Invest Crowdfund Québec

Pour l'adoption d'Invest Crowdfunding au Québec | For the adoption of Invest Crowdfunding in Quebec


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Response to the AMF Equity Crowdfunding Exemption Proposal

We are honoured to take part in the consultative process of what we believe to be this decade’s most innovative solution to Canada’s financial gap. Without further a due, we present to you our response to the Autorité des marchés financiers with regards  to the new equity crowdfunding exemption REG 45-108.

We applaud the Autorité des marchés financiers (hereinafter «Autorité») on their initiative to expand the application of equity crowdfunding to established businesses and start-ups. We would also like to thank the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada and team for their support and awareness-building initiative.

Our feedback was requested on the following set of 27 questions:

Crowdfunding Exemption
Issuer qualification criteria

1) Should the availability of the Crowdfunding Exemption be restricted to non-reporting issuers?

2) Is the proposed exclusion of real estate issuers that are not reporting issuers appropriate?

3) The Crowdfunding Exemption would require that a majority of the issuer’s directors be resident in Canada. One of the key objectives of our crowdfunding initiative is to facilitate capital raising for Canadian issuers. We also think this requirement would reduce the risk to investors. Would this requirement be appropriate and consistent with these objectives?

Offering parameters

4) The Crowdfunding Exemption would impose a $1.5 million limit on the amount that can be raised under the exemption by the issuer, an affiliate of the issuer, and an issuer engaged in a common enterprise with the issuer or with an affiliate of the issuer, during the period commencing 12 months prior to the issuer’s current offering. Is $1.5 million an appropriate
limit? Should amounts raised by an affiliate of the issuer or an issuer engaged in a common enterprise with the issuer or with an affiliate of the issuer be subject to the limit? Is the 12-month period prior to the issuer’s current offering an appropriate period of time to which the limit should apply?

5) Should an issuer be able to extend the length of time a distribution could remain open if subscriptions have not been received for the minimum offering? If so, should this be tied to a minimum percentage of the target offering being achieved?

Restrictions on solicitation and advertising
6) Are the proposed restrictions on general solicitation and advertising appropriate?

Investment limits

7) The Crowdfunding Exemption would prohibit an investor from investing more than $2,500 in a single investment under the exemption, and more than $10,000 in total under the exemption in a calendar year. An accredited investor can invest an unlimited amount in an issuer under the AI Exemption. Should there be separate investment limits for accredited investors who invest through the portal?

Statutory or contractual rights in the event of a misrepresentation

8) The Crowdfunding Exemption would require that, if a comparable right were not provided by the securities legislation of the jurisdiction in which the investor resides, the issuer must provide the investor with a contractual right of action for rescission or damages if there is a misrepresentation in any written or other materials made available to the investor (including video). Is this the appropriate standard of liability? What impact would this standard of liability have on the length and complexity of offering documents?

Provision of ongoing disclosure

9) How should the disclosure documents best be made accessible to investors? To whom should the documents be made accessible?

10) Would it be appropriate to require that non-reporting issuers provide financial statements that are either audited or reviewed by an independent public accounting firm? Are financial statements without this level of assurance adequate for investors? Would an audit or review be too costly for non-reporting issuers?

11) The proposed financial threshold to determine whether financial statements are required to be audited is based on the amount of capital raised by the issuer and the amount it has expended. Are these appropriate parameters on which to base the financial reporting requirements? Is the dollar amount specified for each parameter appropriate?

Other
12) Are there other requirements that should be imposed to protect investors?

Crowdfunding Portal Requirements
General registrant obligations

13) The Crowdfunding Portal Requirements provide that portals will be subject to a minimum net capital requirement of $50,000 and a fidelity bond insurance of at least $50,000. The fidelity bond is intended to protect against the loss of investor funds if, for example, a portal or any of its officers or directors breach the prohibitions on holding, managing, possessing or
otherwise handling investor funds or securities. Are these proposed insurance and minimum net capital amounts appropriate?

Additional portal obligations

14) Do you think an international background check should be required to be performed by the portal on issuers, directors, executive officers, promoters and control persons to verify the qualifications, reputation and track record of the parties involved in the offering?

