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Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Tugg Headline Crowdfunding Event at SXSW in Austin, Texas

24 Feb

 John Trigonis, Indiegogo; Elisabeth Holm, Kickstarter; and Nicolas Gonda, Tugg to Headline One-Hour Crowdfunding Presentation on the Potential of the Crowd

By Robert Hoskins

The Art of the Hustle/Hustling for Art: Kickstarter + Indie Filmmaking
by Elisabeth Holm
From 2010-2013 over 90 Kickstarter-funded films have played SXSW, raising funds and engaging communities throughout their creative process. From GIMME THE LOOT and 12 O’CLOCK BOYS to “Slomo” and GIRL WALK ALL DAY, Kickstarter-funded films of all stripes are the toast of Austin and beyond, and they’re made by some of the 12,000+ successfully-funded filmmakers who’ve seen over $188M pledged to their films.

SXSW Interactive March 8 Austin 2014 Crowdfunding Events

Indiegogo and Kickstarter to Present Crowdfunding Films Presentation at SXSW Film Crowdfunding Event on March 8 in Austin, TX

These creators are true hustlers — growing communities, raising the profile of their projects, gaining new resources, contacts, and insights into their audiences, all while funding and making their art. To date 50,000+ Kickstarter creators have connected with over 5M backers pledging not only for rewards but to be part of projects they love. Can’t knock the hustle. Time to get yours on. Read more…

Crowdfund a Simple Idea to the Silver Screen” by John Trigonis
Take a look at crowdfunding films on Indiegogo with John T. Trigonis, Indiegogo’s Campaign Specialist for Film & Video, and Author of ‘Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign,’ and learn how it is a very smart option for up-and-coming filmmakers and not just A-list movie stars.

Trigonis will discuss how he helps hundreds of industry professionals use Indiegogo to open doors and create the movies they want to make with less hassles afforded them by the more traditional modes of film financing. With new campaigns launched on the platform daily, Trigonis will use the latest, hottest film and video campaigns on the platform as examples on how future filmmakers can successfully crowdfund their upcoming projects. Read more…

Why We Should Crowd Source” by Nicolas Gonda
Crowdsourcing is the most powerful new tool for building communities and engaging fans. As co-founder of the audience-driven theatrical distribution platform, Tugg, Nicolas Gonda will explore how crowdsourcing is democratizing the entertainment business, by empowering artists, influencers, and audiences to collaborate and achieve together what would otherwise have been impossible.

By looking at examples of crowdsourcing today – from funding consumer products like Pebble to bringing together a city for Batkid – we’ll assess the future of crowdsourcing and its increasing presence in our lives. Read more…

Click here to see the full Crowdfunding SXSW Event Lineup in Austin, Texas beginning March 7, 2014

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Non Profit, Higher Education Crowdfunding Expert, Kimbia, to Share Online Fundraising Secrets at SXSW in Austin, TX

23 Feb

Kimbia will share proven practices that have successfully helped non-profits, higher education institutions and community foundations acquire and retain more donors

By Robert Hoskins

In March, Kimbia representatives will be speaking at at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas Kimbia will be sharing its strategies for successful online fundraising and content marketing expertise at the event to further

Kimbia enable nonprofits, higher education institutions and community foundations to find, convert and retain the highest-value supporters.

Kimbia enables nonprofits, higher education institutions and community foundations to find, convert and retain the highest-value supporters.

Improving online fundraising and content marketing are two key opportunity areas for organizations seeking to better fund their mission. This is because:

  • Online-acquired donors who give to and share a nonprofit’s message across many channels (omni-channel supporters) have the highest lifetime value.
  • Online revenue growth is outpacing all other channels, engaging major donors and more participants who in turn share their commitment with their family, friends, and colleagues.
  • To be relevant, build trust and continue to inspire and retain supporters, organizations must continually be communicating, not just fundraising. This requires a steady stream of new and relevant content that motivates them to make your mission their mission.

“Proven practices in online fundraising, including the social media, mobile, peer-to-peer, partner and giving day/crowdfunding aspects are evolving rapidly,” said Dan Gillett, Kimbia’s Chief Executive Officer. “This makes it challenging for nonprofits with limited resources to stay current. So, we’re always looking for ways to share our experience working with a wide range of organizations in these specialized areas.”

The presentations at SXSW Interactive is Friday, March 7th from 12:30pm – 1:30pm, Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC. Miriam Kagan, Kimbia’s senior principal and fundraising strategist, and David Neff, digital engagement strategist at PwC, will host an interactive session on the Ethics & Future of Crowdfunding for Communities. Attendees will work together to build a crowdfunding bill of rights.

Kimbia’s omni-channel fundraising platform enables you to create a deeper donor relationship by leveraging the strengths of each channel and putting donors at the center of all development activities. Ultimately this approach results in greater brand awareness, giving and lifelong loyalty.

To date, Kimbia is proud to support more than 5,000 customers to date, including the American Heart Association, Smithsonian Institution, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, Columbia University, Georgetown University, WGBH – Boston, KCSM – San Mateo, The Ragnar Relay Series, Beijing International Triathlon, MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, Communities Foundation of Texas, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and The Boston Foundation. 

Crowdfunding Takes Center Stage at SxSW Event in Austin, Texas beginning March 7, 2014

16 Feb

Crowdfunding Experts Converge at SxSW to Highlight the Significant Advancements in Title II & III SEC Regulations for Entrepreneurs and Startups in the High-Tech, Bio-Tech, Clean-Tech, Real Estate, Film, Music, Non-Profits, Science Research and Healthcare Industries

SXSW Interactive March 7-11 Austin 2014 Crowdfunding Events

SXSW Interactive March 7-11 Austin 2014 Crowdfunding Seminars and Presentations

By Robert Hoskins

Our recommended list of Crowdfunding Presentations to attend during the South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas during the SXSW Interactive session from March 7th through March 11th, 2014.  Click here to register.

