑是一样的:你必须向投资者展示出项目的成长动力和消费者认可度,并且证明你的运营计划和市场机遇有机结合。Hollas说:“一个完善的商业计划的优势是不会被夸大的,它不仅保证融资的有效性,还能构建有力的运营框架,帮助罗列优先事项,确定企业估值,计算融资达标所需出让的股权比例。

2,保证自己是合法经营的

出让股权来募集资本带来了责任和监督力度都不容小视,所以一定要事先做好准备工作。请认真了解上文所述三种不同的股权融资模式,因为每一种模式对应的监管水平、投资者类型、可募集资金的数额都是不同的。另外,你可能还需要找个好律师,这是制定私人募资备忘(PPM)的必须条件。Hollas说:“做这些事情有助于保护你还有你的公司,因为这样做就相当于声明了募资所需要遵守的监管规定,并且它也向投资者传达出一个积极的信号,那就是你拥有遵从证券交易委员会监管条例的职业态度。

3. 评估众筹平台
尽管权益类众筹平台简化了融资过程,可供选择的平台数量可能有几百家,但Hollas表示:“如果你想要进行众筹,一定要记住并不是所有的平台水平是完全一致的,要找一家适合自己的,具体来说就是能够遵从自己政策,有效防止欺诈,同时拥有大量专业投资群体和多样众筹工具的平台。

4. 理解你的投资人们
Hollas说:“大多数投资者都会在他们熟悉的行业里寻求投资机会,所以你应该首先关注业内有经验的投资者们。大多数的众筹平台都可以进行此类筛选,所以你一定要充分利用这些功能。

10种众筹工具与资源

CFIRA -众筹中介机构调解者

众筹行业的尖端专家在《就业法案》发布之后组建了这个组织,他们与SEC、FINRA以及其他政府部门合作,共同为众筹行业发展制定相关规定。创业者可以通过CFIRA查询各州以及联邦政府的监管措施,同时该组织也提供股权众筹相关的其他行业信息。

Crowdfund Insider—最新动态、新闻、还有教育信息

Crowdfund Insider是一家众筹行业的权威网站,主要关注众筹相关的议题、政策和影响性事件。它也提供一些基本问题的简短解释,如众筹的不同类型、投资者之间的差异,以及提高融资成功率的策略等。

创业风险计算器

这个创业风险计算器帮助创业者更好地理解商业风险,以及如何提高成功的可能性。计算器的数据来源于50万家北美企业的真实数据。

估值计算器

估值计算器帮助你准确计算企业估值,以及为达到融资目标所需出让的股份比例。EquityNet在北美收集了3000家公司的运营数据,以此作为该估值计算器的基本数据库。

众筹CPA—众筹审计/审阅成本计算器

现有法律要求募资超过50万美元的项目需进行审计,募资超过10万美元的项目需进行审阅。这个计算器可以在开始众筹项目之前算出公司审计或者审阅的成本多少。

Crowdnetic——众筹市场数据与新闻消息

Crowdnetic提供全球范围内众筹平台数据收集的实时市场数据,还有新闻和文章,以及行业领导者们对于众筹现状的原创内容。这个网站也提供许多现有众筹项目的细节,还有审阅众筹市场数据的工具。

Nowstreewire

由Crowdnetic支持推出,包含非常多的新闻来源和教育内容。

与众筹共赢

由“众筹投资之父”运营

笨人的众筹投资

由Sherwood Neiss, Jason Best and Zak Cassady-Dorion共同撰写并在Amazon发售的书籍,让你从投资者的角度(认识众筹)。

Walker公司法律集团

它涉及广泛的博客内容,其间有大量为寻求筹资的企业家准备的内容。

“I need capital, Eric.”

Sitting in my archives are hundreds of emails with the same plea.

And although my comeback tells entrepreneurs to bootstrap and run lean for as long as possible, there does come a time to seek the almighty buck.

Startup entrepreneurs can knock on the door of angels, venture capitalists, friends, banks or their Aunt Milly — but crowdfunding?

Judd Hollas, Founder and CEO of EquityNet, shares helpful details of crowdfunding so you can determine if it’s right for your startup.

To get your arms around this, last year the global online crowdfunding industry raised $5.1 billion for thousands of cash strapped businesses, charities, and startups. In fact, according to Massolution’s 2013 Crowdfunding Industry Report, equity-based crowdfunding raises 40 times more per company than any other type of crowdfunding in the marketplace.

Simply put, equity-based crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to reach investors interested in purchasing equity in their startup or other privately held small business. In stark contrast to your average fundraising effort as seen on platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo where founders do not give up a percentage of ownership in exchange for the cash.

If you ponder the launch of an equity crowdfunding campaign, here are the 3 types of equity crowdfunding, 4 tips to make the most of your efforts and 10 valuable resources to dig deeper:

Three Types Of Equity Crowdfunding

Equity I: Enacted as a result of the IPOnet, SEC No-Action Letter issued in 1996 — it allows foraccredited investors to view private investment opportunities on a password-protected website. The vast majority of issuers who use Equity I rely on Rule 506 of Regulation D, which allows them to raise an unlimited amount of capital from an unlimited number of accredited investors. According to Hollas, this type of crowdfunding would suit entrepreneurs who want to avoid public exposure of their fundraising campaigns.

