Crowd funding gets Mackinac conference buzz
MACKINAC ISLAND -- Small businesses have always complained about the lack of startup cash.
Could crowd-funding be the answer?
David Marlett, executive director of the National Crowd Funding Association, is here on Mackinac Island preaching the gospel of using the Web to get people to invest in companies locally.
Marlett, a Texas-based writer, attorney and entrerpreneur, is riding what he expects will be a big wave in early-stage funding of companies courtesy of the recently enacted federal law, the 2012 Jumpstart our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act.
The feds are now writing rules for investments under the new act, which liberalizes the rules for attracting early stage funding for startup and early-stage companies that will offer equity in exchange for the investment.
Until the regulations are written, crowdfunding is limited to sites like Kiva Detroit that do not offer equity.
But Marlett said a lot of people -- mostly lawyers because of the need to navigate the regulatory landscape -- are working on portals to attract local investors wanting to put money into local companies.
"There were maybe 15 portals nationwide before the JOBS act," Marlett said. "There are about 300 now."
Two Michigan examples are Fundington, created by Michael Melfi and Joe Pick, and Birmingham-based eRaise.com, whose CEO/founder is Spencer Clark.
For more information, check Marlett's Web site, NLCFA.org.