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All Articles by David M. Freedman

David M. Freedman

About David M. Freedman

David M. Freedman has worked as a financial and legal journalist since 1978. He has served on the editorial staffs of business, trade and professional journals, most recently as senior editor of The Value Examiner (National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts). He is coauthor of Equity Crowdfunding for Investors, published in June 2015 by John Wiley & Sons. Freedman has served as moderator and panelist for several Financial Poise webinars on crowdfunding, angel investing and the JOBS Act of 2012. In addition to finance and law, Dave has written extensively about real estate, economics, social media, natural resources and woodworking. He lives in the Chicago area, and is a member of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

SAFE: Simple Agreement for Future Equity

Y Combinator, a well-known tech accelerator, created the SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) in 2013, and uses it to fund most of the seed-stage startups that participate in its three-month development sessions. With an emphasis on simple, this new equity security works for seed-stage startups.

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SAFE Discounts Should Be 50% At Least

The SAFE is like a warrant entitling investors to shares in the company, typically preferred stock, if and when there is a future liquidity event, i.e., if and when the company next raises “priced” equity capital, or is acquired, or files an IPO. Like convertible debt, SAFE deal terms can include valuation caps and share-price discounts, to give early (CF) investors a lower price per share than later (VC) investors or acquirers get for the same equity.

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Wefunder Dominates Equity Crowdfunding

When “true” equity crowdfunding launched on May 16, 2016, Wefunder led the new asset class with 10 Title III offerings. Within a few days it added 11 more offerings. No other funding portal that I know of has half as many Title III offerings as Wefunder.

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Stratifund Aggregates & Rates Equity Crowdfunding Deals

If you want to exercise your new right to invest in innovative startups and growing small businesses, where will you start — which funding portals will you visit to find the best offerings of private securities? For many people who have little or no experience evaluating angel investment opportunities, the best place to start is a website like Stratifund.

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The Basics of Convertible Debt

Many of the companies that sell securities via Title III crowdfunding portals, at least in the first year or two, will be early-stage startups with little or no history of profit or even positive cash flow. “In many cases, issuers can avoid thorny disagreements over valuation by offering hybrid securities known as convertible notes to crowdfunding investors”…

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Distinguishing Crowdfunding Portals and Broker-Dealer Platforms Under Title III

There are important distinctions between funding portals and broker-dealer platforms. Funding portals are a new type of intermediary created by Title III of the JOBS Act, while broker-dealers have been established market makers for many decades. A broker-dealer can be an individual or a company.

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Equity Crowdfinancing Risks & Returns

The potential rewards of angel investing are not just financial, though. There are also strategic benefits, which may include:

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What is Equity Crowdfinancing?

Crowdfunding, or crowdfinancing, is a method of collecting many small contributions, by means of an online funding platform, to finance or capitalize a popular enterprise. As crowdfunding is so new, there is much confusion in the marketplace about it—for example, many people still think of Kickstarter as the epitome of crowdfunding.

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Secondary Markets

Crowdfunded equity investments are generally illiquid for two reasons: (a) the one-year holding period and (b) the lack of organized secondary markets for Title III shares.

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How to Avoid Fraud in Equity Crowdfunding

Supporters of crowdfunding acknowledge that some fraud will probably occur, as it does everywhere—including the public securities markets. But they point to the low instance of fraud in rewards-based crowdfunding in the United States, and in equity-based crowdfunding in Australia (since 2006) and the United Kingdom (since 2012), where unsophisticated investors participate in private securities offerings.

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