Prohibited activities

15) The Crowdfunding Portal Requirements would allow portal fees to be paid in securities of the issuer so long as the portal’s investment in the issuer does not exceed 10%. Is the investment threshold appropriate? In light of the potential conflicts of interest from the portal’s ownership of an issuer, should portals be prohibited from receiving fees in the form
of securities?

16) The Crowdfunding Portal Requirements restricts portals from holding, handling or accessing client funds. Is this requirement appropriate? How will this impact the portal’s business operations? Should alternatives be considered?

Other

17) Are there other requirements that should be imposed on portals to protect the interests of  investors?

18) Will the regulatory framework applicable to portals permit a portal to appropriately carry on business?

Start-Up Exemption

19) Considering that the Start-Up Exemption will be substantially harmonized amongst the  Participating Jurisdictions, it is our intention to allow a portal established in one Participating Jurisdiction to post offerings from issuers established in another Participating Jurisdiction.

Also, portals established in one Participating Jurisdiction would be allowed to open their offerings to investors from other Participating Jurisdictions. Do you see any problems with this approach?

20) One of the major differences between the Crowdfunding Exemption and the Start-Up Exemption is that there is no registration requirement for the portal under the Start-Up Exemption. Do you think there are appropriate safeguards to protect investors without the registration of the portal? If not, please indicate what requirements should be imposed to the portal in order to adequately protect investors.

21) We are considering imposing a limit per calendar year of 2 capital raises by an issuer of a maximum amount of $150,000 under the exemption ($300,000 per year). Are these limits appropriate? If not, please provide what you would consider acceptable limits given the parameters of the proposed exemption.

22) The Start-Up Exemption would prohibit an investor from investing more than $1,500 in a single investment under the exemption. Is this limit appropriate? Should there also be a limit on the dollar amount that may be invested on a yearly basis by an investor?

23) Should there be minimal ongoing disclosure that issuers be required to provide to their security holders? If yes, what should it be?

24) We expect issuers using the Start-Up Exemption to maintain the information provided in the Issuer Information form and the Offering Document form updated throughout the distribution period. Should there be an obligation for issuers to further update that information outside the distribution period?

25) Should investors have the right to withdraw their subscription at least 48 hours prior to the disclosed offering deadline, as proposed under the Crowdfunding Exemption?

26) For Nova Scotia only, should Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs) be eligible to use the Crowdfunding Exemption and/or Start-Up Exemption? If so, why? If not, why?

27) Are there other requirements that should be imposed to protect investors, taking into account the stage of development of the issuers susceptible to issue securities under the exemption?

 

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Equity Crowdfunding Upfront Costs : No Laughing Matter

Adoption of Equity Crowdfunding for ordinary investors may come sooner than we think. First in the US and not far behind, Quebec and Ontario. [Note: Saskatchewan has gone forward with a smaller-scale model as allowed by law 
calcul
(150,000$ raises and under), but for the purpose of this post and considering investment statistics, we assume that companies will aim higher – much higher, and this has yet to be legalized]. We thought the time was well chosen to outline the costs a Canadian company may incur given the possible regulatory framework that will come into force.

I sat down with Paul Niederer, CEO of ASSOB, the largest equity crowdfunding platform, to compare notes. We may be more conservative than our Australian counterparts and demonstrate a lower tolerance to risk. That is why we are assuming that the bar will be set higher for Canadian companies. For a minimum investment of 500,000$ (USD), to prove their credentials, here’s what companies may be expected to pay upfront prior to launching an equity crowdfunding campaign:

COMPLIANCE FEES $3,000-8,000

1-Legal writing of offering document compliant with legislation

2-Investment summary

BUSINESS/MARKETING SERVICE FEES $4,000-8,000

3-Value proposal, storytelling, business case, video

4-Community building, SEO, content strategy

This article was initially published on NCFA

PORTAL FEES $40,000 – 50,000

5-Due diligence on company and executive team $1,000

6-Offer document review: $3,000$-4,000 (Note: Crowdcube in the UK charges $3,000 or 1,800 pounds that are subsequently deducted from capital raise)

7-Portal success fee: 2-3% of min. proceeds

8-Broker success fee: 5-6% of min. proceeds (a broker is necessary for larger amounts)

Note: Australia’s ASSOB charges 8% of which 2.5% goes to portal and 5.5% to broker.

