The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Small business funding options: Angel investing, equity fundraising, crowdfunding & startup loans

Growing your business is difficult, particularly when you need money to fund your plans. Many entrepreneurs use personal savings or the revenue from the company to “bootstrap” their way to success. But sometimes that’s not possible because either you lack the personal wealth or the company needs too much upfront investment prior to revenue generation. Traditional fundraising from professional investors can be daunting both in terms of time and money. However, over the past few years, some additional small business funding avenues have become available.

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FORBES Update: Funding the Startup Dream

In the last installment of our lessons learned series, Mike Willee and I covered the topic of mentorship. Here, we move onto funding. As an accountant and entrepreneur, I’m guided by the motto “cash is king.” From the day you start your business, money isn’t far from your mind. While you may have far-flung dreams of one day having enough money to retire to a private island, your more immediate concern is what you have at hand. We’ve all heard the axiom, “you have to spend money to make money,” and that has never seemed truer than it does today.

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FORBES Update: What You Need To Know About Upcoming Changes To Crowdfunding Legislation, Part II

Some might summarize the last four years since the JOBS Act was passed as the best—and worst—of times. On a positive note, we have seen Title II and Title IV become a reality. Unfortunately, peoples’ discomfort with the rules have limited the general solicitation made possible by Title II. Last time, I wrote here on the preparation needed for the May 16th launch of Title III equity crowdfunding.

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Sixty Days to Launch: Are You Ready?

Much has been written about equity crowdfunding over the years, a lot by Traklight. We even have a trademarked slogan, Practice Safe Crowdfunding® and a five part series about the topic. In the past year or so, we have not written much because the final rules were trapped with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). But all that changes in sixty days on May 16, 2016 when federal equity crowdfunding funding  (Title III) becomes legal. 

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CBS and Paramount Issue Prime Directive to Stop Star Trek Fan Film

When it comes to geek culture, passion is what drives the industry. Sure, making money is ultimately the bottom line, as it is in every other industry, but those dollars come from passionate fan bases that are invested in shows and films and books that they love. One need only look at the recent success of The Force Awakens to see that passion on display. It is that investment that has allowed many of these franchises to maintain such a long life. The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977. Doctor Who has been on and off the air for over half a century. And Star Trek is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, a show that has become synonymous with zealous fans. But the studio behind Star Trek is less than thrilled with fan-made projects springing forth from that zeal.

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Woohoo!: Title III Final Rules Before Halloween II

I was in NYC in early October and met up with some fellow CfiRA (Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory  Advocates ) members who have it on good authority that the Title III rules for federal equity crowdfunding will come out in October.  Woohoo again! This means that you can add a federal crowdfunding campaign to your New Year’s resolution.  In all seriousness, this opens up another channel for capital for startups and small businesses to raise money in the form of either equity or debt.

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Woohoo!: Title III Final Rules Before Halloween

I was in NYC in early October and met up with some fellow CfiRA (Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory  Advocates ) members who have it on good authority that the Title III rules for federal equity crowdfunding will come out in October.  Woohoo again! This means that you can add a federal crowdfunding campaign to your New Year’s resolution.  In all seriousness, this opens up another channel for capital for startups and small businesses to raise money in the form of either equity or debt.

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Crowdfunding Compilation

Over the past week, Mary has done quite a bit on crowdfunding, with blogs, webinars, and even a TV appearance. And why wouldn't we? Crowdfunding is a popular subject right now, with entrepreneurs raising funds for their inventions and products and potato salads. So while we continue to wait for the SEC to release the long-awaited rules for equity crowdfunding, why not check out what she's written and recorded on the subject?

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Practice Safe Crowdfunding, Part IV: Create a Pitch

The final step is to create a pitch. The video is critical as you have a short period of time to capture someone’s attention.  Keep it high level and if there is a compelling angle, use it. As we saw in last week’s blog,  the success of the G3Box campaign came from tying fundraising for a maternity ward to Mother’s Day and crafting rewards that leveraged compassion for mothers.

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Practice Safe Crowdfunding, Part II: Picking a Platform

In the summer of 2012, I was listening to a webinar on crowdfunding presented by then 85 Broads, now Ellevate.com.  The presenter, Candace Klein, was one of the driving forces behind the Jumpstart our Business Startups  (JOBS) Act passed in April of the same year.  Of course, my first concern was for the impact on intellectual property when disclosing a full business plan and product information online. 

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Bottoms Up! An Interview with Kit Lab founder Ryan Sanders

Today we're featuring a new crowdfunding project known as Kit Lab, a site where you can sell ingredient kits of your home brewing recipes. Kit Lab packs and ships the kits, authors share in the profits. The crowdfunding campaign launches tomorrow, April 2nd (link coming as soon as it's up). Our interview with Kit Lab founder Ryan Sanders is below.

1. Why did you start Kit Lab?

I started Kit Lab because I wanted to solve the headaches I was running into when brewing from recipes I found online. I also felt like I wanted a better way to know when my favorite authors posted new recipes online. What materialized from those needs was Kit Lab, a site where you can follow your favorite recipe authors, receive notifications when they post new recipes, and where when you find a recipe you’d like to try, you can simply “click to brew” and the exact ingredients are on their way to your doorstep. Simple!

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Crowdfunding Bill Introduced in Arizona Legislature

Since the JOBS Act was passed in 2012, observers have waited for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to establish rules for equity crowdfunding. To this point, the SEC has yet to release those rules, and in the absence of federal guidance, a number of states have established their own guidelines. Now the state of Arizona has a proposed bill that would add it to the list of states that have taken the initiative to create guidelines for small businesses to join the equity crowdfunding fray.

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A True Crowdfunder's Nightmare: The Importance of Safe Crowdfunding

To say that entrepreneurs work hard on their business is an understatement. They pour untold hours into their work, whether it's getting their venture off the ground or reaching for that next rung on the ladder of success. It would be fair to say that for most, it is their life's passion. Given that level of commitment, there are likely no more frightening, wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat scenarios about the theft of your idea. Unfortunately for one entrepreneur, she was forced to live that nightmare.

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Crowdfunding Update: Equity Crowdfunding Is Still In A Holding Pattern

Late October saw some exciting activity in the crowdfunding industry, but federal equity crowdfunding is still not possible. As we head into the final two months of 2014, the industry seems to be growing weary of waiting for the SEC to produce final rules. That is not to say that anyone is giving up on crowdfunding—quite the opposite!

The 3rd Annual Crowdfunding Global Crowdfunding Convention & Bootcamp (GCCB) took place in Las Vegas. I have attended all three conferences and over the past two years, the GCCB scope has expanded to include all types of crowdfunding, not just equity crowdfunding under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.

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