The first equity crowdfunding platform has launched in Michigan, MichiganFunders.com.
This is the first platform to be launched under the M.I.L.E Act (Michigan Invests Locally Exemption), which means that all state residents (accredited and non-accredited) can now invest up to $10,000 per investment per year, in startups, existing businesses, and real estate via crowdfunding platforms.
Niles Heron, Chief Business Development Officer at Michigan Funders, added:
"Michigan Funders firmly believes that the pursuit of dreams is an inalienable right, and should not be denied or deferred because of access or wealth. Within that is our belief that investors should be allowed access to investments, and businesses should be allowed access to capital – both within a truly democratic market."
The platform MichiganFunders.com was created by co-founders David Tessler, local attorney Jeffery Freeman, and Niles Heron. The platform uses software from CrowdEngine, a company that provides crowdfunding software solutions for real estate, equity and non-profit, and rewards crowdfunding sites.
Jim Borzilleri, President of CrowdEngine, commented:
"CrowdEngine is proud to have been part of many crowdfunding 'firsts', and this is another key milestone in bringing equity crowdfunding to the world. This is the same technology trusted by investors and entrepreneurs around the world, but now we're enabling a new investment experience for intrastate crowdfunding portals that is accessible, efficient, and secure."
For the first time the platform is allowing non-accredited investors to invest in Michigan-based businesses. Until Title II of the JOBS Act non-accredited investors in the US are still not allowed to partake in equity crowdfunding unless there are state exemptions, and this is something we are starting to see more of. In February the first approved equity crowdfunding platform opened in Texas. MassVenture allows both accredited and non-accredited investors to invest in equity in state-based ventures. The platform opened after gaining approval from the Texas State Securities Board, which reviews and regulates crowdfunding portals. Once more states see the potential benefits of equity crowdfunding for sparking early-stage businesses into life we may see more states issuing their own regulations covering the participation of non-accredited investors in crowdfunding.