PROFESSIONAL FEES $5,000$-7,000

9-Certified Public Accountant costs (higher for raises above $500,000)

10- Financial Planning

All in all, companies may be required to put in somewhere between 12 and 15% of the money raised. That’s 52,000$ to 75,000$ to raise $500,000. The SEC estimates are even more pessimistic, as indicated below.

Add to that, ongoing fees: Marketing/Social Media/PR/Advertising which represent roughly 5-10% of the minimum proceeds, quarterly reporting costs and legal defense costs.

2014-03-12-SEC.png

Credit: Crowdfunding Capital Advisors – Venturebeat

Suffice it to say, under the proposed framework, this model is not a solution to all ills. Upfront costs are and will be a barrier to entry for early-stage start-ups.


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Communiqué spécial Indiegogo – en direct de Le Web 2012 Paris

Indiegogo s’internationalise en offrant de nouvelles fonctionnalités aux Canadiens.
Entretien avec Danae Ringlemann , co-fondateur de Indiegogo.

Indiegogo4.jpegIndiegogo, la plateforme mondiale de financement communautaire, annonce de nouvelles offres desservant ses marchés principaux, comprenant la devise locale, la langue du pays et une expérience de recherché localisée. Ces nouvelles capacités sont  déployées immédiatement au Canada, en France, en Angleterre et en Allemagne. Elles visent à améliorer l’expérience client et à offrir du contenu plus pertinent à la communauté.

Le communiqué initial de l’expansion internationale d’Indiegogo porte sur

  • La devise: les transactions sont maintenant possibles en dollars canadiens. La tarification et les frais demeurent inchangés.
  • Les langues: étant donné notre population diversifiée, la plateforme Indiegogo sera également offerte en français, courant décembre. L’internaute pourra aisément basculer du français à l’anglais (LlAllemand sera ajoutée sur la plateforme allemande).
  • La localisation: Indiegogo offrira des versions localisées de la page d’accueil et une expérience de recherche enrichie pour les Canadiens, début 2013.
  • Danae Ringelmann headshotJe me suis entretenue avec Danae Ringlemann, co-fondateur de Indiegogo sur la portée de ce lancement pour les Canadiens. “Le Canada est notre plus grand marché après les Etats-Unis. Dès ses débuts, la plateforme a attiré de nombreux projets : courts-métrages,  divertissement, commerce, etc. dès ses débuts. Nous voulons leur offrir une expérience client encore plus transparente et intuitive “ me confie Danae. “La plupart des personnes préfèrent traiter dans leur monnaie courante.” Rajoute-t-elle.

    Et il y a plus encore…Indiegogo s’adapte aux changements sociétaux. Danae est dans les premières loges et est bien placée pour témoigner de l’évolution rapide de la communauté. “Le financement communautaire se « verticalise ».  Prenons la santé.  Elle a changé comme jamais. Les campagnes Indiegogo portant sur la recherché médicale ou le financement d’une chirurgie critique connaissent une hausse importante. Même la fertilisation in vitro est financée par le public.” Les sports ont également connu une évolution. “Désormais, nous avons des athlètes qui cherchent à financer leur adhésion à un club sportif ou un entraînement de haut niveau.”

    La plateforme Indiegogo prévoit-elle intégrer le Equity crowdfunding? “Nous en sommes de grands supporters. Nous n’avons pas encore décidé mais nous y pensons sérieusement. Ayant bâti une base de client solide et démontré l’efficacité du financement par la foule, le gouvernement américain nous a approchés et ensemble, nous avons formé un partenariat pour Startup America. J’ai été invitée la semaine dernière par la Commission européenne à Bruxelles pour leur présenter nos résultats et leur démontrer notre algorithme de détection de fraude. Nous sommes en faveur d’une réglementation sans qu’elle soit trop lourde mais avant tout, nous devons savoir comment cela va se traduire dans les prochains mois”, conclue Danae.