The “Real” Crowdfunding Investment

Friday, March 7
12:30PM – 1:30PM

Chris Tyrell and Jessica Randaza will be speaking about the widely anticipated Title III crowdfunding rules that were approved unanimously by the SEC and successfully completely the 90-day public comment period.  Now the entire United States is waiting to see what changes, if any, the SEC will make to the previously approved rules.  The new regulations will add approximately 229 million new unaccredited investors to the pool of potential investors that will soon be able to make investments in startups and existing businesses seeking venture capital in return for an attractive return-on-investment (ROI). Read more…

Ethics & Future of Crowdfunding for Communities

Friday, March 7
12:30PM – 1:30PM

David Neff and Miriam Kagan will cover crowdfunding models that range from self-starting “fund my trip” models to a more established national community foundation-led model that raised over $20 million in one day. Next they will cover crowdfunding industry growth, and the ethical questions that have surrounded old school “fundraising” by non-profits for many years.  How much money actually goes to the beneficiaries and where does the rest end up?   Session participants will led through an exercise that will allow the group to see the necessary requirements to build a thorough Crowdfunding Bill of Rights. Read more…

Make It Rain: The New Healthcare Funding Landscape

Friday, March 7
5:00PM – 6:00PM

Digital Health is a growing market for crowdfunding dollars, with relatively few prolific angel and venture investors, entrepreneurs are getting creative about ways to find alternative venture capital. This healthcare crowdfunding presentation will examine the funding options available for various healthcare entrepreneurs at any stage. Read more…

The Original Gangsters of Crowdfunding

Saturday, March 8
12:30PM – 1:30PM

This panel discussion will feature four social good crowdfunding platforms that are focused on donation-based crowdfunding missions to improve the world for social good.  These platforms allow the privileged to make tax deductible donations to those who are not lucky enough to have nutritious food, clean water, bathrooms with flushing toilets or weatherproofed housing.  It will humble you to learn what conditions many third world country people actually live with little hope for help from the outside world.  With your help, these organizations can help you help them change the lives of many and get a tax deduction for helping. Whether you attend this panel discussion or not, please make at $25 donation to one or all four of the organizations. Read more…

The Indie Science Revolution

Saturday, March 8
3:30PM – 4:30PM

An increasing number of brave researchers are venturing out from the ivory towers of academia to pursue their own independent research. This new culture of indie science attracts investigators with the freedom to develop their ideas without the confines of politics and bureaucracy often found in academic departments.  Read more…

DIY PR for Crowdfunded / Kickstarter Projects

Sunday, March 9
11:00AM – 1:30PM

This two and a half hour long workshop, designed for DIY crowdfunders, will go over some PR best practices, strategies and tactics on how to create interest for crowdfunded projects based on conversations with individuals who’ve run successful Kickstarter campaigns and their interaction with reporters. It will cover planning & strategy, timing, pitch writing, story angles, social media, approaching reporters, how to avoid “dead zone” during a campaign, and more. Read more…

Crowdfunding Global Entrepreneurship

Sunday, March 9
11:00AM – 12:00PM

Jason Best will address the outstanding opportunity for Crowdfunding that exists in emerging markets that have been cut off from international venture capital markets.  He will examine how giving third world countries access to billions of dollars of capital has the ability to challenge the United States’ ability to stay competitive in the global market place. Read more…

FutureHood: Crowdfunding Innovators in Real Estate

Sunday, March 9
5:00PM – 6:00PM

Neil Dipaola will focus on how risk capital has brought about significant change to the high technology industry for more than a generation. He will differentiate the opportunities that exist outside of the risky young 20-something millenials’ visionary gadgets. Even though high-tech gadgets generate many front page news stories, Neil will encourage attendees to take a close look at the real estate industry, which is much more established and offers more traditional and proven investment opportunities. Read more…

The New Era of Investor Relations

Monday, March 10
11:00AM – 12:00PM

  • Douglas Ellenoff, Partner & Owner, Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP
  • Judd Hollas, CEO, EquityNet LLC
  • Judy Robinett, Angel Investor & VC Board Member

In 2013, the ban on general solicitation of accredited investors was lifted, causing the largest change to securities laws in decades. While everyone from startups to hedge funds will enjoy new liberties to begin marketing equity investment deals through advertising, marketing and PR campaigns, it’s critical that the new rules are followed to the letter in order to eliminate the chance for an exemption rescission. Read more…

Viral Crowdfunding: Story, Team & Gamification

Monday, March 10
12:45PM – 1:00PM

Matthew Bishop will address harnessing viral marketing to achieve a successful crowdfunding campaign. He asks, “So you want to raise money online and go viral?” Mr. Bishop’s SxSW crowdfunding presentation will help nonprofits, artists, and entrepreneurs learn how to create crowdfunding a project.  His subject matters will include how a tell a  story, manage a team and leverage game playing lessons that will help develop a viral buzz that may make or break the success fundraising campaigns. Read more….

How Crowdfunding Killed Hollywood

Tuesday, March 11
9:30AM – 10:30AM

Adam Carolla and Bill Zanker provide in inside look at how crowdfunding platforms like FundAnything are turning Hollywood upside down by completely changing the way movies are financed and produced. Like many entrepreneurs in Hollywood, Adam decided to circumvent the system by teaming up with Bill Zanker’s FundAnything and ended up raising $1.5 million that allowed him to create one the most downloaded podcast series in history.  Attendees will learn from Adam’s personal insights on how to use the right rewards to achieve the best results and why taping into your own crowd of social media contacts can deliver serious dividends. Read more…

Crowdfunding Real Change for Girls & Women

Tuesday, March 11
11:00AM – 12:00PM

Maz Kessler’s presentation will focus building a world of equality for all girls and women. Due to the fact that less than 7% of fundraising donations go to girls and women’s causes combined with the alarming news that one-in-four of women organizations that work on these issues are in danger of closing, Catapult.com was founded to keep the funding rolling in.

The group’s mission is to work on the battle front to fight for the rights and the respect for girls and women around the world. And to date, Catapult has achieved incredible results by raising millions of dollars through its nonprofit partners, which are growing rapidly throughout the world. Read more…

Funded in Austin

Tuesday, March 11
12:30PM – 1:30PM

Funded in Austin features Founder/CEO’s of three technology startups who have pursued and secured investment in their entrepreneurial ventures – one from crowdfunding, one from angel funding, and one from venture capital – totaling more than $302 million in funding. Read more…

SEC Chairman Mary Jo White Speech on Evolving with New Financial Challenges in 2014

3 Feb

A Roadmap to New Market Technology, Financial Products, Capital Formation  and Vigorous Enforcement in 2014

41st Annual Securities Regulation Institute Coronado, Calif

February 3, 2014 – For nearly 80 years, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been playing a vital role in the economic strength of our nation. Year after year, the agency has steadfastly sought to protect investors, make it possible for companies of all sizes to raise the funds needed to grow, and to ensure that our markets are operating fairly and efficiently.

