Crowdfunding

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CrowdFunding describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money via the Internet to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. CrowdFunding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns, to funding a startup company, movie or small business or creating free software. Crowdfunding for the online sale of securities was signed into law on April 5, 2012 by President Obama, as part of the JOBS Act. Crowdfunding isn't currently legal and remains subject to the SEC approving applicable rules, which they are currently drafting.

Ellenoff Grossman & Schole has been meaningfully involved in the program since its inception. The Firm has sponsored conferences, webinars and has been invited to speak at different events on the topic. Douglas S. Ellenoff, a member of the Firm, has met with the SEC on many occasions to discuss many aspects of the proposed new law, how the industry currently operates and how both the SEC and FINRA will register and regulate funding portals and the crowdfunding activity to be conducted. Additionally, EG&S is working with other securities professionals internationally to assist them with their fashioning of appropriate legislation to permit crowdfunding for securities in their jurisdictions.

The Firm is actively engaged with clients (funding portals, broker-dealers, technology solution providers, software developers, investors and entrepreneurs). In cooperation with the industry trade association, the Firm is discussing what level of regulatory review and monitoring is appropriate by the SEC and FINRA in balancing the interests of the program with investor protection. We have several attorneys that have become key players in the program, including Douglas S. Ellenoff, Barry I. Grossman, Joan Adler, David Selengut, Sarah Williams, Matthew Bernstein and George Georgiades. In particular, Joan Adler, a member of our Broker Dealer Regulatory Group, has shepherded many firms through the broker dealer membership process. She has participated on panels with the FINRA Membership Department to develop the New Membership Application Program and will be proactively working with regulators to establish guidelines for funding portals. And George Georgiades has been closely following the legal developments since inception and is actively advising industry members on the proposed regulations.  Mr. Georgiades has written a CrowdFunding Alert that summarizes the key provisions and current status of the new reforms.      Click here to read the alert.

 


Douglas S. Ellenoff wrote an article that was published in the Vanderbilt Law Review titled "Making Crowdfunding CREDIBLE."
Click here to read the article

Some of Mr. Ellenoff's past speaking engagements:

Mr. Ellenoff met with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand and the Stock Exchange to discuss Crowdfunding, the JOBS Act and how to implement a Thai approach.

Mr. Ellenoff attended Crowdfunding Asia and participated on several panel discussions.

Mr. Ellenoff met with Monetary Authority of Singapore and Spring  to discuss Crowdfunding, the JOBS Act and how to implement a Singaporean approach.

Mr. Ellenoff met with Ontario Securities Commission to discuss Crowdfunding, the JOBS Act and how to implement a Canadian approach.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by the SEC to speak at a Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation.  Click here to view his presenation (fast forward to 2:28 and 30 seconds).

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by FINRA to speak at their 2013 annual conference in Washington D.C. Mr. Ellenoff spoke on the JOBS Act and the regulatory and compliance developments related to the JOBS Act.

Mr. Ellenoff  was invited by the Office of U.S. Senator Michael Bennet  to participate in a Crowdfunding Forum at Colorado State University.  Mr. Ellenoff gave the Crowdfunding Rules Overview.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by Business Law Section and the International Section of  the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) to speak at at a Webcast titled: The SEC’S Crowdfunding Proposal– A Preliminary Look.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited to speak a the 2014 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. His panel was titled: The New Era of Investor Relations.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited to speak at the NSF 2014 SBIR/STTR Phase II Grantees Conference in Baltimore. His panel was titled Crowd-funding for Early Stage Technology Companies: Mini-lectures and Panel Discussion.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by Trueventus in Malaysia to speak on Crowdfunding and SPACs.  His panels were titled: Crowdfunding of Securities - the international capital formation movement and The future outlook of Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPACs) as a new and unique investment opportunity in Asia.

Mr. Ellenoff met with representatives of MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) as well as IDA (Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) and SPRING (The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board) to discuss the possibilities of Crowdfunding in Singapore.  While in Singapore, he also discussed the applicability of Crowdfunding with the emerging hydropreneur community.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited to speak at the Second Annual Silicon Valley Meets Crowdfunders Conference.  He delivered the keynote speech.  Click here to view it (fast forward to 20:28).

Mr. Ellenoff was invited tp speak at the Rotman Capital Markets Institute Panel Discussion on Crowdfunding. The panel discussed debt and equity crowdfunding in the Canadian capital markets; as well as capital formation, regulatory issues, investor protection and social welfare.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by Harvard Business School Association of Boston to participate in their HBSAB 2013 New Venture Program (NVP) to discuss the viability of the emerging crowdfunding industry.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by The White House to attend a Champions of Change Ceremony at the White House. This Champions event honored entrepreneurs who exemplify the promise of crowdfunding to fuel the growth of startups, small businesses, and innovative projects across the Nation.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited to speak at the State of Equity-Based Crowdfunding press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The members of the Crowdfunding Professional Association who spoke at the event went on to meet with lawmakers and the press at Capitol Hill for an informational luncheon. Leaders of the venture and Crowdfunding community pushed for immediate action on fulfilling the promises made in last year’s Jump Start Our Businesses Startups Act (JOBS Act) to make equity- and debt-based Crowdfunding a reality in the U.S.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited to sponsor and deliver the opening keynote address at this year's Crowdfund Global Expo in San Diego.  Designed to be the premier networking and educational event of 2014, Crowdfund Global Expo delved through the complex layers of this rapidly expanding market and covered every aspect of the funding revolution.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by New York Law School to be part of their Forum: Real Estate Finance 2014: Hot Topics in Crowdfunding & EB-5 Investments.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited to speak at Aspen Investment Forum 2014 in Aspen, Colorado. He spoke on two panels: "Pros and Cons of Equity Crowdfunding for Investors" and "Misconceptions of CrowdFunding- What it is and isn't."