    Il sera intéressant de voir à l’avenir comment Indiegogo s’adaptera au marché Québécois et aux autres provinces, en terme de designDanae_BigOmaha et de slogan. Equipe locale. Et sachant qu’ils ouvriront une filiale en Angleterre courant 2013,  pouvons-nous nous attendre à une présence locale au Canada avec une équipe de support dédiée? Concurrence. En ce qui concerne les plateformes locales de crowdfunding qui sont pour la plupart en phase de démarrage, nous regarderons comment elles se différencieront du Indiegogo canadien.  Equity crowdfunding. Enfin, le “equity crowdfunding” pourrait devenir une réalité en 2013 pour le Canada. Il sera intéressant de voir si Indiegogo l’intégrera à ses services plus tôt qu’anticipé.

    C’était une belle occasion que de rencontrer la co-fondatrice de Indiegogo et de recevoir ces nouvelles sur leur expansion internationale, alors qu’ils l’annoncent aujourd’hui à Le Web, Paris. Danae conclue cet entretien par un dernier conseil pour assurer le succès d’une campagne: “Soyez authentique dans votre campagne. Indiegogo vous donnera les outils nécessaires pour créer le buzz que les VC recherchent. Restez vous même. Les gens financent les gens.”


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    Indiegogo: Special Announcement – Live from Le Web 2012 Paris

    Indiegogo Expands Internationally With New Capabilities in Canada
    Checking in with Indiegogo co-founder Danae Ringlemann.

    Indiegogo4.jpeg

    Indiegogo, the world’s largest global crowdfunding platform, announces new offerings in key global markets today– including local currencies, languages and localized search and discovery experiences. These new capabilities launch immediately in Canada, France, UK, and Germany as part of Indiegogo’s continued focus on improving the customer experience and providing relevant local market content for campaign owners and funders.

    The initial release of Indiegogo’s international features includes:

    • Currency: transactions are now available in Canadian Dollars. Pricing, fees and payment modes remain the same.
    • Language: since our population is so diverse, the Indiegogo platform will be also available in French late December. The user will be able to easily toggle to the other language and launch campaigns in both French and English (German will also be added to the German platform).
    • Localization: Indiegogo will be offering localized versions of the homepage and search and discovery experiences for Canadians in early 2013, to highlight local campaigns. The platform will provide a “cultural” feel and an extra layer of filtering thus creating more proximity with the crowd.


    IDanae Ringelmann headshot spoke to Danae Ringlemann, co-founder of Indiegogo about what this launch meant for Canadians. “Canada is our second largest market after the US, with campaigns from filmmakers small business, entertainment etc. right from the start. We want to offer them a seamless and easier customer experience,“ said Danae . “Most people are more comfortable transacting in their own preferred currency.”

    And there’s more…Danae makes it a point to adapt Indiegogo to changing needs. She is in the front seat and sees society change at a rapid pace. “Crowdfunding is becoming more vertical.  Take health for instance. It has changed like never before. Indiegogo campaigns on disease research or a much-needed surgery are on the rise. Even in vitro fertilization is being crowdfunded.” Sports has also evolved. “Now, we find people funding a field trip, club membership, or high-level training.”

    Does Indiegogo have plans to offer equity crowdfunding? “We are very supportive of it [Invest Crowdfunding]. We have not decided yet but we’re giving it some thought. Having built a strong customer base and proving social fundraising works, the U.S. government came to us and partnered with us for Startup America. I was invited last week by the European Commission at Brussels to showcase what we’ve done and how our platform prevents fraud. We are in support of putting regulations in place without making it too cumbersome but first we need to know how it all plays out”, concluded Danae.

    Danae_BigOmahaIt will be interesting to see in the coming months how Indiegogo will cater to Quebec and other provinces, how the platform will be adapted in terms of design or tagline. Local Team. As they will be launching a subsidiary in the UK first half of 2013, could we expect a local presence in Canada with a dedicated team for support and communications? Competition. Also, how local crowdfunding providers measure up to Indiegogo is something we’ll be looking at closely. Equity Crowdfunding. Lastly, 2013 may be the year for “equity crowdfunding” in Canada. It will be interesting to see if Indiegogo will integrate this service sooner than anticipated.

    In short, it was great to get an update from Indiegogo about their international expansion as they announce this news today in Paris at LeWeb. It was also great to get Danae’s final words on what it takes to succeed at crowdfunding: “Our advice  is that you don’t have to be someone else, just be authentic with your campaign. Indiegogo gives you the traction you need and the buzz that VCs are looking for. Just be yourself. People fund people.”


