New SEC Rule Doesn’t Enable True Crowdfunding

new sec rule

The Federal Security Exchange Commission this week announced (PDF) changes in the rules for private sale of stock in startups and other companies.

The rules will now make it easier to market these private shares by promoting them in email blasts or over social media…or even through media advertisement. Previously shares could only be sold to angel investors, VC (Venture Capital) funds or other investors with whom the seller has an established relationship.

The new SEC rule change comes on the heels of last year’s Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. It’s aimed at, among other things, improving funding options for business, including better enabling crowdfunding.

But if small businesses hoped the new SEC rule change would enable true crowdfunding, as most people understand it, they’re mistaken, the New York Times reports.

What the New SEC Rule Change Doesn’t Do

The crowdfunding most people are familiar with involves sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Crowdfunding campaigns raise money from site visitors usually in exchange for an incentive. This could include anything from a thank you on the project website to crowdfunders getting a copy of the product, once developed.

But the new SEC rule does not allow just anyone to buy a share of your company. Instead, investors must be accredited. That means with an income of $200,000 or more or with a net worth greater than $1 million, the New York Times reports.

Of course, the rule does make it easier to sell shares privately. That means without filing with the SEC or publicly disclosing financials.

And that is something that may interest smaller businesses. What do you think?

Crowdfunding Photo via Shutterstock


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

6 Reactions
  1. It seems like crowdfunding is now more encouraged. I could not blame them though. With more and more people wanting to spend less, a pool of money is the best resource for just about any type of business.

  2. I think what they are trying to prevent here is to get some money from unaccredited sources. It is still better to get some funds from real investors.

  3. Crowdfunding campaigns raise money from site visitors usually in exchange for an incentive and helps kick start new timers to grow their business or ideas into something tangible.

  4. I was always under the impression that the SEC marched to its own beat regardless of what the government regulates for the rest of the country. I suppose you learn something new everyday.

  5. Shawn,

    I think selling shares privately will open up more funding opportunities for small biz. I do hope that in the near future, crowdfunding platform (and SEC) can accomodate shares buying. I would be very interested in investing in those tech projects/startups.