Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NC JOBS Act Update

As of today, we are still waiting for action from the North Carolina Senate on the NC JOBS Act.

Two important updates:

Update 1:

There has been a significant grass roots effort over the last two weeks to encourage our Senators to pass this bill. The start-up and small business community has been emailing and calling key Senators, which is very helpful. Over the weekend, the NC JOBS Act team put together a Community Statement of Support, and got an excellent response. Many thanks to all of you that called, emailed, or signed the letter. 


The statement has been forwarded to the Senate along with this introduction:

Dear Senators:

Attached is the Community Statement of Support for the NC JOBS Act (H680) that our team worked on this weekend. We urge you to pass H680 this session.

This legislation enables a new type of financing in our state known as intrastate investment crowdfunding. It has been endorsed by many of the top start-up and business leaders in the Triangle community. The attached list includes endorsements from CEOs, Founders, Managing Directors, Partners, and Investors at our leading Start-up Accelerators, individual Angels and Funds, Venture Capital Funds, a leading CPA firm, the North Carolina Technology Association, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, SAS Institute, UNC Chapel Hill Technology Development Center, Triangle business attorneys, and many of our local technology start-up CEOs. This is a strong showing of support that we received over the last 72 hours. These start-up community leaders are representative of the over 12,000 start-up and small business community members that have visited our NC JOBS Act blog to learn more, and are excited about the possibilities.

Please forward this letter of support to your colleagues in the NC Senate and House. Please help us make this new form of financing for start-ups and small businesses a reality so we can grow the economy and create more jobs in North Carolina. Pass H680 now.

Thank you.    

Best regards,

Mark Easley Sr.
The NC JOBS Act Team
www.jobsnc.blogspot.com

Update 2:

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has joined the community of supporters of the NC JOBS Act. We received this letter of support from his office.

Thank you for your e-mail on H680, The Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups (JOBS) Act. Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest believes that this bill is an important step towards growing North Carolina businesses by allowing start-up companies and companies that wish to expand the ability to quickly raise capital from smaller investments, often called crowd-sourcing or crowd-funding. As a result, businesses will be able to establish themselves in their market on an expedited basis and employ more North Carolinians sooner--all while having many citizens invested in the company's success.  The Lieutenant Governor supports passage of this bill as a well-thought out mechanism to ease the burden on North Carolina's start-ups.

Rebekah Bradley
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
310 N Blount Street
Raleigh, NC 27601





Friday, June 6, 2014

Investment Crowdfunding Can Become a Reality in North Carolina This Year

The North Carolina JOBS Act enables a new way of funding startups and small business in our state known as investment crowdfunding. The FAQs and other posts on www.jobsnc.blogspot.com provide details and analysis of what the bill does and how it will work. The legislation (H680) passed the NC House by an almost unheard of bipartisan vote of 103 to 1 last June, and is now pending in the NC Senate for the short session beginning May 14th. So if everything goes as expected, 2014 will be the year that intrastate investment crowdfunding will become a reality in North Carolina.

Over the last year here in the U.S., there have been a number of important developments in the investment crowdfunding exemption story. Many states are following in the footsteps of Kansas and Georgia, who were the first to implement in-state investment crowdfunding exemptions by regulation, and North Carolina, where we were the first to introduce an exemption by legislation.

As of today seven states - Kansas, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, WashingtonIndiana, and Alabama - have intrastate crowdfunding exemptions in place, four states - North Carolina, Florida, Texas and California - have legislation pending, and five more including Idaho, Colorado, Maine, Maryland and New Jersey are in various stages of considering the idea. Here is a comparison of several of these intrastate crowdfunding exemptions. 

Many more states are expected to join the intrastate investment crowdfunding movement because it grows the economy from the ground up and creates jobs locally.  And here is a statement from North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry, the original creator and sponsor of the the Federal JOBS Act, on why he supports state based solutions like NC JOBS

In the startup community, which is so important for North Carolina in both the technology and life sciences markets, a report in Entrepreneur Magazine says that crowdfunding is the fastest growing source of funding for startups. In addition, accredited investor crowdfunding sites like AngelList and FundersClub have proven how effective they can be in providing funding for high growth startups. As an example, just one of the investment crowdfunding sites called EquityNet has over 130 investment crowdfunding projects listed just in the biotech-pharmaceutical-healthcare category.

So what else has changed since last year?

Crowdfunding in general, and investment crowdfunding in particular have been growing very rapidly in the US and around the world. The biggest donation and rewards based site Kickstarter just announced that they surpassed $1B in pledges to crowdfunding campaigns hosted on their site.  Entrepreneur Magazine calls the growth of crowdfunding ‘epic’ and says the crowdfunding economy has tripled in 3 years and was over $5.1B in 2013. They also expect crowdfunding to provide a $65B boost to the world wide economy in 2014.