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    Technicity Event: Ontario Runner-Up for Equity Crowdfunding. Is Quebec Next?


    Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.35.35 AMOntario may well be the next adopter of Invest Crowdfunding ahead of the U.S. 

    Thursday morning, the Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation was the honorary guest at Technicity, the first Equity Crowdfund Conference in Ontario. Min. Duguid spoke about the potential benefits that equity-based crowdfunding provides for entrepreneurs and said once the Ontario Securities Commission completes a review, the provincial government would look at ways to move forward with changes.

    Great panel, crowd and organization and more importantly the outcome that I will highlight further. It was also a rare opportunity to meet up with the other shakers of  Invest CrowdFund Canada :  Dr. Cindy Gordon, national Chair of ICC and CEO of Helix Commerce Intl, Fawn Annan VP for Ontario and CEO of IT World Canada, Andrew Weir VP national communications, Debra Chander VP National marketing, and Barry Gander, i-Canada co-Founder. I also had a serendipitous moment, meeting Craig Asano, Executive Director of the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, with whom I’ve been exchanging emails with for the past weeks and had yet to meet.

    A Room Full of Believers in Equity Crowdfunding

    The entire Canadian ecosystem was present and the excitement palpable. When Darren Westlake, co-founder of CrowdCube, UK’s Equity crowdfunding platform, took the stand, we had high expectations and were not disappointed. Darren walked us through the process of an equity crowdfunded business, provided key success metrics and gave us a view of what lies ahead for equity CF sites. I tweeted as I listened (see end of post). All provinces needed to catch a glimpse of the lessons learned and the opportunities, and more importantly realize that we all share the same concerns: the need for democratizing investment to close the financial gap and stir innovation.

    The keynote was followed by a panel discussion including top influencers from the technology, regulatory, banking and VC sectors: CEO of ING Canada, Peter Aceto ; founder of Stratus Capital and a board director at the Toronto Angel Group, Dr. Richard Reiner; creator of Social Venture Exchange, Adam Spence and Dr. Cindy Gordon, who moderated the event. There was great talk on Ontarian initiatives to boost innovation and Canadian-specific requirements, i.e. tax incentives for equity crowdfunded businesses.

    The third highlight of this matinee was the group table dialogue moderated by Chairman of the Exempt Market Dealers Association, Brian Koscak. In short, each table was asked to discuss three questions that were later shared in plenary. Our set of questions: Should issuers be subject to an annual limit on how much they can raise? Should issuers be subject to a minimum and maximum offering threshold? Should securities be limited to equity only or debt and equity?

    This session gave way to much discussion and differing opinions. It’s all good. This is how change starts to take place. The value lies not in the “right” answers but in addressing the right questions, having such a large number of interested and engaged professionals.

    What is the main motivator for Equity crowdfund investors?

    One crucial teaching that I take with me is that equity crowdfund does not belong to one select group but to all. And to confine it to the financial or regulatory sphere is a mistake. Yes, equity CF addresses financial and regulatory concerns, i.e. how much does one invest? How much can one raise?, and for good reason. Yet it also addresses regional/municipal economic growth and innovation rate, i.e. investing in a company for reasons other than financial. Darren nailed it when he said

    Financial return is not the main motivator, supporting SMEs is.

    Because you may not see a return in VC terms (<5 years) but you will be contributing locally to the long term growth of businesses and job creation. And as Darren mentioned, these SMEs eventually scale and their value increases thus interesting other categories of investors. It’s a win-win.

    Why accelerate the adoption of Equity Crowdfunding in Quebec?

    First and foremost, start-ups are leaving Quebec for better (financial) conditions. Love money and bootstrapping are NOT accessible to every entrepreneur. Some keep their day jobs and work nights to make their great idea actionable but with a lot of collateral damage. Those that do succeed with some help of their close circles need more funding to scale and acquire new clients. Yet VCs and Angels can only fund so many start-ups in early or later stage. This leaves quite a large crowd of entrepreneurs who more often than not, call it quits (50% of SMEs have a lifespan of 5 years).