Equity II: Relies on Title II of the JOBS Act which went into effect last September and allows entrepreneurs to publicly advertise their need for funding. Founders who engage in Equity II can raise an unlimited amount of capital from an unlimited number of accredited investors — all done through equity crowdfunding portals which make it simple to advertise their offerings across the web. Becoming the most popular type of equity crowdfunding, it exposes entrepreneurs to a huge audience of potential investors. In fact, go this route and you can potentially share your business with 6-8 million accredited investors in the U.S.

Hollas says “Entrepreneurs willing to publicly advertise their need for funding and who are also willing to take reasonable measures to confirm the accreditation status of potential investors are a good match for Equity II.”

Equity III: Expected to go into effect later this year, this type will allow unaccredited investors to participate — in other words, the 99% of investors. Allowing equity crowdfunding platforms to offer and sell securities online, entrepreneurs will enjoy the ability to potentially reach out to over 50 million Americans. Of course, exposure to a larger investor audience who might lack sophistication in investments also means entrepreneurs will have more regulatory requirements to manage.

Four Tips To Make The Most Of Your Fundraising Efforts

1. Create A Solid Business Model/Plan

Although I am a huge fan of a working business ‘model’ vs. a business ‘plan’, the basic premise remains the same: you must show investors you have traction, customer validation and possess a solid plan to maximize your market opportunity. Hollas says “The advantages of a well-developed business plan cannot be overstated. Not only does it serve as a powerful fundraising tool — it provides a solid framework for operations, helps establish your priorities, and helps you determine your company’s valuation and how much equity you need to part with to reach your fundraising goal.”

2. Prepare Yourself Legally

Raising capital in exchange for equity brings tremendous responsibility and regulation. Do your homework. Learn the 3 types because each has varying levels of regulatory compliance and limitations on who can invest in your company and how much you can raise. Plus, grab a good attorney because a private placement memorandum (PPM) is necessary for any offering you make. Hollas says “Doing so helps protect you and your company as it discloses regulations that dictate the offering and indicates to the investor that you uphold a professional attitude towards regulatory compliance with the SEC.”

3. Evaluate Crowdfunding Platforms

Although equity crowdfunding platforms have simplified the fundraising process, there are hundreds to choose from. Hollas says “If you decide you want to start a crowdfunding campaign, keep in mind that not all are created equal. Look for a platform that stands by its policies to prevent fraud, has a large, vetted investor population, and provides you with an array of crowdfunding tools.”

4. Understand Your Audience

According to Hollas; “Most investors typically look for companies in industries they’re familiar with, so you’ll want to focus on those who have experience with your industry first. Most crowdfunding platforms can sort investors by their interests, so take advantage of that feature.”

One more thing: Below are some free online tools and informational sources you may want to consider before launching a campaign.

10 Crowdfunding Tools And Resources

CFIRA – Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates

The crowdfunding industry’s leading experts formed this organization after the signing of the JOBS Act to work with the SEC, FINRA, and other governmental entities to help establish industry standards and best practices. It provides resources to learn more about state and federal regulations regarding equity crowdfunding and also provides a wealth of other informational content.

Crowdfund Insider – Current Events, News, and Education

Crowdfund Insider is a site dedicated to providing extensive coverage on the crowdfunding industry to help educate people on current issues, policies, and events that affect the crowdfunding community as a whole. It also offers brief tutorials that explain the different types of crowdfunding, types of investors, and strategies to increase your odds of funding.

Startup Risk Calculator

A startup risk calculator helps entrepreneurs better understand their business risk and how to improve the odds of success. Results generated from this calculator are based on real-world data gathered from over 500,000 businesses from across North America.

Valuation Calculator

A valuation calculator helps you determine an accurate valuation of your business you can use to establish how much equity you would need to sell to reach your funding goal. The results this calculator generates are based on market data gathered by EquityNet from over 3,000 businesses across North America.

Crowdfund CPA – Crowdfunding Audit/Review Cost Calculator

Current legislation requires an audit for raises over $500,000, and reviews for those over $100,000. This calculator can help you determine how much a review or audit of your company’s financials would cost prior to starting a crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdnetic – Crowdfunding Market Data and News Feed

Crowdnetic offers real-time market data gathered from crowdfunding platforms across the world, as well as news and articles and original content from industry leaders reporting on the current state of the crowdfunding community. The site also provides details on a multitude of current crowdfunding campaigns and tools to screen crowdfinancing data by a variety of criteria.

Nowstreetwire

Powered by Crowdnetic and a good source of news and educational content.

Success With Crowdfunding

Run by the ‘fathers of crowdfund investing’.

Crowdfund Investing For Dummies

Book on Amazon written by Sherwood Neiss, Jason Best and Zak Cassady-Dorion. Understand the investor’s perspective.

Walker Corporate Law Group

Extensive blog with a vast amount of educational content for entrepreneurs looking to raise funds.

 


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