The SEC’s 2014 Mission:

But, while commitment to this mission has remained constant and strong over the years, the world in which we operate continuously changes, sometimes dramatically.

When the Commission’s formative statutes were drafted, no one was prepared for today’s market technology or the sheer speed at which trades are now executed. No one dreamed of the complex financial products that are traded today. And, not even science fiction writers would have bet that individuals would so soon communicate instantaneously in so many different ways.

It is because we operate in this vast, fast, and ever-evolving securities market that the Commission, as the regulator of that market, must constantly adapt in order to continue to be effective.

With that in mind, I thought I would speak this morning about some of the transformative changes at the SEC in 2014 and, while doing that, also preview a few of the specific rulemakings and other initiatives that I expect to be on our 2014 agenda.

I. Evolving with Market Technology

While there have been many significant changes since the SEC’s inception, few have had as much impact on our markets as the advances in technology. The manual trades on the exchange floor of the 1930s have given way to trading that is high-tech, high-speed, and widely dispersed among many different venues, some of which did not even exist when I last gave this address, but which now occupy significant parts of the market landscape.

And that landscape changes and evolves further every day.

It is not only our job to keep pace with this rapidly changing environment, but, where possible, also to harness and leverage advances in technology to better carry out our mission.

And, despite significant resource challenges, we are doing precisely that across the agency. Let me give you a few examples.

NEAT

Our Quantitative Analytics Unit in our National Exam Program has, for example, developed a revolutionary new instrument called “NEAT,” which stands for “National Exam Analytics Tool.”

With NEAT, our examiners are able to access and systematically analyze massive amounts of trading data from firms in a fraction of the time it has taken in years past. In one recent exam, our exam team used NEAT to analyze in 36 hours literally 17 million transactions executed by one investment adviser.

Among its many uses, NEAT can search for evidence of potential insider trading by comparing a database of significant corporate activity like mergers against the companies in which a registrant is trading and analyze how the registrant traded at the time of those significant events. NEAT can review all the securities the registrant traded and quickly identify the trading patterns of the registrant for suspicious activity.

In 2014, our examiners will be using the NEAT analytics to identify signs of not only possible insider trading, but also front running, window dressing, improper allocations of investment opportunities, and other kinds of misconduct.

MIDAS

This past year, we also brought on-line another transformative tool that enables us to collect and sift through massive amounts of trading data across markets instantaneously, an exercise that once took the staff weeks or months. We call this technology MIDAS – the Market Information Data Analytics System.

Every day, MIDAS collects one billion records of trading data, time-stamped to the microsecond. Previously, only sophisticated market participants had access to this type and amount of trading data and even fewer were able to process it. At the SEC of 2014, we are aggregating this data and presenting it on our website along with a wide range of analyses. We have made these analyses readily accessible on your computer or even your tablet, with data available in clear, easy-to-read charts and graphs.

MIDAS is already revealing some important, data-based realities that may resolve some of the speculations about behavior in today’s market structure. Just earlier this month, for example, the SEC staff published an analysis showing that for the most part the advent of public transparency for “odd lot” trades does not seem to correspond with a decline in such trades. The staff noted that this result suggests that a lack of transparency may not have been one of the drivers for breaking trades into odd lots, which some observers have suggested is a technique to hide trading activity.

In the coming weeks, we are expecting to post further staff analysis of off-exchange trading, a review of research on high-frequency trading, and a data series on depth-of-book liquidity. I encourage you, after my remarks, to take a look at all of this – right on sec.gov. This is not your father’s SEC – or your mother’s or even your older brother or sister’s. In this rapidly changing environment, we must stay on top of advances in technology. NEAT and MIDAS are important tools that will help us keep pace with evolving technology.

Operational Integrity

Our approach to technology in 2014, however, is not limited to building systems like these for us to keep pace with the evolving technology of the markets. We are also focused on ensuring that the technology used by exchanges and other market participants is deployed and used responsibly in a way that reduces the risk of market disruptions that can harm investors and undermine confidence in the integrity of our markets.

Most recently, following the interruption of trading in Nasdaq-listed securities last August, I met with the leaders of the equities and options exchanges. At my urging, they pledged to work toward enhancing the integrity of market systems, including the critical market infrastructures that can prove to be “single points of failure,” such as public feeds of quotes and trades.

They have since been working hard to develop and implement such measures, and I expect more to be done to address these vulnerabilities in 2014.

In addition, I anticipate that the Commission’s 2014 rulemaking agenda will include consideration of the adoption of Regulation SCI – which stands for Systems Compliance and Integrity. As some of you know, Regulation SCI would put in place new, stricter requirements for the use of technology by exchanges, large alternative trading systems, clearing agencies, and securities information processors. Regulation SCI can be – and should be – the market-side counterpart to the intermediary-focused Market Access Rule adopted by the Commission in 2010 to better regulate how broker-dealers manage the technological and other risks associated with direct access to markets.

II. Evolving with New Financial Products

It is not just technology that has changed over the life of the agency. So too have the financial products that investors, businesses, and other market participants use.

OTC Derivatives

In 1990, for instance, few people would have heard of a credit default swap or any of a number of the other products that make up today’s over-the-counter derivatives market. Yet two decades later, such derivatives comprise a multi-trillion dollar market.

The Dodd-Frank Act directed the SEC – for security-based swaps – and the CFTC – for all other swaps – to create an entirely new regulatory regime for this massive market. Once this regime is fully in place, many over-the-counter derivatives will be traded and cleared on venues accessible by a wide range of market participants, with trade data made readily available to regulators and disseminated to the public. What was once an opaque, bilateral market will largely become a transparent, centrally cleared market.

The Commission has proposed substantially all of the rules required to implement this new regulatory framework. With our proposal for the cross-border application of this framework last year, I expect the Commission in 2014 to move forward with finalizing and implementing these rules.

Money Market Funds

Even when a product is not as new as an over-the-counter derivative, the use of the product may reveal previously unanticipated risks that suggest an evolution in our regulatory approach is warranted. The recent financial crisis provided an unwelcome laboratory for a number of these products.