    Then I ask you. How can Invest/Equity Crowdfunding not be part of the public agenda? As Ontario, this should become a concern for all: the Prime Minister, the Ministry of development and innovation, the Ministry of small business, corporations, SMEs, start-ups, VCs, angels, business associations, exempt market dealers, regulatory agencies, strategists, social media experts, IT experts, securities lawyers, academia, individual investors, Julie, John, Mr and Mrs Smith, and the generations to come.

    Why wait-n-see, especially when the market is clearly sending out signals that Equity CF works? Naysayers may respond “sure, it works in Australia or UK, but it isn’t going to work here.”, “It’s going to kill our VCs” or “No one knows what Invest CF is,  let’s wait it out”. I am a partisan of dialogue among stakeholders and I believe that in lieu of making assumptions amongst ourselves, we should create an open public arena. Our blog is one those places and we welcome your questions, concerns, suggestions. Last Monday’s short talk at Crowdfund Night was yet another opportunity and people came up to me with more questions. Yes, the interest is there and we must cultivate it.

    Seemingly, Ontario is next up to adopt Invest Crowdfunding, and other provinces will follow suit. We do not want to see our country divided, hence running the risk of losing our Quebec entrepreneurs to other regions, where more diversified financing mechanisms will be in place sooner than later.

    If you would like to accelerate the adoption of crowdfund Investing, we welcome the addition of your strengths to our cause. Contact us. Many thanks.

     

    Twitter Feed @Technicity:

    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness #technicity Government should propose tax incentive to #Crowdfundinvestors as in UK. Agreed.
    29 Nov@Yazziness #technicity Banks will see invest #crowdfunding as a wonderful opportunity, to meet entrepreneurs early on in their life cycle – Peter Aceto
    29 NovBrian Jackson ‏@brianjjackson Darren saw a supply/demand problem in the UK of too many businesses looking for capital, not enough angels. Sounds familiar#technicity Retweeted by Diana
    29 Nov@Yazziness @TechnicityTO how banks can get involved in invest #crowdfundingPeter Aceto @ingdirect speaking
    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness #technicity shares b for crowd, shares a for accredited.@Crowdcube
    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness #technicity Little due diligence. ID checks and money-laundering checks done for every business @crowdcheck29
    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness#technicity @Crowdcube crowd funded their business. 300k pounds raised. 160 investors
    29 Nov@Yazziness#technicity average investment 1800 pounds. 31 successful deals in 18 months. Total funds raised 4.2 m pounds #crowdcube
    29 Nov‏@Yazziness #technicity Investor survey: financial return is not the main motivator for invest #crowdfunding. Supporting SMEs is. – Crowdcube CEO
    29 Nov@Yazzines#technicity Strong vetting process @crowdcube – 25% acceptance rate invest #crowdfunding


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    L’événement Technicity: L’Ontario vise l’adoption de l’Equity Crowdfunding. Et le Québec?

     
    Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.35.35 AML’Ontario vise l’adoption de l’Equity CrowdFunding

    Le Ministre ontarien du développement économique et de l’innovation, Brad Duguid, était l’invité d’honneur à Technicity, la première conférence sur l’Equity CrowdFunding, en Ontario. Le ministre Duguid a tenu des propos sur les bénéfices attendus de ce mode de financement pour les entrepreneurs et dit qu’une fois que la Commission des valeurs mobilières de l’Ontario en aura terminé l’examen, le gouvernement provincial envisagerait les moyens pour mettre en place ces changements. La qualité des orateurs, du panel et de l’organisation et plus important, les conclusions que je vais développer plus loin, ont fait de cette matinée l’événement marquant de 2012.

    Cet événement était une rare occasion pour moi de retrouver les autres membres d’Invest CrowdFund Canada (ICC) : Dr. Cindy Gordon, Président du CA d’ICC et PDG d’Helix Commerce Intl, Fawn Annan VP pour l’Ontario and PDG de IT World Canada, Andrew Weir VP Communications nationales, Debra Chander VP Marketing national, et Barry Gander,  co-fondateur de i-Canada. Cela fut aussi l’occasion fortuite de rencontrer  Craig Asano, Directeur exécutif de National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, avec qui j’avais échangé des mails les semaines précédentes.

    Une salle comble : l’Equity Crowdfunding prend son envol.

