Texas Crowdfunding Conference


The CrowdfundTX Conference featured an impressive assemblage of crowdfunding leaders from around the country. Organizer, Chris Camillo who sits on the board of the Crowdfunding Professionals Association, noted that bringing this group of “speakers together may never happen again.” The conference kept participants glued to their seats as real issues were discussed, leaving everyone feeling updated and excited about investment crowdfunding.

The top ten issues discussed at the conference were:

  1. Jobs: Investment crowdfunding was approved in 2012 when President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law; implementation still awaits regulations from the SEC and FINRA. The jobs, however, aren’t waiting. Heather Lopes, CEO ofEarlyShares, noted that the “JOBS Act has already created 1,500 to 2,000 jobs” from firms that have been launched to do investment crowdfunding and provide related services since the law passed. This represents a mere drop in the bucket compared to the potential jobs impact from unleashing investment crowdfunding, panelists suggested.
  2. Investment Crowdfunding: Perks or reward-based crowdfunding arguably goes back hundreds of years though its popularity on the internet goes back only about five years. Camillo noted that some companies can make little use of rewards-based crowdfunding, suggesting that a “If a physician has an idea for a new medical device, that is a better fit for equity.” Lopes also noted that the kindness that led to a New York community raising $75,000 to help a restaurant destroyed by Hurricane Sandy will also influence equity investments in crowdfunding.
  3. Race and Gender: Visiting one-on-one with Jonathan Sandlund of TheCrowdCafewhile being filmed for a segment in the upcoming documentary film Crowd of Angels, Sandlund agreed that crowdfunding would largely eliminate cultural biases observed in angel and venture capital financing, which are dominated by men making investments in businesses controlled by men. Crowdfunding deals go to women in the roughly the same proportion that women own businesses, according to The Crowdfunding Revolution. Sandlund expressed the belief that racial bias is also being eliminated by crowdfunding.  Rodney Sampson, author ofKingonomics, said, “If you don’t know what crowdfunding is, you can’t seek it out. We need an onramp of over-, over-education.” He added that for venture capitalists, crowdfunding “success will come first; race and gender will become secondary.”

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