Austin-based MicroVentures is an online peer-to-peer investment marketplace. It helps accredited investors pool their cash together and get access to startup funding opportunities that aren't usually available outside of the traditional venture capital network.
Right now, by law, it's limited only to accredited investors -- that is, investment funds and individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million. The JOBS Act could let MicroVentures expand to accept investments from anyone who wants in.
Will it go that route? CEO Bill Clark says he's still deciding.
MicroVentures is a registered broker-dealer. That means it's required to perform due diligence and provide investors with detailed information about the companies on offer.
"It's not clear yet what our risk would be," he says. "We have to be very selective, because if a bad deal goes through and due diligence would have caught it, then we'd be on the hook."
The cost of submitting to those checks can be steep. Clark estimates that a startup could spend at least $5,000 to get its financials audited, and setting up escrow for the investment funds run another $3,000 to $5,000.
MicroVentures pays those costs for startups "because we understand they don't have the money yet," Clark says.
The new act promises to help small firms make investors out of everyday folks with fewer regulatory burdens.
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