    L’écosystème Canadien dans son ensemble était présent et l’excitation palpable. Lorsque Darren Westlake, co-fondateur de CrowdCube, la plateforme d’ Equity Crowdfunding Anglaise, prit la parole, nous avions beaucoup d’attentes et n’avons pas été déçus. Darren a passé en revue tout le processus d’un business fondé sur l’Equity Crowdfunding, en fournissant les indicateurs clés et nous a donné une vision de ce qui nous attend sur les sites Equity. Je tweetais en écoutant afin que toutes les provinces puissent tirer parti des leçons apprises, y voir les opportunités et plus important encore, réaliser que nous partageons le même objectif : démocratiser l’investissement pour combler le fossé financier actuel et attiser l’innovation.

    Le discours d’ouverture a été suivi d’une table ronde composée d’acteurs influents dans les technologies, la règlementation, le secteur banquier et le capital de risque : PDG d’ING Canada, Peter Aceto, fondateur de Stratus Capital et directeur duToronto Angel Group, Dr. Richard Reiner; fondateur de Social Venture Exchange, Adam Spence et Dr. Cindy Gordon, animatrice de la session. Le mot d’ordre de cette discussion tournait autour des initiatives ontariennes pour requinquer l’innovation et des mesures spécifiques au Canada qui pourraient être mises places telles que des crédits d’impôt pour les entreprises financées par ce mode.

    Le point culminant de cette matinée était le dialogue organisé en groupes, modéré par le Président du CA du Exempt Market Dealers Association, Brian Koscak. En somme, chacune des tables se voyait assignée trois questions à débattre en petit groupe et dont les réponses furent présentées en plénière. Notre groupe avait pour questions: les émetteurs d’action devraient-ils être soumis à un seuil de financement annuel ? Les investisseurs devraient-ils être soumis à un minimum et à un maximum d’offre ? Les actions émises devraient-elles être limitées au crowdfunding par actions uniquement ou au financement par actions et prêt ? Cette séance plénière a donné lieu à de discussions animées et des opinions divergentes. Et c’est attendu. C’est d’ailleurs ainsi que le changement vient à s’opérer. La valeur de ces séances ne résident pas tant dans les bonnes réponses mais dans la formulation des bonnes questions qui nous ont été proposées, compte tenu du grand nombre de professionnels intéréssés et engagés.

    La motivation principale pour les investisseurs en Equity Crowdfunding? 

    Un enseignement que je retiens de cette matinée et que j’ai déjà mis de l’avant dans un billet, est que le equity crowdfunding n’est pas réservé à un groupe sélect mais à tous. Et de le confiner à la sphère financière ou règlementaire serait une erreur. Bien évidemment, ce modèle adresse les enjeux financiers et règlementaires, e.i. combien un investisseur pourra-t-il contribuer ? Combien de fonds une entreprise pourra-t-elle lever ? Il s’intéresse également à la croissance économique d’une région, d’une ville et son taux d’innovation, e.i. l’investissement dans une entreprise pour des raisons autres que financières. Darren met le doigt dessus lorsqu’il dit que

    le ROI n’est pas le principal motivateur…c’est  le soutien aux PME.

    car plus souvent qu’autrement, vous ne verrez pas de ROI à la façon capital de risque (<5 ans) mais le retour sera votre contribution à l’économie locale et la création d’emplois, en accompagnant les PME de votre région, votre ville, votre quartier. Et comme Darren le mentionne, ces PME finissent pas voir leur valeur augmenter, intéressant par la même occasion d’autres types d’investisseurs. C’est gagnant-gagnant au bout du compte.

    Pourquoi accélérer l’adoption du Equity Crowdfunding au Québec?

    D’une part, les entreprises en démarrage continuent de quitter le Québec pour des meilleures conditions (financières). Le « love money » ou les moyens propres ne sont PAS à la portée de tous les entrepreneurs. Certains maintiennent leur emploi et montent leur start-up en dehors des heures, ce qui n’est pas sans dommages collatéraux.  Et même ceux qui réussissent avec l’aide de leurs proches, finissent éventuellement par devoir aller chercher plus de financement ailleurs pour accompagner la croissance de leurs activités et de leur base clients. Les anges investisseurs et les capitaux de risque apportent du financement à la mesure de leur fonds. Par conséquent, une “foule” d’entrepreneurs prometteurs sont en mal de fonds et finissent par déserter le navire (50% des PME ont une durée de vie de moins de 5 ans).

