The Gold Rush – Part I

A man and woman created a Crowdfunding campaign for their newborn. A company raised $2 million in one day. The SEC regulations to launch “real” Crowdfunding per the JOBS Act might be far off, but the Crowdfunding gold rush is already well underway.

The excitement – the discovery of an enormous vein of money flowing into a brand-new channel – holds many opportunities. If you are an entrepreneur looking for funding there have never been more places to look. No longer beholden to a broker or a wealthy aunt or a lawyer with a big Rolodex, every entrepreneur now has ready access to the biggest Rolodex in the world: the Internet.

Seizing their own opportunity, Crowdfunding portals are springing up like Western mining towns with names that can become nationally-recognized overnight. Circle Up, SeedInvest, and Funders Club are among the equity-based portals while Kickstarter and Indiego remain the leaders in donation- or rewards-based projects, at least for the time being. New portals are being formed and coming online all the time as eager prospectors look for their share of the gold.

Others are poised to benefit as well:

There is an enormous and growing need for someone to perform meaningful due diligence on all the new companies, beyond the information that might be posted online. The new structures and relationships will require new insurance products, some of which are already being developed. If it hasn’t happened already, someone is going to offer to represent Crowdfunding investors on the Boards of Directors of far-flung companies. Every company funded by the Crowd will need an investor relations platform.

With so few barriers to entry, the opportunity to stake a claim in the Crowdfunding gold rush is practically unlimited today.

Bear in mind, all this is happening before true JOBS Act Crowdfunding springs to life, probably by late summer. When that happens, companies will be able to legally raise money from large numbers of non-affluent, unsophisticated investors for the first time in 80 years, uncovering the largest vein of capital yet.

One thing seems certain. With all the gold and all the gunslingers, some things will go wrong and some people will get hurt. In our next post, we’ll offer some pointers so you’re not one of them.

Questions? Let me know.