Up until very recently, participants in a crowdfunding project would receive rewards as thank-you’s for their donations. They might get a T-shirt, a special service from the developer like writing code, or an opportunity to preorder the product. They would not, however, get a stake in the company.
That began to change after the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS) Act in April 2012. Under Title II of the act, accredited investors with a minimum $1 million in net worth or income above $200,000 for the previous three years could contribute to a company in exchange for a stake, beginning in late September 2013.
Then in June 2015, Title IV of the act, also known as Regulation A+, took effect, allowing nonqualified investors to get a stake in crowdfunded projects so long as they didn’t invest more than 10% of their income or net worth per year. Companies could raise up to $20 million under Tier I following review by state regulators or up to $50 million under Tier II, after a review by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
If you’re wondering what happened to Title III, it’s coming. But first the SEC has to set final rules, and then an online funding platform has to be created that will be subject to regulation. Title III will allow entrepreneurs to raise up to $1 million in seed money from investors who contribute as little as a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, according to Doug Ellenoff, a corporate and securities attorney at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP, who expects the SEC will act this month.
Given these expectations, ThinkAdvisor thought it a good idea to showcase some nifty products that were created as a result of crowdfunding campaigns and are now available for purchase plus a couple of planned products that are being financed under Title IV, or Regulation A+, of the JOBS Act, but not yet available for purchase. Take a look:
These next two devices are Lost Item Trackers. These small tags can be attached to your keychain, purse, bicycle — even your dog. They help you locate lost items or living creatures using GPS networks linked to your smartphones or computers.
Funds raised: $1,683,627
Retail price: $29
2. TinTag (rechargeable tracker)
Funds raised: $102,006
Retail price: $29
3. Pet Cube. This camera in a cube that pets can play with or just observe lets pet owners watch and talk to their pets from remote locations via links to smartphones. The product was funded on Kickstarter and, according to its website “became one of the most successful crowdfunding pet products in history.”
Funds raised: $251,225
4. V4 Pogo Stick. The air-powered V4 is not just for fun but also for a full-body exercise that works lower back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, triceps — basically all the muscles from the waist down, according to Indiegogo, the crowdfunding website. Its design includes shock absorbers and a grip tip that can soften the impact of a an 8-foot maximum bounce.
Funds raised: $99,912
5. Half-Bike. It looks like a cross between a skateboard and traditional bicycle, with a big wheel in front and two training-like wheels in the back, with the rider standing. The Bulgarian-based architect duo who designed the half-bike call it a “new kind of personal vehicle” that trains balance and reflexes while providing a mode of transportation close to walking.
Funds raised: $973,764