Money market funds, for example, have for decades been an important part of the financial marketplace. As we saw in the financial crisis, however, they can be exposed to substantially heightened redemptions if investors believe that a fund is about to lose value. The resulting instability in their value can harm investors as well as the entities that turn to money market funds for financing.

In 2010, the SEC took a first step to address this heightened redemption risk by making the funds more resilient. The rule amendments adopted by the Commission in 2010 were designed to reduce the interest rate, credit, and liquidity risks of money market fund portfolios. The Commission said at the time that it would continue to consider whether further, more fundamental changes to money market fund regulation is warranted.

Currently, the Commission is considering two significant proposals for additional reform that were put out for comment last June. One is a floating NAV for prime institutional money market funds – the type of fund that experienced problems during the financial crisis. The other proposal would require money market funds under certain circumstances to impose a liquidity fee and permit the imposition of redemption gates. This proposal is designed to stop a “run” and limit the resulting instability. These proposals could be adopted alone or together.

We have received hundreds of letters on the proposals with a wide range of differing views that we are reviewing closely. Completing these reforms with a final rule is a critical priority for the Commission in the relatively near term of 2014.

Securitization

The financial crisis also revealed how another product – asset-backed securities – could create undue risks to market integrity and investors. Shortly after the financial crisis, the Commission proposed a new set of disclosure rules for asset-backed securities, which have evolved with the Dodd-Frank Act. Finalizing these new disclosure rules remains an important priority for the Commission in 2014.

A related effort is the rules we are required to adopt jointly with several other agencies governing the retention of a specified amount risk by the sponsor of an asset-backed security. We re-proposed those rules late last year, and finalizing them will be a priority for 2014.

III. Evolving with New Paths to Capital Formation

Just as we have seen market technology and products evolve over time, we also have seen massive change in the ease and speed with which information and capital flows. This, in turn, has led companies, investors, Congress, the SEC and others to reconsider how companies can seek capital and communicate with potential investors. Indeed, we are at the start of what promises to be a period of transformative change in capital formation.

In 2013, according to our estimates, capital raised in public offerings totaled $1.3 trillion, as compared to $1.6 trillion raised in offerings not registered with the SEC, with over 65% raised in new and ongoing Rule 506 offerings. So the private offering markets already rival the public markets in terms of capital raised.

And, in 2012, Congress passed the JOBS Act, directing the Commission to implement rules that will have a significant impact on the private offering markets. I know you will be hearing a fair amount about this subject on your panels today, so let me provide just a brief overview of what the SEC will be working on in this space in 2014.

In July, the Commission adopted rules implementing the JOBS Act mandate to lift the ban on general solicitation, and the rules became effective on September 23, 2013. Although existing Rule 506 continues to be a popular method for capital raising, issuers are taking advantage of the new rule. Preliminary information collected by our Division of Economic and Risk Analysis shows that through December 31, approximately 500 offerings were conducted, raising approximately $5.8 billion.

Then, in October and December of last year, the Commission proposed rules to implement the JOBS Act mandates with respect to crowdfunding and Regulation A. While the final framework of these two exemptions is yet to be determined by the Commission, if the enthusiasm for them is any indication, I expect strong interest in raising capital through these mechanisms.

Together, these changes should provide new and expanded ways for companies of all sizes, but particularly smaller companies, to raise capital. The final implementation of crowdfunding and an updated Regulation A is an important priority in 2014, and I expect that the Commission, after thorough consideration of all comments, will move expeditiously to finalize these rules.

These rule changes for the private offering market are just the start of the Commission’s efforts. For the changes demand that the Commission stay focused on the ongoing implementation of the exemptions, what market practices develop, how much capital is being raised, how investors are impacted, and whether fraud or other misconduct is occurring in these markets.

So, staff from across the agency is also set to monitor the developments in the markets following all of these changes. An agency-wide working group has been formed to monitor offering practices and other developments in the Rule 506 market. I have also directed the staff to form similar working groups for both crowdfunding and the new Regulation A.

One key step in the effort to improve our monitoring of Rule 506 offerings will be the adoption of final rules – also proposed in July – relating to amendments to Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156. I know that you have a session later today during which you will discuss these proposed amendments, and I know, from the comment file, what many of you think. We are considering those comments very carefully. Advancing these important rules, after due consideration of the comments we have received, is another important priority for me in 2014.

Disclosure Reform

As we move to complete our rulemaking in the private offering area, it is important for the SEC not to lose focus on the public markets.

I recently spoke about some of my ideas about disclosure reform and in December the staff issued a report mandated by the JOBS Act that gives an overview of Regulation S-K and the staff’s preliminary recommendations as to how to update our disclosure rules. I have asked the staff to begin an active review of our disclosure rules.

We can all probably identify particular disclosure requirements that we might eliminate or modify, but that is not the kind of review and reform I am primarily focused on – and it certainly is not the kind of thoughtful and comprehensive review that I think our disclosure rules demand. I believe we should rethink not only the type of information we ask companies to disclose, but also how that information is presented, where and how that information is disclosed, and how we can take advantage of technology to facilitate investors’ access to information and make it more meaningful to them.

I have asked the staff to seek input from issuers, investors, and other market participants in 2014 as part of this effort, and I encourage all of you to share your views and ideas. The ultimate objective is for the Commission to improve the disclosure regime for the benefit of both companies and investors.

IV. Vigorous Enforcement in 2014

The agency’s evolution in response to a rapidly changing market is not confined to rulemaking or market oversight. We have also found it necessary to adapt our policies, priorities, and approach with respect to enforcement as well. And no discussion of the SEC in 2014 would be complete without my touching on some of these changes and giving you some idea of what to expect this year. The coming year promises to be an incredibly active year in enforcement, as we continue to vigorously pursue wrongdoers and bring enforcement actions across the entire industry spectrum.

Admissions

As you know, for many years, the SEC, like virtually every other civil law enforcement agency, typically did not require entities or individuals to admit wrongdoing in order to enter into a settlement. This no admit/no deny settlement protocol makes a great deal of sense and has served the public interest very well. More and quicker settlements generally mean that investors receive as much (and sometimes more) compensation than they would after a successful trial – and without the litigation risk or the inevitable delay that comes with every trial. Settlements also can achieve more certain and swifter civil penalties, and bars of wrongdoers from the industry or from serving as officers or directors of public companies – all very important remedies for deterrence and the public interest.

