Remember that special moment when we all realized that the Web was going to remake yard sales and auctions, but we didn’t know yet who was going to win? (And then eBay left the rest in the dust?)
Such a moment has come again, and with a choice prize: Investing in start-ups. The House has already passed crowdfunding legislation, by a whopping majority. The president supports it. Senators on both sides of the aisle (Merkley, Bennet, and Brown) have agreed on a version. Entrepreneurs are signing petitions to support it. And there is speculation that the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may push for passage of the House bill as-is. This could be law overnight.
What would this mean? It would mean start-ups can “go public” from the get-go. Fasten your seatbelts. This is Kickstarter on jet fuel. Under the House rules, any start-up can publicly announce that it’s raising capital (on Facebook, or even in the local paper), and can raise up to $1M each year. That’s enough for lean start-ups to go many times around the track. Individual investors can invest up to 10 percent of their income. And there is very little paperwork required.
Everybody likes the innovation and jobs that this could propel. Detractors are understandably concerned about fraud.
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