Youngry, a multimedia news startup focused on covering the latest news to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, brought together experts from the local startup and investment ecosystem to educate and answer questions from the audience on Title III as it pertains to Equity Crowdfunding on Thursday evening.
A diverse mix of entrepreneurs, investors, and future startup founders poured into the Cove to learn about Title III of the JOBS Act. The policy went into effect May 2016 allowing startups to raise up to $1 Million dollars every twelve months from a wider mix of investors than previously available. Before Title III, those who earned less than $200,000 and had a net worth of less than $1 Million dollars were unable to invest in private companies for equity.
Ash Kumra, founder of Youngry and organizer of the event, shared the following when asked about the goals of the night, “This evening is all about celebrating entrepreneurship. We launched Youngry to celebrate the entrepreneur lifestyle and spirit with an emphasis on early stage startups that may not get as much attention. We started our equity crowdfunding campaign to invite the community to be a part of our journey. Tonight’s goal is sharing our experience as an example of Title III in action and educating people on why they should care about Title III and the opportunity available with this new outlet to raise money.”
Kumra kicked off the event with opening remarks and a thank you to the sponsors which included UCI Applied Innovation, The Orange County Business Journal, Tech Coast Angels, and Republic. A presentation on Title III then followed from Republic: a SEC and FINRA-approved investment platform enabling startups to raise money from new investors under the new legislation. Highlights of the presentation included the concept of democratizing investment for groups and communities who may have previously had less exposure or historically were not known for high rates of funding. The presentation also described the financial disclosures and processes required of startups to participate in the new investment channel.
Following the presentation, a Q&A was moderated by Richard Reisman of the Orange County Business Journal. Panelists included Kevin Valsi ofRepublic, Amit Singh of Stradling Attorneys at Law, Grant Van Cleve, President of Tech Coast Angels, and Matt Bailey, Director of Collaborative Venturing for UCI Applied Innovation. Questions varied from the viability of the platform to barriers of entry andinvestor protections. Given the newness of Title III, panelists responded that it would take significant success stories before momentum builds. Additionally, panelists also gave different perspectives on where Title III fits in the larger ecosystem of investment options as early seedfunding or a marketing vehicle to empower supporterswith a tangible stake in the startup’s success.
The event ended in a networking mixer and provided an opportunity for the audience to engage with panelists individually to ask more specific questions. When asked about what the audience could do after attending this event, Kumra shared, “I would like them to support Youngry and also share the opportunities around equity crowdfunding. This event is a representation of the potential of the OC entrepreneurship eco-system.”
Hai contributes to the Cove as a content writer for both the Currents newsletter and blog. As an alumnus of UCI with a degree in English and a co-founder of a local creative agency, Hai's focus is centered on spotlighting events, stories, and startups within the Orange County community. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and has participated in fast-pitch competitions through the UCI Antrepreneur Center and has co-organized local business and startup groups such as 1 Million Cups and Orange County Young Entrepreneurs.