Networking Evening: Online Financing and Crowdfunding
Presented By IEEE Boston Entrepreneurs' Network
Foley Hoag LLP
155 Seaport Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210-2600
Early stage entrepreneurs face long odds when seeking funding from angels or VCs. In the past year, there has been increasing interest in new methods of online financing and "crowdfundng" as a means to bridge the funding gap.
What is crowdfunding? It's a means of raising capital through numerous small donors from the public, often online, rather than working privately to raise large amounts from a small number of wealthy donors. ENET's networking meeting on April 17 will explore crowd funding from two separate approaches.
The first approach to crowdfinding is donation or “rewards based”. It utilizes recently developed websites that raise money online. These include Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub. From these online platforms, companies, artists and entrepreneurs seek online donations or sale of pre-release products, generally offering rewards for donations but no debt or equity. Such fundraising campaigns have the added benefit of helping to build a fan base, customer base, and demand for the participant's product or service. In May 2012, the Pebble E-Paper Watch set a crowdfunding record, raising over $10 million on Kickstarter.
The second approach to crowdfunding is “securities based”. This approach was authorized in the U.S. by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act) signed into law by President Obama in April 2012. The law would allow entrepreneurs to raise up to $1 million from small investors through registered broker dealers or newly authorized "investor portals". The contributors would receive either equity or debt securities for their investments, with the money refundable if the fundraising target is not met. However, this second approach, widely used in Europe, is not yet legal in the U.S. and awaits regulations from the SEC which are not expected until the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year.
Research firm Massolution estimates the crowdfunding industry worldwide (equity + donation + lending + reward crowdfunding) grew from $1.5 billion in 2011 to $2.8 billion in 2012.
Our ENET panel features two veterans of successful Kickstarter campaigns including the author of "A Kickstarter's Guide to Kickstarter", with both speakers walking the audience through the benefits, perils, process, and tips to succeed in a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign. The third speaker is the cofounder and COO of RocketHub, another major platform for rewards based crowdfunding, which has plans to be a portal for securites based crowd funding when it becomes legal. He has authored two whitepapers on securities based crowd funding, which you can access at the top of this page under "Presentations".
All three speakers will address the audience. Then we will break into two groups for Q&A, one focused on rewards based crowdfunding and the other securities based crowdfunding. It will be a great night to learn, network and enjoy some snacks. We hope to see you at the Foley Hoag Boston Conference Center in the Boston Seaport/Innovation District on April 17!
Jed Cohen, a Founder and Chief Operating Officer of RocketHub
RocketHub is one of the world’s largest and most successful crowdfunding platforms. In addition to his COO activities, Jed regularly speaks at events across the nation, educating people on the fundamentals of running a successful crowdfunding campaign. He has co-authored two whitepapers, entitled:
- Regulation of Crowdfunding: Building On the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, and
- Implementation Of Crowdfunding: Building On Title III Of The Jobs Act
These have received acclaim from both the SEC and FINRA, and are posted at the top of this page under "Presentations"
Jed’s professional career began (at the age of eight) when he took to the stage as an actor and singer. During his twenty-year career as a performer, Jed toured both nationally and internationally as a boy soprano, made his Broadway debut (at the age of fifteen) in the Tony Award winning musical The Secret Garden, and is featured as “Rod McCallister” in the hit movies Home Alone and Home Alone II: Lost in New York. Jed is a graduate of Harvard University where he earned his degree in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Nelson de Witt, author of “A Kickstarter's Guide to Kickstarter”
Nelson is a three time Kickstarter (two successful, one failure.), and producer of the documentary film Identifying Nelson/Buscando A Roberto. Identifying Nelson is about his life growing up as one of El Salvador's disappeared children. He launched his first Kickstarter project in the fall of 2010 for this film, which is still in production. He wrote A Kickstarter's Guide to Kickstarter to help people understand the confusing world of crowd-funding. It draws on lessons learned from his own experience, interviews with successful project creators, and the study of hundreds of Kickstarter projects.
Halley Suitt Tucker, founder and CEO of BoOkBoX
Halley is an entrepreneur, writer, blogger, editor, and social media strategist with many years experience in sales and marketing. She has written a case study on blogging published in Harvard Business Review, has appeared on Oprah, and recently completed a fully funded Kickstarter campaign to write a novel about startup accelerators, called Founders Less Than Three.
Robert Adelson, business and tax attorney and partner at the Boston law firm of Engel & Schultz LLP
Rob is chairman of IEEE Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET) and is this meeting's organizer as well as moderator. He has been an attorney for over 30 years specialized in business, tax, stock and options, employment, contracts, financings, trademarks and intellectual property.
Rob began his legal career as an associate at major New York law firms Dewey Ballantine and later Weil Gotshal & Manges, before returning home to Boston in 1985 where he has since been a partner in small and medium sized firms before joining his present firm in 2004. Rob represents entrepreneurs, start-ups and small companies, independent contractors, and employees and executives.
Rob is a frequent speaker on business law topics and author of numerous articles published in Boston Business Journal, Mass High Tech and other publications. Rob has been on the ENET Board since 2002 and Chairman since 2009, and is also a Board member of the 128 Innovation Capital Group. He holds degrees from Boston University, B.A., summa cum laude; Northwestern University (Chicago), J.D., Law Review; and New York University, LL.M. in Taxation.
- ENET Members: free
- Non-Members: $10
- To expedite sign-in for the meeting, we ask that everyone -- members as well as non-members -- pre-register for the meeting online. Pre-registration is available until midnight the day before the meeting. If you cannot pre-register, you are welcome to register at the door.