For Entrepreneurs: FAQs
How do I create a campaign?
A campaign is your offering marketing plan, sales materials, descriptive business documents, financial history and projections plus your legal documents. When you create your campaign and its materials, you need to convey the compelling reason(s) that drives your belief in your business—the value proposition. Your materials should be fully descriptive of the current state of your business be it existing or in formation. All financial projections should be supportable and defensible. You need to explain why you and/or the management team are the go-to players for success in your business. Finally, you need to remember that attention spans are short, therefore, you need to elicit interest at your first introduction to an investor. We encourage companies to post a video that introduces the company, its management and product or service to potential investors. A power point presentation may be appropriate. From a marketing perspective, you need to direct all your potential investors to your MoolaPitch.com site as the investment portal. You can start to create a campaign at MoolaPitch.com after you sign up. We will assign an Account Manager to help guide you through the steps. You will want your legal counsel to review your campaign materials before finalizing materials.
How much should I raise?
You should raise the amount you need to execute your business plan be it the start-up or growth plan. You need to bear in mind two things when determining this amount. First, the funds raised must generate enough value to justify the investment. Second, you are selling equity in your Company, or increasing its debt. How much equity do you wish to sell or how much debt can your Company bear? You will need to satisfy investors that your raise is appropriate in both amount and its price.
What is the “Minimum Target Offering”?
The minimum target offering is the minimum amount that must be raised during the offering period. Funds raised must be held in escrow until that minimum target amount is received. When that minimum target amount is realized, the funds will be transferred to your account by the escrow agent and subsequent proceeds from the offering may be deposited directly into your account. If the minimum is not reached during the offering period, the prospective investors must be offered the choice of cancelling their commitment to invest or to proceed.
The minimum target offering should reflect the amount of funds that are necessary to achieve the base financial goals of the raise. A maximum offering amount should also be set reflecting both the maximum amount of funds desired and the maximum amount of equity you wish to sell or debt you wish to bear.
How do I set the price of equity or the interest rate on debt?
Valuation is extremely difficult. Most investors expect a minimum return to their equity. Whereas investing in small companies is very risky, investors may expect additional returns to compensate for the chance that nothing will be returned at all. You should bear in mind that investors have many opportunities available to them; therefore, a critical question is if you have priced your offering to provide an adequate return.
Many methods of estimating what the returns can be used. A non-financial return to the investment could occur. It may be reward of contributing to the growth of a local business or the emergence of a new idea, concept, service or product. It may the pride of ownership in a successful enterprise. This said, securities crowdfunding is not reward crowdfunding and an underlying assumption is that lending or ownership does produce a financial return. You need to look at the cash flow or potential exit value of your company given the offering in order to assess the share of equity investors should receive or what the appropriate interest rate should be on a debt instrument. Many investors will view your estimate as overly optimistic and you need to be prepared to prove out your calculation.
Is there a limit on how much I can raise at MoolaPitch.com?
The State of Wisconsin limits the crowdfunding raise to a maximum of $1 million ($2 million if you submit audited financials) from investors but that excludes sales to accredited, certified and institutional investors. Since this limit excludes accredited, certified and institutional investors, your raise can be much higher; however, since this offering is taking advantage of the intra-state offering exemption, any investor that is accredited or certified must be a Wisconsin resident. There is no minimum offering amount.
How much does it cost to raise money at MoolaPitch.com?
Equity for Business charges fees service at several steps as you proceed with a raise or offer on MoolaPitch.com. Your Account Manager will discuss the service menu and its fees after you submit your initial application (see For Entrepreneur-Costs). The initial application fee is $500.00. No commission or success fee for any of Equity for Business’s services will be assessed.
Can I use my investment banker or business broker on MoolaPitch.com?
Campaigns on MoolaPitch.com can be led by the issuer with no assistance from a deal intermediary or the issuer can use an investment banker or a business broker on their placement. In either case, the issuer or business is the party that executes the listing agreement with Equity for Business and an escrow agreement must be executed with a Wisconsin chartered institution.
What information do I need to get started on my campaign?
If you are a start-up, you should have articles of incorporation or organization, a business plan, a target raise number, projections and any financial and legal documents pertaining to your business. If you are an operating concern, you should have historical financials and projections based on a successful raise. All companies need to prepare materials that discuss the vision, skills, background and history of their founders and management team. A marketing list of potential investors from social media and any mailing lists is also helpful. The more pieces that you have in place the quicker your campaign will be implemented.
How do I maintain confidentiality?
You can’t. You should assume that the information you post on MoolaPitch.com will be available to all qualifying potential investors.
Can my ideas be protected when crowdfunding?
The patent/trademark/copyright process provides some protection for intellectual property as does keeping an idea as a trade secret. This said, there is a tension between keeping information secret and crowdfunding.
What types of businesses can create a crowdfunding campaign?
Any type of business can create an equity crowdfunding campaign. A wide range of businesses have undertaken crowdfunding campaigns.
If I don’t reach my minimum target, what happens?
If you are using Wisconsin crowdfunding exemption and you don’t reach your minimum target, all investors must be offered the opportunity to cancel their commitments to invest, and may elect to either cancel or proceed. The offer to cancel may be given by either the escrow agent or Equity for Business Inc.
Can I make changes to my campaign after it is live?
Once your actual offering campaign goes live at MoolaPitch.com, you cannot make ANY changes to offering. WDFI will have received your disclosure document. Therefore, to change the campaign you will need to cancel the current offering, resubmit to WDFI and then repost as a new offering. You need to make sure that your campaign is complete before posting. If material changes occur with your business while your campaign is posted, you will need to consult with your legal counsel as to how to proceed.
Is there a limit on the number of investors I can have?
Is there a minimum investment amount?
You can create any size investment unit, but remember every investor you have will have some administrative cost going forward. As a result we suggest that a minimum be set at $500 or $1,000.
How long is a crowdfunding campaign?
A campaign is generally 45 to 90 days, but that can vary depending upon your target raise and other factors. You can discuss this with your Account Manager.
What’s the escrow account for and can Equity for Business Inc. access those funds?
Wisconsin requires that all funds go into an escrow account until the minimum is met. You have submit an escrow agreement to WDFI for your exemption. The agreement will be set up by you. Equity for Business Inc. cannot hold, manage, possess or otherwise handle investor funds or securities.
Do I have to use a particular institution for the escrow?
You can set up an escrow account through any institution provided it complies with the Wisconsin statute and agrees to provide Equity for Business the information we need to be in compliance. Equity for Business will provide a list of institutions that are willing to open accounts that are designed to address compliance with the crowdfunding statute. Not only will this save you time in establishing the account, but you will also have ongoing access to a trained representative who is familiar with the Wisconsin requirements.