Mark Roderick appeared on The Exchange with KB podcast with host Kirill Bensonoff, where he discussed Crowdfunding, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies. In this episode, Kirill and Mark discussed the JOBS Act, Title II Crowdfunding, Accredited Investors, Regulation Crowdfunding, why we need investment regulation, the future of cryptocurrency, Libra and other blockchain tech and cryptocurrency, and legislation regarding blockchain and crypto.
Mark Roderick appeared on School for Startups Radio with Jim Beach to discuss the current state of crowdfunding and how the industry is progressing. He discusses the booming real estate crowdfunding industry and how the rest of the crowdfunding space measures up.
In this episode of The Real Estate Way to Wealth and Freedom, you will learn:
- Crowdfunding – what it is and how it relates to real estate
- Comparing and contrasting crowdfunding and syndication
- How much money you can raise and who you can raise money from
- Title 2, Title 3, & Title 4 crowdfunding – what to know
- Predictions of how technology will impact real estate investing in the future
Questions? Let me know.
The JOBS Act was signed by President Obama on May 5, 2012. Last month, a client of mine, Tapestry Senior Housing, raised about $13.6 million of common equity for a project in Moon Township outside Pittsburgh. Tapestry is an affiliate of Tapestry Companies, LLC, a national firm that operates as an owner, manager and developer of senior and multifamily properties. The Moon Township project involved the adaptive re-use of an existing Embassy Suites hotel.
This was the largest raise in the history of the CrowdStreet platform and, in my opinion, an important milestone for the Crowdfunding industry.
Not long ago, real estate Crowdfunding was limited to single-family fix-and-flips. At the annual meeting of NAIOP in Denver, in October 2014, I moderated a panel on Crowdfunding with Adam Hooper of RealCrowd and Darren Powderly of CrowdStreet, as it so happens. The audience for our panel was the smallest of the conference — but at the same time probably the youngest and most enthusiastic.
The size of the deals grew and high-quality sponsors like Tapestry began to notice. Now, when word gets out that someone has raised $13.6 million of equity, I believe we’re going to see a spike in interest from a broad spectrum of sponsors in every industry sector.
You can’t raise $13.6 million for just any sponsor and any deal, of course. Tom LaSalle, Jack Brandt, and their team at Tapestry have a remarkable track record in the senior housing space, and this was their third deal on CrowdStreet. CrowdStreet itself has a terrific and well-deserved reputation as a premier site. Put a great deal, a great sponsor, and a great site together and you get a terrific result.
But let’s not forget the most important factor of all (besides the lawyer, I mean). In the Moon Township deal, Tapestry and CrowdStreet gave about 280 accredited investors from all over the United States the opportunity to participate in the kind of investment once reserved for the wealthy. That is now, and will continue to be, the most important ingredient for success. When we talk about Crowdfunding as the democratization of capital, that’s what we mean.
Tapestry raised $13.6 million from 280 investors. There are close to 10 million accredited investors in the United States alone. To my mind, that means that the opportunity for growth, even within Rule 506(c), is practically unlimited.
So hats off to Tapestry and CrowdStreet, and on to the next deal.
Questions? Let me know.
Technology has made it easier to raise capital for real estate deals. Since Crowdfunding has grown exponentially, John Casmon, host of the popular Target Market Insights podcast, invited me on his show to learn more about crowdfunding and fintech (financial technology). On this episode, I talk about different ways to use the internet to raise money and the impact new technologies will have on the way we buy real estate.
Key Market Insights
Crowdfunding is raising money on the internet
Two versions – donation based (think Kickstarter) and equity based
Crowdfunding is online syndication with 3 flavors: title 2, title 3 and title 4
All crowdfunding falls under the JobsAct
Title 2 is very similar to 506c for accredited investors
Title 3 is very different, can only raise $1MM annually
Title 4 can raise $50 million
FinTech – any technology disrupting the financial services industry
Many believe banks should be a disintermediary
Roboadvisor apps are apart of FinTech
Online syndication is not more risky than traditional syndication
Anytime you take money, you can be sued
When done properly, you should not be exposed to any actual liability – even if they lose money
Blockchain technology could disrupt the real estate industry
Blockchain is a database or ledger that cannot be changed and has no central authority – everyone must consent
Title companies and other “middle men” could be pushed away through blockchain
Questions? Let me know.
