Editor's Note: The creation of the Crowdfunding Professional Association was officially announced during our most recent weekly crowdfunding live chat held earlier today. A full transcript of the live chat will be available in the coming days. Meanwhile, here's the official announcement that was distributed worldwide following the conclusion of the live chat.
NEW YORK -- A group of top debt and equity crowdfunding platform and industry experts today announced the creation of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), which will operate as a complementary sister entity to the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) organization. Both non-profit organizations have been formed as a result of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law on April 5th. By creating a legal framework for "crowdfund investing," this historic act unleashes the potential for a much larger and expanded global crowdfunding community. The goal of the Crowdfunding Professional Association is to facilitate a vibrant, credible and growing global crowdfunding community while advocating for an industry view versus personal interests or a single company perspective. The complementary CFIRA organization is focused exclusively on channeling industry expertise to support the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other affected governmental and quasi-governmental entities, including state regulators, in the establishment of industry regulation, standards and best practices.
"Having worked over the past two years in developing the framework and foundational elements of the acts that passed both houses of Congress and ultimately the JOBS act signed by our president, I am thrilled to join with a broad coalition of crowd pioneers in the creation of a truly crowd-sourced professional association," said Sherwood Neiss, co-author of the CrowdFund Investing Framework in the JOBS Act, co-founder of Startup Exemption and a founding member of the leadership group behind both non-profit crowdfunding sister entities. "In addition to its formation, we are announcing the appointment of the association's first executive committee chair, and a governance structure and founding team. As challenging as it was to enact this law, we as industry participants recognize that the difficulties in developing the industry have only begun and that we must collaborate to ensure that crowdfunding is both preserved and developed to achieve its maximum potential in terms of credibility, transparency and best practices."
Berkeley Geddes, CEO of Grow America Insight and DooBizz.com, has been elected chair of the Crowdfunding Professional Association Executive Committee and Governance Board. The Crowdfunding Professional Association's Executive Committee will work closely with Mr. Geddes to build a lasting network and organization that will provide advocacy, foster integrity and champion the burgeoning global crowdfunding industry and vast ecosystem.
"America needs to get this right," said Mr. Geddes. "As a nation, we need to lead and restore our seed funding markets in support of good people with good ideas, chasing their dreams. As members of the crowd, we can build a powerful and credible crowdfunding coalition that fuels the creation of new ideas, new businesses and jobs. We look forward to supporting the evolution of this community and harnessing the experts, entrepreneurs, pioneering platforms and visionary investors across the globe."
The Crowdfunding Professional Association's core principles are designed to achieve the following objectives:
"We welcome the creation of this industry body, which we view as strategic to not only fostering new forms of crowdfunding investments, but also to preserving the unique innovations and progress achieved by the early adopters and founders of the industry," said Brian Meece, co-founder and CEO of RocketHub. "Having an organization that represents the industry is essential and we look forward to supporting the efforts of the Crowdfunding Professional Association and the development of this vital industry."
For a complete overview of membership, leadership and sponsorship opportunities visit http://crowdfundingprofessional.org/join/ . Basic membership is free for the first year.
"Crowdfunding's promise for igniting new, early-stage ventures is revolutionary," said Alan E. Hall, a founding sponsor of the Crowdfunding Professional Association and founder of Grow America SpringBoard and Mercato Partners. "We look forward to supporting this groundbreaking development through the Crowdfunding Professional Association. It is our desire to help drive and mold this new capital creation model from its very foundation to ensure that it develops efficiently and safely. Managed properly, crowdfunding can fuel the involvement of hundreds of thousands of additional entrepreneurs, and allow many more investors to participate in the creation of companies and jobs that our economy so desperately needs."
"We look forward to coordinating our efforts with the Crowdfunding Professional Association and are committed to complementing their mission with our laser focus on ensuring that a crowdfunding investment framework thrives in the U.S. so entrepreneurs can innovate and create new jobs," said Candace Klein, co-chair of CFIRA and founder and CEO of Bad Girl Ventures and SoMoLend. "During this critical 270-day rule-making period and beyond, we will serve as a voice of the industry with the appropriate regulators and provide continuing regulatory education to the industry. CFIRA and CfPA will closely collaborate to make this happen."
"Fostering the adoption of best practices for the operation of crowdfunding platforms globally is essential to the success of our industry," said Carl Esposti, founder of Crowdsourcing.org and leader of the CAPS Accreditation Program for crowdfunding platforms and a founding Crowdfunding Professional Association executive committee member. "The Crowdfunding Professional Association is a critical piece of the puzzle and central to establishing accessible Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards, which is why I've worked to support the creation of this association and am pleased to serve on the executive committee."
"Over the past year, we have hosted crowdfunding summits around the world to raise awareness, share best practices and to foster a coalition of crowdfunding industry participants," said David Drake, Co-Founder of The SoHo Loft Capital Creation Events and a founding member of the leadership group behind both non-profit crowdfunding sister entities. "We are delighted to be a part of the formation and launch of the Crowdfunding Professional Association and view its function as central to the success of our industry."
"As a founding supporter of the Crowdfunding Professional Association, our law firm is committed to not only establishing a thriving industry association, but also 100 percent behind this innovative new capital creation model," said Daniel DeWolf, Co-Chair of the Venture Capital and Emerging Companies practice group of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. "We look forward to helping build a strong foundation for the industry and its varied ecosystem of participants."
"The potential applications of crowdfunding are just beginning to break the surface," said Steve Cinelli, Chief Executive Officer of PRIMARQ and a founding Crowdfunding Professional Association executive committee member. "Real Estate equity share finance empowered by crowdfunding platforms is emblematic of the diversity of this industry. Whether crowdfund investing in companies, participating in real estate price movement or other alternative asset classes, the Crowdfunding Professional Association will play an important role in addressing capital formation in key segments of economies both at home and abroad."
- The Crowdfunding Professional Association is dedicated to facilitating a vibrant, credible and growing crowdfunding community while also advocating for an industry view versus a single company perspective. Uniting a broad-based coalition of industry participants, the association is committed to ensuring the credible development of the industry, including a commitment to the highest ethical standards. The association's collaborations and insights are shared broadly to avoid onerous, stifling bureaucracy that can endanger innovation, idea generation and job creation. For more information visit www.crowdfundingprofessional.org .
- Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, or CFIRA, was established following the signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. CFIRA is an organization formed by the crowdfunding industry's leading platforms and experts. The group will work with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other affected governmental and quasi-governmental entities to help establish industry standards and best practices. For more information, visit www.CFIRA.org.