So, why modify the no admit/no deny protocol at all? It is not a new question and one that many of you continue to ask. Even before my arrival as Chair, the Enforcement Division decided to require admissions where parallel criminal or other regulatory cases were brought with admissions. Why? Because admissions can achieve a greater measure of public accountability, which can be important to the public’s confidence in the strength and credibility of law enforcement and the safety of our markets. It is not surprising that there has also been renewed public and media focus on the accountability that comes with admissions following the financial crisis, where so many lost so much.

And it should be no surprise that my views on admissions were formed long before recent events and were shaped by my time as United States Attorney. In the criminal realm, guilty pleas are accompanied by admissions of guilt, which eliminate any doubt about the conduct of the defendant and provide additional accountability for the crime.

As United States Attorney, I made the decision that companies should, in certain circumstances, admit their wrongdoing, even if they were not criminally charged, but where there was a special need for public accountability and acceptance of responsibility. That is why, when I negotiated the first deferred prosecution for a company, back in 1994, I required an admission of wrongdoing, and I brought that mindset to the SEC when I became Chair last April.

After studying and discussing the issue with the staff and my fellow Commissioners, I decided to modify the SEC’s protocol to demand admissions in an expanded category of settlements. That change occurred in June and you have begun to see it play out in a number of cases. When we first announced the change in approach, we outlined broad parameters of the types of cases in which we will consider requiring admissions as part of any settlement. And now, we have a number of cases with admissions that illuminate those categories.

So, for example, we have said we will consider admissions in cases involving egregious conduct, where large numbers of investors were harmed, where the markets or investors were placed at significant risk, where the wrongdoer poses a particular future threat to investors or the markets, or where the defendant engaged in unlawful obstruction of the Commission’s processes. Just last month, we required three brokerage subsidiaries to admit to a scheme in which they repeatedly deceived their customers about their compensation on securities transactions – and in some cases even provided falsified trading data to their customers in an effort to avoid detection. The conduct was egregious and harmed many investors, thereby justifying admissions.

Similarly, we demanded that a bank admit that its internal controls were deficient in failing to detect and prevent, and then disclose to its board and investors, massive losses by some of its traders, thereby putting millions of shareholders at risk and resulting in inaccurate public filings.

To be sure there was no ambiguity about the misconduct of a defendant who was continuing to deal with investors, we required a hedge fund adviser to not only agree to a bar from the securities industry for five years, but to also admit to misuse of more than one hundred million dollars of fund assets in order to pay his personal taxes through a personal loan that was not timely disclosed to investors.

As we go forward in 2014, you will see more cases involving admissions. When and how we decide to require admissions will continue to evolve and be subject to further articulation in the cases we bring and as we discuss it publicly.

Financial Fraud

This year will likely see us complete our docket of major investigations stemming from the financial crisis. As we do, our focus and resources will naturally turn to other priorities. This shift has already begun.

Last fall, the Enforcement Division formed a Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force. This dedicated group has very talented accountants and attorneys who will broaden and thereby improve the way we look at financial reporting misconduct.

The Task Force is pursuing a number of goals, including building a deep understanding of the state of financial reporting fraud – not just why it happens, because there is plenty of learning on that question, but how it happens and in what specific areas.

As you would expect, we look closely at the auditors in every financial reporting case, but we are also closely focusing on senior executives for possible misconduct warranting charges. The message is that critical accounting issues are the responsibility of all those involved in the preparation and review of financial disclosures.

Market Integrity

As I have discussed, technology has worked a fundamental shift in the way securities are priced and traded – a shift that has only accelerated in the past several years. In the last two years, we have tried to send a strong enforcement message to the exchanges and alternative trading systems that play critical roles in securities market transactions that they must operate fairly, within the rules and with a close eye on their responsibilities to safeguard their technology. Cases have been brought against an exchange that inadequately tested its IPO systems and was therefore unable to handle a highly anticipated IPO and then did not follow its own rules in the aftermath; against a different exchange for compliance failures that gave certain customers an improper head start on trading information; and against a dark pool for failing to protect the confidential trading information of its subscribers. When technology presents new opportunities for innovation, changes must be deployed responsibly, after careful testing, and within the rules and parameters of the trading environment. Market structure integrity actions will remain a priority in 2014.

As you will hear when Andrew Ceresney, our Director of Enforcement speaks to you over the coming days, there are many other enforcement priorities for 2014 that you should be aware of. These include, but are by no means limited to, FCPA, insider trading, and microcap fraud. It will, in short, be a very busy year in enforcement.

Conclusion

I hope I have given you a sense of some of the things we will be doing in 2014 and a flavor for how dramatically and vibrantly things have changed at the SEC as our world and markets have changed. There is more, of course, we will be doing and considering in the coming year, both on our own initiative and as required by the Dodd-Frank and JOBS Acts – equity market structure, duties of brokers-dealers and investment advisers, the management and responsibilities of clearing agencies and credit rating agencies, Dodd-Frank executive compensation rulemaking, target date funds, systemic risk issues, broker-dealer financial responsibility, and more.

It is a constant, but always exciting, challenge to keep pace and indeed to accurately see around the next corner for the newest market developments or another innovative variant of, or new venue for, fraud. I now am privileged to have an up-close and personal role in all of this. And it is my strong conviction that the women and men of the SEC are, as has always been true, more than up to these challenges. As Alan Levenson said in January 2003, almost eleven years to the day when he spoke about the strength of the SEC: “It was the creativity of the staff… [they] had a drive and a genuine interest in protecting investors and the public interest….” The challenges and tools change, but creativity, drive, and commitment to the mission continue unchanged at the SEC in 2014. Alan Levenson, I think, would be very proud.

