Category Archives: United States

Equity Crowdfunding Legal in 2016

On May 16, 2016, Equity Crowdfunding for non-accredited investors will become legal. This was, of course, a part of the JOBS act that was passed in April of 2012, but the equity crowdfunding provision has been on hold and in debate for over three years. The Securities and Exchange Commission published extra regulations that finally got the provision passed.

This equity crowdfunding provision, also known as Title III, was in debate for such a long time because of the fear that it could invite more fraud. Title III, in its simplest form, is a provision that allows non-accredited investors into equity crowdfunding. Basically, the average Joe will now have the ability to invest in a young company. Title III was initially thought of as a way to keep up the incredible equity crowdfunding growth rate that has been seen for the past five years and now, with its implementation, this growth rate may even get larger.

Of course, there will be regulations. Title III is being implemented through broker-dealers and internet portals specifically designed to host public offerings. This means that anyone can invest in a company, but there is less of a chance of fraud and illegal activity. Additionally, there are limits on the amount of money that can be raised through one investor, which depends on the income of each individual investor. There are also limits on the amount of money that a company can raise through these portals within a 12 month period.

The companies raising money are required to submit detailed answers to investment questions before accepting any offers. This includes, among other items, the risk of investing in their company. There are many other requirements the startups must meet, and questions they must answer, before entering these secure channels to accept investments. However, the payoff in the end will be much greater, as now there is a wider population from which to accept investments.

Title III is a great way for new companies to find investors. It allows companies to advertise their offerings to the public, which was before illegal, and to freely discuss business with investors through secure portals. Although there is dissent, I believe that the implementation of Title III will do great things to the startup investment space. Although the significant regulations imposed on companies within Title III could be a barrier to progress, this provision will surely help more startups become successful.

For more information on the passing of Title III, read this article on Mondaq.

Military Spouses in Entrepreneurship

There are many different subgroups within the umbrella of ‘entrepreneur.’ A few examples would be social entrepreneurs, tech entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, and, most recently, military spouse entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship within the community of military spouses has been growing for a good reason. The careers of the husbands and wives of those in the military are usually put on hold due to constant movement and the responsibilities of caring for their children as single parents. Entrepreneurship has given these individuals a way to delve back into their preferred career paths from remote locations.

Of course, being a military spouse with a business to run is not easy. Business owners have to deal with the challenge of managing a remote workforce, and engaging their target audiences, in the midst of busy days and weeks. This is why nonprofits such as The MilSpo Project have been formed. They educate military spouses on how to manage their time, and provide support to any who require it.

Very recently, an article came out in Forbes about the company R. Riveter, which was begun by two military spouses. Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse founded this company of handmade products in lieu of taking jobs below their experience levels because their husbands were in the military. R. Riveter is a company based on female empowerment, and Cruse and Bradley are making it work in spite of their busy schedules.

The amazing thing about this company, besides the high-quality handbags, is that it works to employ other military spouses as well. Once Bradley and Cruse realized they would have to put their professional careers on hold because their husbands were in the military, they wanted to make a company to help themselves and other women. All of the products of R. Riveter are handmade by military spouses who live in different locations in the country.

Additionally, of course, everything in R. Riveter can be accomplished in a remote location. Bradley and Cruse have formed the company with the knowledge that their employees will be moved around, so they have made everything flexible. Furthermore, all of their materials are made from recycled military equipment. Even their products are the embodiment of the life of a military spouse.

In order to be a happily employed military spouse, a creative business model has to be put into play. Bradley and Cruse realized this early on in their careers, however I doubt they will be the last. I expect to see a rise in the military spouse entrepreneur community as more people realize they do not have to give up their career goals for the career of their spouse.

Draper University of Heroes: School for Entrepreneurs

Todd-Crosland-entreprneurship-university-Draper-UniversityFounder of the successful venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Tim Draper, recently developed an entrepreneurship boarding school in Silicon Valley called Draper University of Heroes. As the education industry is changing due to increased technology, education developers must innovate to increase student achievement in the classroom. While multiple people told Tim that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, he tried to find a way to make this possible through education.

Tim thought that something was missing from his formal education: the ability to fail. In modern day education, students are rewarded by following directions and not making mistakes. In entrepreneurship, it is important to make mistakes so that you can learn from them and move forward.

