JOBS Act Creates Crowdfunding Industry but No IPOs
Part of the problem is that the Securities and Exchange Commission hasn't passed any crowdfunding rules or regulations this year. Next week, Mary Jo White goes before the Senate for approval as SEC chief. She's expected to get the nod and would probably be at her desk by month's end. She has already stated that this is a priority for her and it would be an easy way to hit the ground running. Rules can be proposed and opened up for the public comment process and while that is happening the SEC can fix and tweak them. So it's realistic to think there will be rules by the end of the summer at best and the end of the year at worst.
In the meantime, many crowdfunding companies have been established as they gear up for the opening of the market. How these sites will make money is still unknown. Do they charge the investors? Do they charge the companies for listing? How do they pay for due diligence? Sara Hanks, CEO of Crowd Check, believes portals will be made to do something with regards to vetting companies.
"Portals will have some responsibilities and will not be burden free," said Hanks. CrowdCheck was created to do the due diligence for crowdfunding sites and can also guide crowdfunding companies through the process of going public.
Due diligence will be very important because of all the worry about the quality of the companies on these sites. "Only the less attractive companies would choose the Web sites. The more attractive ones will continue to go the traditional route," said Rory Eakin of CircleUp. His company connects accredited investors with consumer entrepreneurs. He pointed out that it's easy for technology companies to raise cash, but that other industries don't play as well. That's why CircleUp focuses on tangible products like organic baby food. Potential investors can walk to a grocery store and see the product, which is especially helpful in a category that is underrepresented by venture capital companies.