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Colorado Conference Provides Lessons on Crowdfunding for Solar, Clean Tech and Renewable Energy Projects

8 Sep

Solar and Clean Technology Crowdfunding Experts to Share Cutting Edge Clean Tech Strategies with Responsible Investors on Green Bonds, PACE Financing, MLPs, and REITs

By Robert Hoskins

Solar and Clean Technology Crowdfunding Experts to Share Cutting Edge Clean Tech Strategies with Responsible Investors on Crowdsourcing, Green Bonds, PACE Financing, MLPs, and REITs

Solar and Clean Technology Crowdfunding Experts to Share Cutting Edge Clean Tech Strategies with Responsible Investors on Crowdsourcing, Green Bonds, PACE Financing, MLPs, and REITs

Organizers of the 24th annual SRI Conference will be hosting a leading North American forum on Crowdfunding solar and clean technology projects for investors and investment professionals on October 28-30, 2013 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

One featured Solar & Clean Technology Crowdfunding Session will be moderated by Dan Adler, managing director of the Clean Energy Angel Fund and CalCEF, and will include a presentation from Dan Rosen, CEO of the leading solar crowdfunding companies in the United States, Solar Mosaic, which will explore the clean tech landscape and the newest products and strategies for sustainable and responsible investors.
“Investing in Clean Tech: Expanding Opportunities for ESG/SRI Investors,” will focus on recent developments in crowdsourcing, green bonds, clean energy victory bonds, PACE financing, MLPs, and REIT eligibility.

The  is a leading North American forum for investors and investment professionals involved in sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing, will be October 28-30, 2013 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

First Affirmative President Steve Schueth, producer of The SRI Conference, said, “These clean tech experts are on the cutting edge of investment and financing opportunities available to responsible investors and investment professionals. Dan Rosen from Solar Mosaic will discuss how they are utilizing crowdsourcing or “crowdfunding” in clean-tech deployment opportunities. Solar Mosaic has received a lot of attention recently for raising $6 million of venture capital, including a $2 million grant from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, to build an online platform that supports funding of solar projects.”

First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-56587) offering investment consulting and asset management services through a nationwide network of investment professionals who specialize in serving socially conscious investors.

Solar Mosaic CEO, Dan Rosen added, “Crowdfunding allows early-stage companies, or projects to “crowd in” finance from a lot of small sources over the Internet (you could consider it democratizing finance, in a way). We have seen the power of crowdfunding in local community solar projects here at Mosaic. In one year, we received $350,000 to finance five solar power plants through our zero-interest investment model, and the power of the crowd to facilitate positive local change is increasingly visible. As individuals, we can finally see the impact of our contributions, and together we can help change the world.”

Dan Adler, managing director of CalCEF and president, CalCEF Ventures, will moderate the clean tech session at the SRI Conference. In addition, other leading experts on the clean tech panel will include: Matt Ferguson, principal, Reznick Group; Jeff Eckel, president and CEO, Hannon Armstrong; and Nancy Pfund, managing partner, DBL Investors, and board member of Primus Power, SolarCity, Solaria, Eco­logic, Pow­er­Genix, and Bright­Source Energy. This session was organized by Doug Arent, Executive Director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a long-time member of the conference Agenda Committee.

The CalCEF group is a nexus for entrepreneurs, investors, energy companies, industry, government, and academia engaged in development and advancement of clean energy. CalCEF is a family of non-profit organizations working together to accelerate the movement of clean energy technologies along the continuum from innovation to infrastructure using tools from finance, public policy and technological innovation.

Solar Mosaic connects investors to high quality solar projects. Our mission is to open up clean energy investing and fundamentally change the way energy is financed. The fundamentals of solar makes it an attractive component of a diversified investment portfolio: reliable technology, predictable energy output, and stable cash flows. Every Mosaic project is carefully vetted and structured to minimize risk while maximizing benefits to investors and to the planet. Thousands of people from across the United States have invested millions of dollars to finance solar projects through Mosaic’s online marketplace.

CohnReznick is a nationwide network of accounting, tax and business advisory services, with offices from Boston to Los Angeles. Reznick Group has acquired technical consulting firm Think Energy, Inc., enabling the firm to provide full project life-cycle advisory services to clean technology developers, investors and utilities.

Hannon Armstrong is a specialty finance company that provides debt and equity financing for sustainable infrastructure projects that increase energy efficiency, provide cleaner energy sources, positively impact the environment or make more efficient use of natural resources. Formed more than 30 years ago, Hannon Armstrong has provided or arranged over $4.0 billion of financing in more than 450 sustainable infrastructure transactions since 2000. Hannon Armstrong is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “HASI”.

DBL Investors uses venture capital to accelerate innovation in a way that positively impacts an organization’s social ecosystem as well as its financial success. DBL believes that positive social change and a healthy financial performance are inherently connected. The firm invests in and helps nurture outstanding entrepreneurs and companies in Cleantech, Information Technology, Health Care, and Sustainability-Oriented Products and Services.

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Crowdfunding Industry Rolls Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Indies with First Crowdfunding Film Festival in California

29 May

Crowdfunding Film Festival Set to Roll Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Independent Filmmakers to Promote Revolutionary New Public Equity Crowdfunding Finance Tool

By Robert Hoskins

The First Annual International CrowdFunding Film Festival will be held October 2-6, 2013 in San Francisco. The film fest will bring together artists, filmmakers, entertainment and video game creators to showcase their craft, network and  raise money through the new crowdfunding finance tool. The film festival has plans to collaborate with film schools in New York, London and Paris.

Crowdfunding Film Festival Set to Roll Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Independent Filmmakers to Promote Revolutionary New Public Equity Finance Tool

Crowdfunding Film Festival Set to Roll Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Independent Filmmakers to Promote Revolutionary New Public Equity Crowdfunding Finance Tool

Film students from universities all around the country are increasingly looking to crowdfunding to find backing for their projects. With over countless films successfully funded through crowdfunding portals such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, Hollywood is now paying close attention to all this movement.

Director/Writer Rob Thomas has raised over $5.7 million for his movie “Veronica Mars” while Zach Braff’s feature “Wish I Was Here” has raised $2.6 million in donations. San Francisco State Student Sterling Cook keen on exploring crowdfunding of finance for production projects.

“I see in these directors, writers, and cinematographers, the same core passion for innovation. They are not only artists but more importantly, entrepreneurs – they are seeking to touch the world and make a difference through their films. We know of their struggle to find financial backing and I believe crowdfunding will be the answer,” stated the ICFFF’s organizer Sydney Armani.

A film production involves collaboration between dozens of creative groups and getting all the individual pieces to fit together is similar to managing a business. Crowdfunding is changing the production landscape and the movie industry is currently experiencing a real game changer

Ted Hope, advocate of America’s Independent Cinema Movement and Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society, provides deeper insight into the current state of the film industry in his blog post “Why I Left New York for the San Francisco Film Festival.”

