The Securities and Exchange Commission will address the many challenges fast-growing companies face in raising capital, along with other issues, during a public meeting on Friday.

The annual Forum on Small Business Capital Formation, to be held at the commission's headquarters in Washington, will include roundtable discussions on the initial public offering market and private investment in public equity offerings, according to the SEC.

Private investment to public equity, or PIPE, is an increasingly popular way for small and microcap public companies to raise capital by allowing them to sell equity to a set number of investors in a private transaction, then register those shares for resale into public markets. As such, the initial sale is not subject to SEC review or clearance, taking only few days to complete.

According to Snell & Wilmer, a corporate- and business-law firm based in Phoenix, there were more than 1,200 PIPE transactions worth $18 billion in 2005 alone.

Along with a partner from Snell & Wilmer, this year's roundtable panelists include John Hogoboom, a member of Lowenstein Sandler PC, Philip Marchal, a director at BMO Capital Markets, and Byron Roth, the CEO of Roth Capital Partners.

Another session will also look at the benefits to smaller public companies of filing interactive data with the commission.

The goal of the annual meetings, which have been held since 1982, is to "provide a platform for small businesses to highlight perceived unnecessary impediments to the capital-raising process" by developing recommendations for new legislation, regulations, and private initiatives, according to the SEC.

Previous meetings have touched on everything from securities and financial services regulation, taxation, and state and federal assistance, attracting small business owners and executives, venture capitalists, trade association groups, and accountants, among others.

The meetings are open to the public and available via webcast at