Investing in innovation might seem fairly straightforward. Whether you're enticed by the space-age ideas of Elon Musk, or you want to play a part in seeing a cure for cancer, there are plenty of innovative companies out there to invest in. But, until now, they haven't always been open to the general public.
According to Joel Vanderhoof, President of Cambria Capital, changes in legislation are creating innovation in investments themselves. In 2012, Congress approved the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, (otherwise known as JOBS), which has been instrumental in expanding both entrepreneurs' access to capital and investors' ability to place their money in startups and smaller businesses.
Greater potential was given to highflying startups in 2015, when the SEC finalized the rules under JOBS Act Title IV (commonly known as Regulation A+). This amendment enables companies to raise as much as $50 million per year. It also provides non-accredited investors with the opportunity to invest in these companies, with certain limitations. Once the domain of a privileged few, practically anyone can now get on board.
Democratization of Capital
Companies like Cambria Capital are helping to equalize the investment space, allowing Mom and Pop investors to place their money where they want to. And they're putting more cash in the hands of entrepreneurs by challenging the way the financial industry has traditionally operated--effectively innovating in investment, as well as allowing for widespread investing in innovation.
"Cambria's goal is to level the playing field for all investors by changing the way the financial industry has traditionally operated, similar to how UBER disrupted their industry," explains Vanderhoof. "Typically, institutional investors and wealthy or privileged clients of investment banks are the ones given the opportunity to invest in initial public offerings (IPOs), but that's all changing." Cambria Capital is providing many classes of investors access to IPOs and Regulation A+ offerings.
Crowdfunding is Still Kicking
The sharing economy is still playing a major role in making launching a startup easier for entrepreneurs as well. All the peer-to-peer innovations, from renting out an apartment to taking someone else's vehicle for a spin, have extended to finance as well. In fact, according to PwC, collaborative finance is now one of Europe's five key sharing economy sectors. Sending money to a charitable cause or getting in on the ground floor of an exciting idea has never been so easy or appealing.
Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are seeing unprecedented success. Since inception in 2009, Kickstarter has seen more than $2.3 billion invested in successful projects from family, friends and fans. Indiegogo is behind the launch of many an exciting project, including smart nano drones and the world's smallest camera. There's never been a better time to be an entrepreneur than in today's digital climate.
Entrepreneurs are no longer bound by the constraints of corporate America or the selective wealth club open to just a few. The future is wide open, friends. Innovate accordingly.