Silicon Valley insiders like Ron Conway fought hard for the Jobs Act, lobbing hashtag after hashtag at Washington's paper belt. Now, thanks to the magic of deregulation, venture capitalist already benefitting from low interest rates and irrational exuberance in tech stocks can have an easier time raising funds.
Today, 500 Startups became the most high-profile investment firm to date to take advantage of new rules by raising $100 million for its third fund from the public, reports the Wall Street Journal:
500 Startups, founded in 2010, is using new Securities and Exchange Commission rules that allow firms to engage in "general solicitation," or public fundraising activities. Fund partners taking advantage of the rules are permitted to speak at public events, tweet about and advertise the fact that their firms are raising a fund [...]
The firm will use white-label SeedInvest technology to run a website, 500.co.seedinvest, where interested accredited investors can review the firm's public statements, make their interest known, get their accredited status verified, and put their money into 500 Startups' newest fund without a lot of paperwork and snail mail.
Stupid paper. Now investing in startups is practically as easy as buying a gun! This helps disadvantaged firms like Dave McClure's 500 Startups, which was only able to raise a measly $30 million and $44 million for its two previous funds.
Mr. McClure said traditional investors, or firms and funds that have been around for at least five years, already have processes they are comfortable with and often raise capital "exclusively from larger institutional [partners] who they need to go talk to privately anyway."
However, doesn't seem like McClure will be using the Jobs Act to open up the potential of profit to the proletariat:
While the firm is doing some portion of fundraising online, Mr. McClure said, a majority of the capital it plans to raise will come in $1 million to $10 million "chunks" from people familiar with the 500 Startups funds, portfolio and community offline.
So if you still have to be in-the-know, what's the benefit? More public about solicitation, less public about pertinent information.
To contact the author of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.