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Crowdfunding for University Start-Ups: Opportunities and Risks

Format: On-Demand Video, DVD, or PDF Transcript
Originally presented: January 16, 2014

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crowdfundingBarriers to crowdfunding are falling fast, and cash-strapped university start-ups and TTOs looking to support early-stage technologies are, by all accounts, eyeing the crowdfunding landscape eagerly. With removal of the ban on general solicitation, the advent of equity crowdfunding for accredited investors, and now the SEC’s soon-to-be implemented rules that will open up equity investments to the true “crowd” – the general public – there appears to be great potential for universities to tap into this new funding option.

Many observers believe universities will dive headlong into crowdfunding as a way of replacing a dwindling stream of federal and private grant funds. However, university participation in crowdfunding is not necessarily a slam-dunk. Major regulatory and practical challenges must be addressed before venturing into this new, uncharted territory. It’s vitally important for TTOs, start-ups founders, and researchers to understand exactly how the recently amended Jobs Act affects solicitation of funds from both accredited and non-accredited investors, what opportunities the proposed Regulation A+ will bring, and what the real potential for generating significant funding is.

And along with the opportunities crowdfunding brings, there are also risks – compliance risk, financial risk, and risk to start-ups themselves. That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics has secured three experts to lead this cutting-edge distance learning program:

Crowdfunding for University Start-Ups:
Opportunities and Risks

You’ll get expert guidance from attorney Scott J. Popma, who will discuss the latest regulatory updates and how they affect university technologies. Plus you’ll learn from the first-hand experiences of the University of Utah’s Matthew Gardner and Allison Mercer, a crowdfund manager from the Georgia Institute of Technology, who will provide practical advice on starting, growing and managing your crowdfunding efforts. Here is a sneak peek at the program agenda:

Latest Developments
Hear the very latest update on SEC regulations as they pertain to:

  • Title 3
    • Crowdfunding exemption
    • Exclusion of crowdfunding investors from shareholder cap
    • Funding portal regulation
  • Title 2
    • Regulation D
  • Title 4
    • Small Capital Formation, aka Regulation A+

Case Studies
Lessons learned from implementing crowdfunding to support start-up formation

  • Georgia Tech experience
  • University of Utah experience

Practical Guidance

  • How to choose the right technologies to crowdfund
  • Expert advice on how to prepare researchers for this type of funding
  • How to find your “crowd” and cultivate your network of investors
  • Social media’s profound and far-reaching effect on crowdfunded technologies
  • How to set up and run a crowdfunding portal
  • Selecting and working with a third party portal
  • Handling equity dilution issues
  • Investor communication issues
  • And much more!

Your Expert Presenters:

Scott J. Popma is a Partner with Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP.  Mr. Popma practices patent litigation before the federal district courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, primarily in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and electrical areas. He has extensive experience in all aspects of pre-trial, trial, and post-trial proceedings.  In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Popma advises clients on a wide variety of patent matters, including portfolio analysis, licensing, due diligence, and IP issues relating to crowdfunding. He also provides opinions of counsel relating to infringement, validity, and patentability

Matthew Gardner is a business development manager with Technology Venture and Commercialization Office at the University of Utah. He is involved in the university’s recently launched partnership with major crowdfunding site RocketHub. The University of Utah has pioneered the use of crowdfunding for faculty inventions through the launch of “The University Tech Vault” (UTV). This crowdfunding web portal is tailored to funding university science and technology innovations.

Allison Mercer is an applied physicist at Georgia Tech Research Institute and cofounder and director of Georgia Tech Starter, a university-based, peer-reviewed crowdfunding platform for faculty-sponsored scientific research projects. The Georgia Institute of Technology has developed this site for crowdfunding science, which is fully integrated into the fabric of the University, and ensures all projects can be successfully executed before they post to the site through a rigorous review process. 

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CLP and CLE Credits Available
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