Saturday, August 31, 2019

Wait! Are you telling me that I can literally take $500 and...

Imagine a world where almost all individuals in the community have the opportunity to invest in almost any business in their community...  Wait! What...?

About Will McGuire

Our Community is Innovative
The concept is so foreign yet strangely familiar.  We pass the buildings and bustling entrepreneurs in our communities.  They and their teams serve us coffee as we sit at tables made by a company built by entrepreneurs, while looking at our email, calendar, and news feeds on our phones...apps, phone components, and even the digital data that transports the communication...all made by entrepreneurs.  Did you know several of the innovators who developed the tech we all use reside right here in our state?  

Everything we use to live out our day to day life was at some point created by someone who had an idea and turned it into a business.  Most of these entrepreneurs will need to seek funding at some point in time beyond what they can provide themselves.  That's where trouble seems to start for several entrepreneurs, but they have an incredible asset directly in front of them and most have no idea it exists.  

Do you know what it is?

It's You...
...and me and potentially everyone in the community.  

I was invited to perform a lunch and learn educational session at a co-working location near Charlotte.  In these settings I give people the disclosures that I'm not an RIA, attorney, etc. so I can't provide them or anybody else investment or legal advice.  My job is one of education to businesses, investors and the partner network which serves both.  It's always neat to see individuals in these sessions connect the dots.

In the middle of my session one of the attendees said [ I'm paraphrasing a bit] 
"Wait! Will, are you telling me that if one of the potential high-growth businesses in our co-working space puts out a public offering, I can see that offering from my cell phone and literally take $500 of my money and invest in them?...and if they really take off, I have the potential for VC-like (Venture Capital) returns?"   
I responded,"Yes, the opportunity is now possible...and it's not just high growth ventures. Its also 'Main street' businesses like the coffee shop you love, the brewery you visit, the restaurant or other store that you go to. These all have the potential opportunity to raise capital from anyone." 
Her response:  "That is so cool.  I never knew I had the opportunity to do that, but it makes so much sense.  Why hadn't we been doing this before?"
My response: "Exactly what I said when I 1st learned about it 3 years ago.  Your response is similar to many others I've spoken with once they hear this is possible."

It became possible a little over 3 years ago
Entrepreneurs now have the ability to seek capital from anyone, starting with those who know, love, like, and trust them.  It doesn't matter if who they know are 'accredited investors' or not.  

Businesses can seek capital from wealthy investors and everyday investors using a variety of offering types, providing them the opportunity for returns assuming the business is successful.  Real Estate, "main street" businesses and yes, even  potential high growth startups can raise capital from their crowd.  

Individuals with various risk profiles have the opportunity to find investments tailored to their preferences.

  • Regular Pay Back Potential:  Businesses offering revenue shares at 1.5x or 2x returns, or real estate with dividends may be attractive to individuals who prefer investments that offer to pay them back regularly.  Businesses may also offer a perk to make the investment more attractive and to market their business.

    Example: A food truck, brewery or boutique may offer a 1.8x return + perk where for a $500 investment the investor gets 10% off the entire purchase once a month when they bring in their friend.

    I won't dive into all of the mechanics of how revenue shares can be use by all types of businesses, but just know they are incredibly flexible.
  • 5x, 10x, 100x, 200x+ Multiplier Potential: If another person prefers high potential gains (high risk), they might prefer to invest in potential high growth startups. 

    Example: If the next potential Unicorn offers a public raise early on when their valuation cap is say $5M and Exits/has an IPO at $1B valuation 7-10 years later, the investor shares would be worth $20,000 for every $100 invested. 

    A Unicorn (company with valuation of >=$1B) is a rare find, yet the opportunity exists. We have companies across our state who have achieved those types of valuations and also have several who never become Unicorns but still provide the potential for 5x, 10x, and other high multiple returns.
In either case, 
  • Businesses have more options to source capital than they did before.  
  • Individuals have more opportunities to invest in businesses who have the potential to provide them returns they didn't have access to before.
Anyone who gets into investing in this way needs to know that investing is very risky and no one should ever invest more than they are willing to loose because there is never a guarantee for any return.  

So what world are we creating?
We're creating a world where almost all individuals in the community have the opportunity to invest in almost any business in their community, from their favorite places in town to visit to the potential next high growth startup.  People have the opportunity to literally shape their community by the businesses they invest or don't invest in.  They have the opportunity to the potential returns from the growth of their community.

I hear from people everyday that they want to be connected to the community where they live.  They want to live in communities where they raise their families together with their neighbors who become friends... or even if they don't have kids, they want to experience life together with their neighbors who become friends.  They want to give back.

Most just never knew that they could be even more vested where they live simply by investing in businesses in their community. 

So this brings up a very important question...
"What is your why?"...  In my opinion, it's the most important question I ask every founder.  So it's only fair I share My Why.  My Why is I want to create the world I want future generations to live in... for my kids, my friends' kids and others in my community, including those I'll never meet.  I want them to have the opportunity to do the same, simply by investing in those they know, love, trust and who are creating something of value that is sustainable in every sense of the word.  To me that's community.  At the end of the day, Margin = Mission.  