He said, “Our entertainment economy and the art it supports, was built upon the concepts of scarcity and control, but today’s reality is one of super-abundance and access – the exact opposite. To survive and flourish, today’s artists/entrepreneurs–and those who support them–must all embrace practices that extend beyond the core skills of development, production, and post-production of their art and reach beyond the attention and practice of marketing and distribution.” The meaning behind Hope’s words echoes the exact spirit and foundation that is the core of Silicon Valley’s passion for entrepreneurship and reflects the same spirit represented by the film festival.

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Crowdfunding Conference Planned for Berkeley in Northern California, June 9th

27 May

By Robert Hoskins

Last year crowdfunding platforms raised $2.7 billion and successfully funded more than 1 million campaigns, according to California-based research company Massolution. Business executives that want to learn about this crowdfunding phenomenon and to meet leading industry insiders should register to attend the  CrowdFunding California Conference which will be held in Berkeley on June 9th.

California Crowdfunding Conference in Berkeley, CA on June 9, 2013

California Crowdfunding Conference in Berkeley, CA on June 9, 2013

The Crowdfunding West Conference is presenting an unprecedented lineup of experts from crowdfunding platforms, legal firms, investment community and entrepreneurs who have risen (combined) almost $2,000,000 for their projects through crowdfunding.

The morning session will consist of discussions about rewards-based crowdfunding. Special panel is devoted to community programs. The afternoon session will help the entrepreneurs better understand their fundraising options, including equity crowdfunding, peer-2-peer lending, angel investments and rewards based crowdfunding. Opponents of crowdfunding movement will have a chance to present their position at the debate moderated by David Drake, well known New York investment expert and speaker.

Among the speakers are the representatives of the global leader in microcredits, Kiva, crowdfunding platforms WhenYouWish and Realty Mogul from Los Angeles, Upstart from Palo Alto, “Investment bank for startups” MicroVentures, Colorado-based portal Community Funded and CrowdIt from Missouri, world’s largest network for entrepreneurs EFactor, fundraising platform for kids PiggyBackr, investment consulting companies North Capital, Inc. and Cutting Edge Capital, payment services platform BancBox, SaaS portal VentureDocs, well known lawyer and blogger Antone Johnson, CEO of uBiome,  Jessica Richman, the creator of the fifth most successful campaign on Indiegogo Sonny Vu and the founders of  Mothership HackerMoms community from Oakland.

Crowdfunding California Conference is created by Crowdfund Productions, the organizer of investment and crowdfunding events in the USA. Other 2013 conferences will be held in Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL. On January 6th – 7th, 2014 Crowdfund Productions will be hosting Global Aspen Investment Forum in Aspen, CO.

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NowStreet Brings Wall Street Closer to Crowdfunding and P2P-Lending through Free May Crowdfunding Webinars

16 May

Free Crowdfunding webinars to ensure that broker-dealers, investment bankers, financial advisors, issuers and investors of all sizes capitalize on imminent Wall Street transformation.

By Robert Hoskins

NowStreet Media announced its “Capitalizing on Financial Innovation” webinar series, aimed at helping broker-dealers, investment bankers, financial advisors, issuers and investors of all sizes succeed in a financial industry that is in the midst of extraordinary change.

NowStreet Crowdfunding Webinars

NowStreet Crowdfunding Webinars

“As the popularity for neoteric crowd-financing methods such as P2P lending and crowdfunding continues to mount, we are witnessing the rapid disintermediation of Wall Street. As a result, traditional banking and brokerage revenue models are becoming obsolete, conventional capital raising techniques are no longer viable, and investor demand for alternative assets is escalating. The objective of our webinar channel is to ensure that both the financial community as well as the investing public are properly prepared to capitalize on the imminent market transformation,” stated Dara Albright, NowStreet’s CEO.

NowStreet’s ground-breaking webinar channel features trendsetting discussions and indispensable insight from the very individuals who are shaping tomorrow’s capital markets. As part of an educational outreach program, the webinars are free to all participants.

May 16, 2013, 1pm EST

Pre-JOBS Act Crowdfunding – The Intrastate Exemption
Learn how intrastate crowdfunding is on the verge of setting the national crowdfunding precedent, uniting communities and inspiring local economic growth. Presented by Douglas S. Ellenoff, Partner at Ellenoff, Grossman & Schole; *Richard J. Salute, CPA, Consultant with extensive expertise in capital markets and securities regulations; Jeff Bekiares and Megan Johnson, Co-Founders of SparkMarket, the nation’s first bonafide crowdfunding portal allowing unaccredited investors to legally crowdfund via intrastate exemption.

May 30, 2013, 1pm EST

An Inside Look at the Explosive Growth of P2P & Online Lending
Recognized P2P thought leader, Peter Renton, Founder of Lend Academy & author of The Lending Club Story, will discuss the rapid growth of P2P & Online Lending as well as the economic implications of Google’s recent investments into Lending Club & On Deck Capital. He will also show participants how to maximize P2P returns and capitalize on the proliferation of the industry.

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Crowdfunding Expected to be a Hot Consumer Electronics Topic at CE Week in New York

9 May

By Robert Hoskins

CE Week announced plans to host an innovative new lineup of keynotes and Crowdfunding conference sessions from the most well known names in the technology industry. The 2013 CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits are scheduled for June 26-27 at the Metropolitan Pavilion and Altman Building in New York City. This event is the official show headquarters of a week-long series of CE technology events taking place in the city over the course of CE Week, June 24-28.

CE Week LIne Shows & Exhibits is the Official Headquarters of CE Week, featuring the show’s largest exhibit floor of new products and start-ups, the largest concentration of conferences and attendees.

CE Week LIne Shows & Exhibits is the Official Headquarters of CE Week, featuring the show’s largest exhibit floor of new products and start-ups, the largest concentration of conferences and attendees.

To kick off CE Week, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is producing a Research Summit on Monday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event at the High Line Hotel will provide timely intelligence on the unique and important market trends and transformations emerging in the consumer electronics industry.

Aereo Founder and CEO Chet Kanojia will join Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA, for an in-depth conversation about how technology innovation drives Aereo’s business strategy, at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 26.

Living in Digital Times will display the best and brightest in mobile app technology at the Mobile App Showdown. During this live event at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, ten finalists will put their apps to the test and the audience will cast the deciding vote on the best app.

