On October 23, 2013 the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") issued proposed regulations (the "Proposed Rules") with respect to crowdfunding as contemplated by Title III of the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the "JOBS Act"). The Proposed Rules are open for comment for 90 days from the date of publication in the federal register (a period that will likely run to the end of January, 2014).
While the Proposed Rules will not be effective until adopted by the SEC, and the SEC may change the Proposed Rules before adopting them, if adopted in their present state the Proposed Rules will make it possible for privately-owned company to sell securities to investors over the Internet through registered "crowdfund portals." Under the Securities Act of 1933 (the "1933 Act"), companies may not sell securities to investors unless the securities are either registered (generally requiring an initial public offer or "IPO") or exempt from registration. The crowdfunding authorized by Congress through the JOBS Act creates a new exemption from registration (now contained at Section 4(a)(6) of the 1933 Act) and the Proposed Rules, if adopted, would make it possible for sales of securities under this new exemption to commence.
I have posted here a lengthy analysis of the provisions of the Proposed Rules applicable to issuers of securities under the new Section 4(a)(6) exemption. My firm is planning a second publication shortly to cover the provisions of the Proposed Rules applicable to crowdfund portals.