What's your why?

Monday, July 15, 2019

You can invest in startups and private businesses, you just don't know it yet.

By Will McGuire
About Will McGuire

New laws are in place that allow anyone to invest in startups and private businesses through a process called  Investment Crowdfunding.  Now everyone has the opportunity to invest, but most are not aware of what this means or how it works.  Listen in to the Charlotte Angel Connection podcast as we discuss the potential benefits of Investment Crowdfunding with William Bissett. 

  • Why was CrowdfundNC started?
  • How does Investment Crowdfunding help solve the "lack of access to capital" problem?
  • What is Investment Crowdfunding?
  • How can anyone be an investor in early stage ventures and their favorite business around the corner?
  • How do businesses who want to raise capital benefit from Investment Crowdfunding?
  • How does Investment Crowdfunding make the raise process easier for accredited investors?
  • How does Investment Crowdfunding make it easier for greater participation from potentially all individuals?
  • How does the overall NC entrepreneurial ecosystem benefit?

These questions and more are discussed in the podcast.

Legal Disclaimer
This post is for information purposes only and should not be regarded as a recommendation of, or an offer to sell or as a solicitation of an offer to buy, any financial product. Such offer will only be made by means of formal offering documents and other definitive documentation, and any potential investor should read such documents carefully, including all of the risk factors relating to the investment, before investing. Investments involve a high degree of risk and those investors who cannot afford to lose their entire investment should not invest. Investments May Lose Value - No Guarantees - Securities and Investments are not FDIC Insured.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) Marketing Do's and Don'ts

By Will McGuire

About Will McGuire
In this new world of businesses using media and technology to raise capital from both accredited and non-accredited investors, what are the legal compliance rules for companies, team members and their marketing and sales agents when preparing for and conducting a Regulation CF offering? 

- Who can you talk to?
- What can you say?
- When can you say it?
- Where can you say it?
- How should you say it?

By watching this recorded webinar by Innovate Capital Law, CrowdfundNC, and Localstake you can learn more about the do’s and don’ts of raising capital using SEC Regulation CF. 

Note, this webinar is a general educational event and does not constitute legal or other advice tailored to any specific person or offering. Consult an experienced securities attorney to advise how the principles discussed in the webinar apply to your business and offering. 

Click here to watch webinar. You may be requested to register first to watch.

For more information please contact
Benji Jones, Cofounder
Innovate Capital Law

Will McGuire

CrowdfundNC Welcomes Sumit Vohra as an Advisor

By Will McGuire

Sumit Vohra, a very successful entrepreneur, advisor, board director, investor, and technologist joins CrowdfundNC's Advisory team and will be serving an active role in advising the startups and Main Street businesses we support.

Sumit Vohra
Sumit is the Founder, CEO & Chief Drinking Officer at Lonerider Brewing Company which is the largest custom brewery in the Triangle and operates in several states and the UK.  He also serves as Chairman of Lonerider Spirits.

Sumit is a Board Member for several companies and organizations, and mentors founders at startups in NC.  He is an avid technologist, with deep programming and technical program management experience.  He's also an incredible team builder and recognized leader working to generate long lasting impact on his community.  

See our About page for more information on Sumit's expertise.

We welcome Sumit to the CrowdfundNC team and look forward to his valuable advice and experience as together we serve entrepreneurs and investors in our community.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

What We Can Learn From These Interesting Investment Crowdfunding Campaigns on Localstake

By Will McGuire

We often get the question "Can you show me some examples of how investment crowdfunding works?" And we always advise potential crowdfunders to take a look at campaigns that are already up and running and are getting funded to see what works well.
About Will McGuire

Here are a couple of interesting investment crowdfunding campaigns that are currently running on the Localstake platform. The first one is a distillery called Ogdens Own. See the campaign here:

This company has received commitments of $2M from investors, surpassing their max goal of $1.9M. In this case, they are selling equity in their company, and using a crowdfunding exemption that allows anyone to invest as well as an exemption which only allows accredited investors.  They compiled an excellent profile and story on Localstake, and used a great marketing campaign to explain why their community would want to invest in the business. As a result, they have received many investments from their loyal customer base and community.

The second one is for a real estate cooperative in Michigan called Commongrounds Cooperative. You can see the campaign here:

This is another example of appealing to the community for funding of a new venture. In this case, the community will benefit from having a cooperative real estate venture where small businesses can rent space, and also participate in the value generated by the cooperative over time. This raise additionally provides the investor with the ability to opt for a full rate of return on their investment or for them to choose to split their investment returns and allowing the cooperative board to direct these returns to areas of social impact in the community and the building

There is a lot to learn from both of these campaigns, and these are just two examples of the many types of investment crowdfunding campaigns that are successfully raising money all over the country. Contact me at to see if the investment crowdfunding opportunity may be right for you.

This message is not meant to imply directly or indirectly for any individual to take a position in any investment mentioned.  Nor is it meant to be guidance or advice on how to structure an investment offering for any company.  It's meant only for educational purposes so readers can observe what other companies are doing.