January 29, 2014
Crowd-funding is the American dream come to life. For $100 or so, one can become involved in the fate of an actual company that may even end up generating jobs producing something that was attractive enough to your own values to convince you to give it a chance to succeed. What's not to like about this? For those not born to inherit the board seat or blessed with political cronies, crowd-sourcing is the ONLY opportunity for the average person to participate meaningfully in capitalism without losing their shirt. Being one of millions of passengers in a mutual fund is not the same thing at all. True, investing in small businesses is inherently risky even experienced angels and VCs expect 6-% of their investment to fail completely. Still, for the small investor, this is their only route into the multipliers that large investors benefit from all the time. Let's not block the road to true economic participation and wealth by trying to load the process up with "due diligence" protections in an industry sector where there is no past performance and future earnings are completely hypothetical. Trying to limit such investments to a certain percentage of someone's net worth would be impossible to administer or police, and the amounts are too trivial to make it worth doing. Instead, require these transactions to come with a stern warning label (e.g. "Business and financial projections from emerging businesses are inherently unreliable. Invest at your own risk. No law or regulation will support you if your investment does not work out." But let us not stop Americans from doing what America is all about.