Podcast: Regulation A+ Crowdfunding
If you’re a entrepreneur, you’re probably looking for some way to raise capital. You probably have heard of crowdfunding, but you may not have heard of the Jobs Act of 2012 and how it relates to crowdfunding – which is significant because its potential is enormous. Besides Regulation A+, Reg. CF, and Title II crowdfunding options to name a few, now investors and issuers can take advantage of the “tokenization” of assets via Security Token Offerings based on blockchain technology. However, there are complicated rules associated with all aspects of crowdfunding, which is why it’s so important to have legal representation throughout all phases of the process.
In this podcast episode, we interviewed crowdfunding attorney Mark Roderick from Flaster Greenberg PC who gave us many insights on crowdfunding in general, plus his take on tokenization and what security tokens can actually do for issuers and investors alike. Forget what everyone says about raising money. As stated on the podcast, crowdfunding is a marketing business, but it’s smart to have legal counsel at all times too – which is why anyone thinking of getting involved with crowdfunding on any level would be wise to contact Mr. Roderick and read his crowdfunding blog where you can find hundreds of posts with excellent information dedicated to legal crowdfunding success. See that? Sometimes lawyers can be your friend!
And speaking of crowdfunding, according to Mark, about 90% of the Reg.A+ crowdfunding deals he’s seen is regarding real estate. You know what most of the Reg.CF deals are? (here’s a hint).
Questions? Let me know.
You want to reward and incentivize your CFO and CMO with equity in the company. What’s the best approach?
First, make sure equity provides the right incentives. For the CFO almost certainly, because the CFO shares responsibility for the profitability of the whole company. For the CMO, maybe not. If we want the CMO focused on sales, maybe a cash commission makes more sense. On the other hand, you might decide that owning stock will have a positive psychological effect for your CMO, even if it doesn’t offer a direct incentive.
With that box checked, these are the most common equity-flavored alternatives:
- Restricted Stock: The CFO might receive a total of 100 shares of stock today, with her right to receive distributions and otherwise enjoy the full benefits of the stock subject to a vesting schedule. The vesting schedule might be based on time (g., 20 shares per year for five years), economic milestones (e.g., 20 shares for each year showing a growth of at least 20% in cash flow or EBITDA), or a combination of the two.
- Stock Options: The CFO might be granted the option to purchase 100 shares of stock for $0.10 per share (hoping they will someday be worth a lot more), subject to the same vesting schedule. Under section 409A of the tax code, that $0.10 per share exercise price must be the true fair market value at the date of grant, not an artificially low number.
- Incentive Stock Options: If the company is a corporation (not an LLC) and satisfies lots of special rules, the CFO might be granted a special kind of stock option, with special tax benefits.
- Phantom Stock: Rather than actual stock, the CFO might receive a contract right intended to achieve the same economic result.
In the world of entrepreneurs generally and the Fintech and Crowdfunding worlds specifically, restricted stock and stock options are the most common choices, so I’m going to focus on those today.
Economically, restricted stock and stock options are almost identical. But the tax consequences can be quite different. For purposes of the discussion below, I’m assuming (i) the CFO’s 100 shares are worth $0.10 per share today and increase in value at the rate of $1.00 per share per year, (ii) the CFO is given 10 years in which to exercise the options, and (iii) the company is sold in 10 years.
Scenario #1: Direct Stock Issuance – General Rule
If the CFO receives 100 shares today, vesting over five years, then she has zero taxable income today because no shares have vested. At the end of the first year she has $22 of taxable income (20 shares vested @$1.10 value per share), at the end of the second year he has $42 of taxable income (20 additional shares vested @$2.10 value per share), and so on. The employee must pay tax on this income each year, while the company can claim a corresponding tax deduction. Thus, over the duration of the vesting period the CFO pays tax on $310 of taxable income and the company obtains a $310 tax deduction.
