58cd9642-7179-4c86-a0e6-828d61765b0a_244-1Finding Funding for your startup is hard, but Greenhouse is trying to make it easier.
The company is one of several firms taking advantage of the JOBS act of 2012, which relaxes regulations for equity investing and allows individuals to own stock in new startups without being SEC accredited. This means that you, or a friend of yours, can own equity in fledgling startups – as long as you go through a web portal that handles the legal issues.
This is exactly the service that Greenhouse provides. Founders R.C. Rondero de Mosier and Nathan Roach are based in Austin and San Antonio respectively, and hope to create a crowdfunding community in the south Texas area that benefits startups and investors as well as the local economies. With equity crowdfunding, the Greenhouse users will actually own part of the local startups they invest in, creating an incentive to stick with and promote such startups in the future.
“This creates a larger community because you turn your purchasers into advocates, and people are going to be ideally more long term engaged with you,” says Rondero de Mosier.
The JOBS act rules will go into effect as soon as the SEC releases regulations for those rules. Under old rules, only SEC accredited investors could purchase equity in private startup companies – or companies that had not already made an initial public stock offering. Such investors had to be either worth around a million dollars or prove that they made more than $200K annually for several years – a rule which Rondero de Mosier says excluded around 94 percent of Americans from investing in small businesses without public stocks. Once the new rules pass, companies like Greenhouse will open the door for those people by providing a web portal for such investment.
According to Forbes.com, the new rules will allow individuals making less than $100K – most of us – to invest five percent of their annual income in equity crowdfunding. Individuals making more than $100K may invest 10 percent.
Greenhouse is currently in beta, and plans to launch once the SEC rules are fully implemented. Users can sign up for the beta at FundGreenhouse.com.