Tuesday, February 21, 2017
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Crowdfunding is a bit of a misnomer -- it's very rare unless your campaign is showing velocity and is over 30-40% funded will unknown investors decide to toss you bags of money.
The better term is "Peerfunding" or what we call BYOC - Bring Your Own Crowd.
The most successful campaigns are "pre-funded" initially by your 3F's (Friends, Family & Fools) -- but beyond your beloved aunt bessie, you likely have a rich source of funders in your suppliers and customers! This session we'll talk about strategies for building your crowd and getting them to show up on pitch day!
6:30-7:00pm -- Overview of MNvest & the Role of Portals and current offerings
7:00-8:00pm -- BYOC Conversation
8:00-8:30pm -- Roundtable introductions and then end with open social
Minnesota Innovates presents its 4th Annual Investment Crowdfunding Forum
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
1000 LaSalle Ave, Minneapolis, MN (map)
Learn the Fine Points of "How To Do It" and Meet Investment Portal Operators
This is your chance to hear from and talk with several individuals who have been actively engaged with investment crowdfunding developments throughout the last years and who have laid and are continuing to lay foundation for the effort to be successful for both issuers and investors. Minnesota Portals facilitating debt or equity financial support from unaccredited, as well as, accredited investors by online general solicitation are now active. On December 6th the most recent SEC and MNvest regulations will be clarified, the finacial requirements of Issuers (Company owners seeking investment) will be detailed, Minnesota Portals will showcase their operation and Issuers who have launched or are preparing to launch will describe their experience.
As was announced at the first meetup, Venturenear.com was "first to the post" on getting approval from the MN DOC as a registered portal operator. We learned from Ally Miettunen that mnstarter.com expects to be next in December.
I just got word myself that our initial review for https://sppx.io has been scheduled for Dec 7th and thanks in part to those before me, I have the list of questions and concerns in advance. I'm optimistic that we'll be cleared for commerce in early January. I have to chuckle a little, the reception I got was amusing: "Oh yeah, you're that blockchain guy! Get ready for a LOT of questions!"
I socialed out on our blog yesterday that our portal is now open for Partner registrations -- if you have a product or service you think would appeal to the crowdfunding demographic, I would welcome any early beta testers and feedback on our partner directory.
TECH.MN held a kickoff call on Monday to begin the conversation around "model docs" for MNvest issuers to use. There is a strong desire to get the cost down to zero, but everyone agrees that "you get what you pay for!" -- Today the best option appears to be using iDisclose at a cost of 2,000. The group agreed that having model documents linked to a form filing capability would be a powerful offering, something we're interested in doing.
It was reported out that nationally the trend is fully half of the deals being done are some form of debt instrument, and tends to be regional. For example the portal operator in Florida focuses its investor message on "earning a good return" and their issuer message seems to be "get access to capital at a lower rate". I know in my own quest for capital a decade ago, I ended up having to obtain an SBA loan for the 150K we wanted to begin doing M&A. We know from our kick off meeting that many entrepreneurs are not in situations where they can take on securitized debt (the SBA puts a lien on your house!) - THIS is where we hope MNvest will bridge that gap.
There is one invisible pink elephant in the room that we need to deal with sooner than later: CAP TABLES. There is a huge amount of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) that is scaring off entrepreneurs from MNvest style raises. The idea that a "serious" investor will not be interested in your venture if you have too many little investors. I'm going to be among the first to call BS on this! I myself had to deal with this issue ten years ago when I was actively trying to raise money for a VOIP company I was launching using a SCOR offering. There are a lot of ways we can deal with this and we should develop a narrative. More to come on this topic!
Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels! Hope to see at the next meetup, December 13th.
We started a new "Meetup"
Last night we had our kick off meeting at the Strength in Numbers Foundation office building conference room in St. Paul, MN.
There were seven in attendance and represented a mix of talent and interests including:
A startup planning a funding raise to for a "social selling" application
A brewing consultant who helps brewpubs architect and launch microbrew operations
A business consultant who has over 20 years of business valuation experience professionaly
One of the MNStarter.com principals gave us an update on their plans and approval progress
The next meetup is planned for Tuesday, December 13th