Concord Monitor – Equity crowdfunding allows anyone to invest in start-ups

Like most startups, QaZing in Peterborough needs to raise money. And like many, it needed to choose between crowdfunding and selling equity to rich investors. But unlike any other startup in New Hampshire, it’s doing both. QaZing, which makes an app to connect people with a variety of services in the on-demand marketplace, is the only company in the state to have sought investors under new federal equity crowdfunding rules. This system, which has been in the works since 2012 but only went fully into effect in May, allows virtually anybody to buy equity in a private company, something previously limited to accredited investors with at least $1 million in net worth. “For the first time, anybody, not just the wealthy, can invest in a local company,” said Jason Garland, CEO of QaZing, which has an office on Peterborough’s Main Street. “It’s often the case that a local startup company, if it has the whole community behind it, has a much greater chance of success.” If you donate to a company through Kickstarter, you might get a T-shirt or a gizmo; doing it through StartEngine, the equity crowdfunding portal used by QaZing, gives you a piece of the company that, hopefully, will rise in value. (For details, go to Equity crowdfunding, officially called Regulation Crowdfunding Title III or Title IV from Securities and Exchange Commission rules and legislation, is so new that the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulations issued a cautionary press release about the topic Thursday even though the state has virtually no oversight in this area. “It’s just getting started, so we have to see how it develops. What we’re really focused on is making sure that investors realize that it’s out there, but that you’re dealing with startup companies, which have a high failure high, high rate of risk,” said Kevin Moquin, senior staff attorney for the Bureau of Securities Regulation. “You need to know what you’re getting into.” If an equity crowdfunded investment disappears, he said, New Hampshire would get involved only if there was fraud. Otherwise, investors beware.

Source: Concord Monitor – Equity crowdfunding allows anyone to invest in start-ups


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