In this example the CFO will pay roughly $100 of tax on his $310 of taxable income (depending on tax bracket, state of residence, etc.). The exact amount of the tax isn’t important. What’s important is that (i) she will have to fund this cost from her own pocket, and (ii) if the company is very valuable or she owns a lot of stock, her out-of-pocket tax cost could be prohibitively high.
When the company is sold after 10 years, the CFO will receive $1,010 for her shares and have $700 of gain. This $700 would be taxed at long term capital gain rates, and at that point she’ll have the cash to pay her tax.
Scenario #2: Direct Stock Issuance Followed by §83(b) Election
Where an employee receives stock subject to a vesting schedule, §83(b) of the tax code permits an employee to elect to report as taxable income the entire current value of the stock. Having made the election, the employee does not report any additional taxable income as the stock vests.
In our example, the CFO could make an election and report $10 of taxable income on the date of grant (100 shares of the @ $0.10 per share). She would then have no additional taxable income as the stock vests, and the company would have no tax deductions. Upon the sale of her stock the employee would have $1,000 of income, taxed at long term capital gain rates.
An election under §83(b) must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service within 30 days after the CFO receives the stock.
NOTE: Suppose the company fails after two years. Now the CFO has paid tax on $10 and has nothing to show for it except a $10 capital loss. That’s the downside of section 83(b).
Scenario #3: Options
The CFO recognizes no current taxable income as a result of receiving options. Instead, she recognizes taxable income as the options are exercised, equal to the difference between the exercise price of $0.10 per share and the value of the stock at the time.
In the simplest scenario, where the CFO exercises options to purchase 20 shares each year, the tax effect would be almost identical to Scenario #1 above. The CFRO would recognize $20 of taxable income in the first year, $40 the next year, and so forth, for a total of $300 of taxable income. No §83(b) election is available with options.
A more likely scenario is that the CFO wouldn’t (or wouldn’t be allowed to) exercise the options each year, but rather waits to exercise until the company is sold. In this case she would recognize no taxable income until sale, and at that point would recognize $1,000 of taxable income, taxed at ordinary income rates rather than capital gain rates. The company would be entitled to a corresponding deduction of $1,000. Again, the CFO would have plenty of money to pay the tax.
Options are simpler than restricted stock, especially if they can’t be exercised until an exit. And the holder of an option, unlike the holder of actual stock, has no right to see confidential information that the company would prefer to keep private.
For that reason, options typically make more sense from the company’s viewpoint, even though the employee might end up paying more tax (ordinary income vs. capital gains) overall. But every company and every situation is different.
Questions? Let me know.
What does the crowdfunding sector look like from a legal perspective? How do recent and previous laws passed by Congress impact startup entrepreneurs and crowdfunding campaigns? Here to give his unique take on the subject is one of the leading crowdfunding and financial technology lawyers in the United States, Mark Roderick. In his conversation with Roy, Mark opens up about the JOBS Act of 2012, the pros and cons of equity crowdfunding, various liability concerns that startup entrepreneurs should keep on their radar and much more. You don’t want to miss a minute of this engaging episode featuring Mark!
Questions? Let Mark know.
Why Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds Are the Hottest Topic of Crowdfunding Real Estate
The word is out about Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) and just about every real estate professional in the country is interested about how this IRS sanctioned program works. Investing in a QOZ Fund provides all Americans with a way to save money on their taxes and provides real estate developers with a great angle to raise money for their projects. But are these investment vehicles securities? Can non-accredited investors participate in this form of crowdfunding? How can issuers create their own fund? Listen to attorney Mark Roderick from Flaster Greenberg PC address these questions, what the intricacies of QOZ investing are, and many other items of interest on this episode of the Mapable USA crowdfunding podcast.