Top company executives from Pioneer, Monster, Kenwood, Toshiba, IK Multimedia, Samsung and BlueBOLT will introduce new products and discuss what’s ahead for their companies during press conferences.

The CE Week SuperSessions will address popular topics including 3D printing, crowdfunding, and the next generation of gaming. Sessions include:

Polygon SuperSession: Video Gaming’s Other Next-Gen [June 26 at 1:35 p.m.] – With so much attention focused on new video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony, both of whom are poised to usher in another “next generation” of gaming later this year, it’s easy to miss that an entirely separate alternative generation of video game consoles is taking shape. Join us as we explore this nascent “other” generation, typified by a focus on mobile hardware, open operating systems, digital delivery and an indie-friendly publishing model.
Moderator: Christopher Grant, editor-in-chief, Polygon

CNET SuperSession: Bringing 3D Printing to Consumers [June 26 at 3:15 p.m.] – We hear about new 3D printing breakthroughs almost every week now, ranging from houses to prosthetic skull implants to 3D printing on Mars. For consumers, 3D printing is either science fiction, or it suffers from the perception that it’s an expensive, time-consuming hobby with little practical utility. How can consumer-facing 3D printing companies improve their image and attract more mainstream users? Should that even be the goal? This panel will explore the issues and solutions around taking 3D printing to the mass market.
Moderator: Rich Brown, senior editor, CNET

Mashable SuperSession: The Battle Over Smartphone Screen Size [June 27 at 10:15 a.m.] – Since 2010, the average size of cell phone screens has increased by almost a full inch. Plus-size phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note have expanded the displays of all models, to the point where it’s impossible to buy a top Android phone with a screen smaller than 4.7 inches. Does this trend have a ceiling, and what does it mean for people with normal-size hands?
Moderator: Lance Ulanoff, editor-in-chief, Mashable

PCWorld/TechHive SuperSession: Who’s Fastest? Wireless Speed Test Results [June 27 at 12:15 p.m.] – PCWorld/TechHive Editor Mark Sullivan and OpenSignal Co-Founder and CEO Brendan Gill present results from their annual study of 4G and 3G wireless speeds. This year, testers visited 20 cities and measured speeds at the street level to give wireless customers independent data on which carrier offers the best speeds and coverage in the U.S.

Engadget SuperSession: Crowdfunding the Hardware Revolution [June 27 at 1:45 p.m.] – Welcome to the dawn of the age of hardware startups. Sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter have changed the way we think about starting a business, from funding to user feedback. We’ll talk to success stories about the new business paradigm and discuss some tips for getting started in the world of crowdfunding.
Moderator: Brian Heater, director of media, Engadget

The CE Week Line Shows Conference Program is part of the full CE Week conference program, including 50-plus sessions and featuring more than 150 speakers. Conference tracks include the CEA Research Summit, Crowdfunding, Women in CE Forum, Connected Car Conference, Digital Health Summit, 2nd Screen Summit, Ultra HD Conference and Techlicious Summit.

To register for CE Week visit https://secure.events-registration.com/ceweek2013/ Join in on the CE Week conversation by tweeting using the hashtag #ceweek.

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Dun & Bradstreet Kicks off Crowdfunding Town Hall Meetings on May 22 in Chicago

5 May

By Robert Hoskins

According to the Federal Reserve of Chicago, large bank lending to small businesses has fallen by over 50 percent since the start of the 2007 recession, yet Accion Chicago, a CDFI microlender, reported an 80 percent increase in loan applications from small businesses from 2008 to 2011.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., the leading provider of credit building and credibility solutions for businesses, today announced that registration is open for its Access to Capital: Money to Mainstreet Event

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., the leading provider of credit building and credibility solutions for businesses, today announced that registration is open for its Access to Capital: Money to Mainstreet Event

To help solve the loan and lending shortfall, the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. announced that it has opened its registration for the Access to Capital: Money to Mainstreet Event which will be held Wednesday, May 22, 2013 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Additional stops on the tour include Atlanta on August 14th and Seattle on November 12th. These events are designed to foster lending and educate small businesses about the various types of funding that are available through expert panels and on-site 1:1 meetings with a broad spectrum of debt and equity providers.

“With over 99% of American businesses classified as small by the Small Business Administration, it is crucial that this important sector gets access to capital if we want to grow the economy and cut into the nation’s unemployment rate,” said Jeff Stibel, Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. “We are very passionate about our Access to Capital events which we believe are a step in helping lead American small businesses back to prosperity. We know from our Los Angeles event, which resulted in tens of millions of dollars in loan originations, that these loans were spurred by the unique access that businesses had to lenders.”

Access to Capital: Money to Mainstreet’s initiative is to educate and grow local small businesses. The events are comprised of two main areas – the “town hall” area where speakers, spotlight series, and panels ranging from topics on traditional bank lending to crowdfunding will take place – and the “financial district” area where small business owners can meet one-on-one with various lenders, legal, business resources and advisors. Key sponsors for the Chicago event include Bank of America, Microsoft, TransUnion, AEO, LegalZoom, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.’s Los Angeles Access to Capital event held last year was attended by over 500 Los Angeles based small business owners who took part in hundreds of 1:1 meetings with loan officers, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in reported loan originations.

Lending appointments for Chicago’s event will include representatives ranging from Bank of America to local Chicago area financial institutions such as Accion Chicago, AEO, American Chartered Bank, BMO Harris, First Eagle Bank, Franklin Capital Network, Inland Bank, Merchant Cash and Capital, North Side Community Federal Credit Union, Standard Bank, Ridgestone Bank, and SomerCor 504. Community and business resources that will also be on hand include Microsoft, LegalZoom, TransUnion, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, SCORE Chicago, Women’s Business Development Center, Built In, and more.

“According to the Federal Reserve of Chicago, large bank lending to small businesses has fallen by over 50 percent since the start of the 2007 recession, yet Accion Chicago, a CDFI microlender, reported an 80 percent increase in loan applications from small businesses from 2008 to 2011,” said Stibel. “We need to be providing small businesses with roadmaps to a wide variety of capital sources, as well as help them be prepared when it comes to actually qualifying for financing if this glaring gap is to be bridged.”

At the Chicago event, attendees will be given access to a free copy of their business credit report, a key factor in many lenders’ credit decision process. Leading up to the event, attendees will have the opportunity to talk with a Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. certified Credit Advisor to help them prepare for their lending meetings at no cost.

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