A presentation Thursday in Blacksburg will highlight the emerging concept of Internet-based crowd funding.
The event is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at TechPad, 432 N. Main St. More than 100 people are expected, according to a Tweet by TechPad director Bob Summers, who has rented an additional 80 chairs for the event.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who is making presentations on crowd funding around the state, will participate by Skype.
Speakers expected to be present include Austin Choi, general counsel of Kiva, a microlending nonprofit that orchestrates small-scale loans to fight poverty; Daniel Gorfine, director of special projects and legal counsel at the Milken Institute; Mary Miller of Blacksburg-based Interactive Design & Development; and Tom Weithman, CIT GAP Funds managing director.
Warner defines crowd funding as “a way for businesses to raise capital through the pooling of many relatively small investments.”
Savvy business people have pooled donated funds for many years, taking cash to fund operations but giving the donor little or nothing tangible in return. New crowd-funding provisions under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act of 2012 would ease securities regulations to enable a business to trade equity, or an ownership stake in the company, for money investments — a significant new wrinkle.
Warner sees vast economic-growth potential represented by entrepreneurs taking this form of crowd-funding to social media and the Internet. But because the JOBS Act regulations are not yet out, many entrepreneurs and business people still don’t know how the new provisions will work. Area tech people are hoping the speakers will provide some clarity and answers, said Derick Maggard, who directs the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council.
Warner’s office is asking those who want to attend to RSVP online.
– Jeff Sturgeon