While most funds center around real estate projects, any form of substantial improvement into a Qualified Opportunity Zone will satisfy the requirement of a QOZ fund – and that includes bringing in businesses and employment opportunities into these distressed communities. As such, the QOZ Marketplace is a website in progress connecting and identifying Qualified Opportunity Zone tracks and census data, along with a list of Opportunity Zone Funds and real estate properties for those interested in QOZ investing. Because of their tax deferral benefits, getting people seeking to defer their capital gains taxes to invest in these funds probably won’t be an issue. But Mr. Roderick brings up a great point: because QOZ Funds are self-certified, it’s important to be on the outlook for fraud. His advice? Look for a deal with a strong foundation with reputable people – the tax deferral savings is just icing on the cake!
Recent Blog Posts related to QOZ Fund:
Questions? Let me know.
As Crowdfunding grows and investment advisers migrate into the space, we’re going to devote a few blog posts to investment adviser basics:
- Federal vs. State regulation of investment advisers
- Advisers to private funds
- Venture capital advisers
- Duties of investment advisers
- Registration of investment advisers
Today we start with the most basic question: What is an investment adviser?
Here’s the definition from the Investment Adviser Act of 1940:
“[A]ny person who, for compensation, engages in the business of advising others, either directly or through publications or writings, as to the value of securities or as to the advisability of investing in, purchasing, or selling securities, or who, for compensation and as part of a regular business, issues or promulgates analyses or reports concerning securities. . . .”
The term “securities” is very broad, covering obvious things like stock, bonds, and interests in limited liability companies, but less obviously things like (1) mortgages, and (2) blockchain tokens that are treated as securities under Howey.
EXAMPLE #1: Molly Smith operates a Crowdfunding site that allows investors to participate in specific mortgage loans made to real estate fix-and-flippers. Because investors choose their own mortgage loans, Molly probably isn’t an investment adviser.
EXAMPLE #2: Samantha O’Hara creates a fund that buys and sells mortgage loans made to real estate fix-and-flippers. If Samantha is deciding which loans the fund will buy and sell, she’s probably an investment adviser.
EXAMPLE #3: John Kelly, software engineer, reads the Wall Street Journal and often gives investment tips to his friends. Because he’s not in business and not being compensated, John isn’t an investment adviser.
EXAMPLE #4: Craig Toricelli creates a fund that buys and sells apartment buildings. Because a fee simple interest in real estate isn’t a “security,” Craig isn’t an investment adviser.
EXAMPLE #5: Gregg Wright creates a fund that buys and sells bitcoin (buy on the dip!). Because bitcoin isn’t a “security,” Gregg isn’t an investment adviser.
A few common exceptions:
- Lawyers, accountants, engineers, and teachers aren’t investment advisers if their performance of advisory services is solely incidental to their professions.
- Brokers and dealers aren’t investment advisers if their performance of advisory services is solely incidental to the conduct of their business as brokers and dealers, and they do not receive any special compensation for advisory services.
- Publishers of bona fide newspapers, newsletters, and business or financial publications of general and regular circulation aren’t investment advisers if their publications meet three requirements:
- The publication must offer only impersonal advice, e., advice not tailored to the individual needs of a specific client, group of clients, or portfolio.
- The publication must contain disinterested commentary and analysis rather than promotional material disseminated by someone touting particular securities.
- The publication must be of general and regular circulation rather than issued from time to time in response to episodic market activity or events affecting the securities industry.
EXAMPLE: Each time Cindy Liu, Esquire finishes work on an ICO, she post on her Facebook page: “Take a look!” Even If her clients think they’re paying for the publicity as well the legal work, Cindy’s not an investment adviser, because she’s not being paid by her Facebook friends.
In that list, you don’t see “advisers to private funds” or “advisers to family offices.” That’s because while these and other common species of investment advisers are exempt from registering with the SEC, they are still investment advisers, which means (1) they are still subject to certain legal obligations, and (2) they still might have to register with a state. More on all that later.
Questions? Let me know.