In the United Kingdom, where investment crowdfunding has been legal for over 3 years, the investment site CrowdCube has announced their stats on their 3rd birthday in 2014:
         
“The platform has raised £19.9 million (around $33 million) for 103 businesses, which Crowdcube anticipates will add 1900 jobs over the next three years. Darren Westlake, the company’s cofounder and CEO also mentioned that the company grew by 562 percent on the year before, and it sees over 100 applications per month. The company has 60,000 registered members.”

And that is just one of the many investment crowdfunding platforms operating in the UK, other parts of Europe, and in Australia.

Meanwhile, several types of investment crowdfunding have taken off like rockets in 2013. One is investment crowdfunding in startups for accredited investors on sites like AngelList, another one is called Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending, where people get personal loans from the crowd, and a third is real estate crowdfunding, where local real estate development projects are funded by the community crowd.

Many more market segments are just beginning to use investment crowdfunding as a financing method. And venture capitalists are making major investments in a wide variety of crowdfunding platforms and services around the nation, because they see this as a major growth industry in the financial sector coming down the road.  A report by nowstreetwire has more details on these trends.

So what does all this mean to North Carolina?

It means we can benefit from these trends by helping our small businesses and startups to participate. We can make it much easier for them to find funding. And that funding will help them grow and create jobs. The NC JOBS Act investment crowdfunding exemption will be an important part of making it happen.

Support the North Carolina JOBS Act:

If you have not yet done so, now is the time to contact your state Senators with an email of your support for  H680, the NC JOBS Act. It is very easy to do using the links we give below.
If you have any questions or comments, please email the JOBS NC Crowdfunding Team at jobsnc@nc.rr.com or contact Representative Murry’s office at murryla@ncleg.net.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

We Need Your Help with H680, the North Carolina JOBS Act, which Enables Investment Crowdfunding in North Carolina

Dear friends and supporters of the North Carolina small business and startup communities:

We are in the final stages of making investment crowdfunding a reality here in North Carolina with the passage of H680, the North Carolina JOBS Act. It has already passed the NC House last session by a vote of 103 to 1. We need your help to push it over the finish line in the NC Senate.

Please call and email your expressions of support to the Senate Leadership and your own NC Senator. Use this tool to find and contact your own North Carolina State Legislators and express your support. Senator Berger is Senate President Pro Tem, Senator Tarte and Senator Barringer are working to get the bill passed in the Senate, Senators Gunn and Meredith are the co-chairs of the Commerce committee, and Senators Rabon and Rucho are the co-chairs of the Finance committee. Senator Apodaka is Chairman of the Rules Committee. Please ask them to move H680 forward. Senators Pate, Brown, and Tillman are part of the Senate leadership, and Lt Governor Forest is also Senate President. Representative Murry is Chairman of the House Commerce Committee and the Chief Sponsor and creator of H680. The bill needs action by the Senate Commerce and Finance Committees, and a floor vote in the Senate before the end of the short session, which began on May 14th, 2014 and is currently in session. There are many competing priorites in the session, so we need to keep the NC JOBS Act near the top.

Representative Murry
Tom.Murry@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5602

Senator Berger
Phil.Berger@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5708

Senator Barringer
Tamara.Berringer@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5653

Senator Tarte
Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net
Office: 919-715-3050

Senator Gunn
Rick.Gunn@ncleg.net
Office: 919-301-1446

Senator Meredith
Wesley.Meredith@ncleg.net
Office : 919-733-5776

Senator Rabon
Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5963

Senator Rucho
Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5655

Senator Pate
Louis.Pate@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5621

Senator Apodaca
Tom.Apodaca@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5745

Senator Brown
Harry.Brown@ncleg.net
Office: 919-715-3034

Senator Tillman
Jerry.Tillman@ncleg.net
Office: 919-733-5870

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest
hal.weatherman@nc.gov
Office: 919-733-7350

Thanks for your help, and please forward this request to your contacts in the startup and small business communities.

Best regards,

NC JOBS Act of 2014 Team


Here is a suggestion for an email or phone conversation. All the Senators have legislative assistants who will answer your call during office hours, and pass on your request to the Senator. If the timing is right, many of the Senators will take your call as well. Please be courteous and respectful of their time when calling.

“I am (  ) with (  ). I am contacting the Senator with regards to H680, the NC JOBS Act. This bill, which creates a new way to fund startups and small business using investment crowdfunding, is a great opportunity to create jobs and improve the economy in North Carolina. It passed the House by a wide bipartisan vote of 103 to 1, and has support from the startup and small business communities of North Carolina. This bill needs action from the Senate during the short session and I urge you to pass this bill. Thanks for your support of NC JOBS and the small business community.”


Support the North Carolina JOBS Act:

If you have not yet done so, now is the time to contact your state Senators with an email of your support for  H680, the NC JOBS Act. It is very easy to do using the links we give below.
If you have any questions or comments, please email the JOBS NC Crowdfunding Team at jobsnc@nc.rr.com or contact Representative Murry’s office at murryla@ncleg.net.