Mr. Ellenoff was a panelist at CrowdFinance 2013: REdefining Wall Street with Crowdfinance.  He spoke on the panel titled "Advertising Under a New Regulatory Umbrella."

Mr. Ellenoff was invited to be a panelist at the Public Policy Forum on Venture Capital and Innovation (“PPF”) in Quebec City.  The panel was titled “Crowd funding: potential impacts on the financing of high growth SMEs – Opportunities, Risks and challenges for policy makers”.

Mr. Ellenoff was interviewd by Devin Thorpe with Crowdcast for a Crowdfund update.  View interview here.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by CfPA to attend their 2nd Annual Crowd Investing Innovation Forum.  He spoke on several crowdfunding panels.   

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors (AM&AA) to participate in their summer conferene by being part of their Crowdfunding panel. 

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by the Entrepreneur & Small Business Forum to speak at their panel "The Future of Crowdfunding."  Some of the topics discussed were : what types of companies have been funded within the current guidelines; what is the success rate of funding campaigns, and range of proceeds; what are the primary points of debate regarding the new legislation, and to what degree are the new regulations expected to simplify the process of issuing equity for startups.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by Oxford Valuation Partners, Crowd Valley and KPMG to participate in their event: The new Crowdfunding Landscape for Equity Investment. The landscape of funding options is rapidly changing, driven by new SEC no-action letters and changes stemming from the JOBS Act that are permitting a broader scope of activity in the space outside of the traditional networks.

Mr. Ellenoff was one of the keynote speakers at the Silicon Valley Crowdfund Ventures Conference.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by NowStreet to participate in Part I of their webinar series, “Capitalizing on Financial Innovation." The webinar focused on crowdfunding and aimed at properly preparing investors, asset allocators and issuers for the forthcoming Crowdfunding Revolution.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by Merrill DataSite to participate in their webinar "JOBS Act: Leveling the Playing Field for Small/Micro-Cap Companies in the Capital Markets." Topics addressed included: how the JOBS Act redefined the playing field for small and micro-cap companies; which industries and regions present the best opportunities for investment in the small/micro-cap space; what are the financing and venture opportunities currently for start-ups and how has crowd-funding changed the game; what impact will the JOBS Act have on the IPO market in 2013, and what impact will the JOBS Act have on larger companies in the long-term.

 Mr. Ellenoff was invited by Canada's Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) to participate in their Crowdfunding in the Canadian Context conference.  Mr. Ellenoff spoke about
Crowdfunding in the US.  Click here to view his power point presentation

Participated in "Crowdfund Texas: Impact of the JOBS Act on Texas Investors and Start-ups" in Austin, Texas. It was a premiere industry conference that brought together Texas investors, start-ups, incubators, accelerators, and academic leaders in entrepreneurship for an intensive day of interactive educational sessions from leading thought leaders. Mr. Ellenoff was invited to speak on several panels as well as one exclusively for the media.

Participated in “The Crowdfund Act – Framing the new regulatory landscape Symposium” sponsored in Washington by the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA). Mr. Ellenoff spoke on two different panels: The Mechanics of a Crowdfund Offering and Reaching the Crowd.

Attended the first national conference endorsed by the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), held at the University of Utah Guest House and Conference Center. Mr. Ellenoff was the keynote speaker at the conference.

Was interviewed by Brett Johnson with One Med Place on CrowdFunding.

Participated in an invitation only JOBS Act Roundtable at New York University.

Mr. Ellenoff spoke at New York's first Crowdfunding 101 Workshop. He spoke about the firm's role in the process that generated the JOBS Act, our current activity in assisting with the SEC's rule-making process and the current & future legal issues that will effect crowdfunding platforms planning to present equity-based crowdfunding solutions for small businesses.

Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP was the premier sponsor at Deal Flow Media's CrowdFunding Conference, in New York City. Mr. Ellenoff opened the conference with his keynote address focusing on the outlook of the CrowdFunding Market.

Attended meetings between several department heads of the SEC and the crowdfunding industry, including the The National Crowdfunding Association (NLCFA).

Participated in Washington DC's first national crowdfunding conference. CrowdCheck hosted experts from the US Small Business Administration, Capitol Hill, think tanks, startups and the securities industry at the conference, entitled "The Wisdom of the Crowd." Mr. Ellenoff spoke on fraud prevention for crowdfunding.

Mr. Ellenoff was invited by the Inter American Development Bank and Multilateral Investment Fund to participate in their workshop “Crowdfunding: Financing Ideas, Entrepreneurs and Institutions The Market in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Mr. Ellenoff was part of two different panels: Discussion of Regulatory Aspects and Business Models Emerging due to the JOBS Act and Crowdfunding with Financial Returns. 

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