Draper University will be a much freer institution where students are encouraged to take risks and learn from their mistakes. There will be no standard curriculums, as successful entrepreneurs will come to the classroom and speak towards their experiences and what allowed them to become successful. There will be no history taught, as the only focus is towards the future, so the first part of the program is called “future.”

The second part of the program is survival. This is both an urban and rural survival course that contains militaristic aspects and potential mental anguish. There will be a lot of activities coming at you at a fast pace that will come together in a two-minute presentation to a panel of venture capitalists.

Draper University is a completely different form of schooling that most professors would not agree with. The students learn by doing and creating their own failures. This sort of shake up and real life training to suppose to stir up the students creativity and force them to do rather than to analytically think about every possible outcome. Businesses become successful by entrepreneurs actually making and running their businesses rather than trying to perfect it in the beginning stages. When a business makes a mistake, the entrepreneur will find a way to adjust and move forward. This is what Draper University stands for, and hopefully successful entrepreneurs will come out of the program.

Lessons Learned from Being an Entrepreneur

Todd Crosland entrepreneurship blogThree years ago, Maja Svensson left her big corporate job to create her own business. She created Elsa and Me, a fashion business based out of New York City. In the three years since she started the endeavor, she has learned many things from the various periods of up and down. As a result, she recently completed an article for Huffington Post Women to accumulate her tips, in the hopes of helping others who seek to become entrepreneurs.
First, Svensson says that it is important to remember that anyone can become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs don’t act, dress or talk a certain way. There is no mold that must be fulfilled. To be an entrepreneur, it is really only important that the individual know who they are, what they are good at, and what keeps them motivated. Beyond this, there are three very crucial traits every entrepreneur must have to preserve and survive the other business endeavors that fail—persistence, passion and patience. Persistence marks the success stories from those who quit too early on. Passion helps fuel this persistence, as the individual must truly enjoy what they do to continue to work towards their ultimate goal. Finally, many entrepreneur success stories are reported as if they happened overnight. This is not the case, as it often takes a solid decade to really establish a business. Therefore, patience is key; again, passion should assist in maintaining this particularly problematic trait for some.
There is a conception that, to start a business, one must first have a brilliant new idea. This can often serve as a bit of a hang-up for those interested in starting a business, as it can become frustrating to fester on this idea. However, Svensson offers a solution for this problem; instead of focusing on creating, first focus on a product or service the individual enjoys and work to make the product or process used to create it better, smoother. This allows for a unique service to offer, without the reliance on complete creativity needed to find a new product. In addition to this, another hang-up can be prolonged for a bit as well; a business plan isn’t necessary directly from the start. First, make the product and welcome feedback from consumers. From there, the business plan can become more direct and finite. However, one thing that is completely necessary from the start is an understanding of the individual’s finances and financial goals. It is crucial to know how much it costs to run the business, how much the product costs to make and, therefore, how much needs to be charged for the product to make a profit.

Mayors Focusing on Entrepreneurial Growth in their Cities

Todd Crosland US EntreprenerushipWhat are the public policies needed for a city to increase their entrepreneurship growth? In a recent article done by, they discuss actions taken by different mayors from their respective cities, and the policies and actions that they are taken to improve local economic growth.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Mayor Nancy McFarlane has started an initiative to increase the city’s public partnerships with local entrepreneurs. She recently hired an Entrepreneurship Manager to follow up with local businesses and business owners. The Mayor also injected $100,000 into Citrix’ new accelerator program to aid local businesses with capital connections and local resources.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, Mayor John Cranley is funding a 30,000 square foot building that will house a large percentage of the city’s startup ecosystem. Cincinnati’s startup ecosystem includes Cintrifuse, a mentoring organization, Brandery, a startup accelerator, and CincyTech, a seed stage venture capital firm.

Mayor Andy Berke from Chattanooga, Tennessee is taking the route of offering direct incentives to startup companies. The incentives for these small businesses come as a $500 credit for each employee that they hire. Mayor Berke is also pushing an Open Data Policy, which will create a more transparent startup community in the hopes of more innovation based on statistics and big data. The city is also in the early development stages of building an Innovation District.

Next we have Mayor Mike Duggan from Detroit, Michigan. Detroit’s startup environment is on the rise as Microsoft Ventures recently announced their plans to build an office in downtown Detroit to perpetuate their increasing startup interests. Mayor Duggan also hired an entrepreneurship manager for the city as well as injecting $3 million into an accelerator program for entrepreneurs.