    Alors je vous demande : comment ne pas envisager l’Equity Crowdfunding? Ne serait-il pas grand temps de le mettre à l’agenda public ? Tout comme en Ontario, le Equity CF devrait devenir l’enjeu de tous : la Première Ministre, le Ministère du développement économique, le Ministère des petites entreprises, les PME, les entreprises en démarrage, les Anges, les VC, les associations d’affaires, les exempt market dealers, les agences réglementaires, les stratèges, les experts en réseaux sociaux, les experts TI, les avocats en valeurs mobilières, le milieu universitaire, les investisseurs individuels, Julie, Marc, M et Mme Tremblay, et les futures générations.

    Pouquoi « attendons voir » alors que le marché nous envoie clairement des signaux forts que le Equity Crowdfunding fait ses preuves? Les opposants peuvent rétorquer « bien sûr, ça marche en Australie ou en Angleterre, mais ça n’ira pas ici » ou « c’est un modèle qui fera du tort aux VC » ou « Personne ici ne sait ce qu’est le Equity CF. Attendons. » Je suis partisane du dialogue entre les parties-prenantes et j’estime qu’au lieu de spéculer entre nous, nous devrions créer une arène publique ouverte. Notre blog est l’une de ces arènes qui accueille vos questions, vos préoccupations, vos suggestions. Mon intervention lundi dernier à Crowdfund Night, en est une autre et les participants avaient vraisemblablement réfléchi à ce modèle si je me fie aux questions qui m’étaient posées. Alors oui, il y a un intérêt marqué et il tient à nous tous de le cultiver.  

    L’Ontario pourrait être le premier à adopter le Equity Crowdfund. D’autres provinces non loin derrière. Nous ne voulons pas voir notre pays divisé sur ce plan et courir le risque de voir, encore, nos entrepreneurs se diriger là où les modes de financement sont  les plus accessibles.

    Si vous souhaitez voir l’adoption du Equity Crowdfunding au Québec, nous vous invitons à faire équipe avec nous. Merci.

    Twitter Feed de l’événement Technicity:
    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness #technicity Government should propose tax incentive to #Crowdfundinvestors as in UK. Agreed.
    29 Nov@Yazziness #technicity Banks will see invest #crowdfunding as a wonderful opportunity, to meet entrepreneurs early on in their life cycle – Peter Aceto
    29 NovBrian Jackson ‏@brianjjackson Darren saw a supply/demand problem in the UK of too many businesses looking for capital, not enough angels. Sounds familiar#technicity Retweeted by Diana
    29 Nov@Yazziness @TechnicityTO how banks can get involved in invest #crowdfundingPeter Aceto @ingdirect speaking
    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness #technicity shares b for crowd, shares a for accredited.@Crowdcube
    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness #technicity Little due diligence. ID checks and money-laundering checks done for every business @crowdcheck
    29 Nov ‏@Yazziness#technicity @Crowdcube crowd funded their business. 300k pounds raised. 160 investors
    29 Nov@Yazziness#technicity average investment 1800 pounds. 31 successful deals in 18 months. Total funds raised 4.2 m pounds #crowdcube
    29 Nov‏@Yazziness #technicity Investor survey: financial return is not the main motivator for invest #crowdfunding. Supporting SMEs is. – Crowdcube CEO
    29 Nov@Yazzines#technicity Strong vetting process @crowdcube – 25% acceptance rate invest #crowdfunding


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    Special Event: Crowdfundnight at Notman

    Crowdfunding, donation or reward-based,  is the new way of funding projects. Crowdfundnight will highlight successful campaigns and how entrepreneurs are doing it. Our own Eric Bisson, founder of Plebs.ca, the latest Montreal donation-based crowdfunding platform, will walk us through the funding process.

    And for those who missed Montreal New Tech’s edition on Crowdfunding, we’ll also present the latest developments on Invest Crowdfunding in the US & Canada and what to watch for in the coming months.

    Register here. See you there!

    The Invest Crowdfund Quebec team