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NLCFA Board Members Jump Ship to CfPA
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NLCFA Board Members Jump Ship to CfPA

Maurice Lopes, the president and CEO of equity-based crowdfunding platform EarlyShares, left the National Crowdfunding Association (NLCFA) in favor of the Crowdfunding Professionals Association (CfPA), he confirmed to earlier today. EarlyShares co-founder Renee Caputi, Crowdnetic founder and CEO Luan Cox, and CrowdCheck CEO Sara Hanks also left the organization, according to Lopes.

Previously members of NLCFA’s interim board of directors, Lopes, Caputi, and Cox will now work with the CfPA to further industry goals and help facilitate the crowdfunding community’s growth.

“[We] decided that our efforts would be better spent assisting the CfPA’s agenda,” said Lopes. “We tried very hard to unify both associations and establish a single voice, but it was clear that wasn’t going to happen easily, so we decided to resign from the [NLCFA] board.

“Our priorities are education of the people and getting the crowdfunding message out to the general public, and it just seems like the NLCFA was so much driven towards membership, and less towards actual things that needed to be done for the industry,” Lopes continued. “In my opinion, the CfPA is so much more engaged in the politics of [the SEC and FINRA rulemaking processes] than the NLCFA ever was.”

The sudden departure of nearly half on the NLCFA board is a major blow to the organization, particularly because there are no longer any crowdfunding portal representatives on the board. Though securities attorneys, accountants, and venture capitalists are helpful as the regulatory bodies continue to deliberate and fine-tune the JOBS Act rules, the crowdfunding platforms themselves are the core of the crowdfunding ecosystem. After all, the framework means nothing without registered intermediaries in place to facilitate the crowdfunding process.

NLCFA founder and executive director David Marlett doesn’t view the situation as calamitous, however, framing it as the natural turnover of a young association.

“Organizations go through changes — we’ve had other board members come and go,” Marlett told “We’re just four months old, so we’re simply moving into another phase. Other board members will be joining quickly.”

According to Marlett, the NLCFA currently has about 500 members — crowdfunding portals, attorneys, accountants, educators, and the like — but an inside source confirmed that only 50 or so have paid their dues. Regardless, the NLCFA aspires to reach “several thousand” members by the end of the year. If some of those individuals or firms are also CfPA members, noted Marlett, that’s not a problem.

“I regularly encourage people to become members of both [the NLCFA and the CfPA],” said Marlett. “It’s a huge marketplace and I’d love it if we can continue to work together.”

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  • David Marlett David Marlett Jul 17, 2012 02:12 pm GMT

    This is unprofessional bias by, and Carl Esposti should know better that to allow it. It is a shame that young Mr. Blattberg can't distinguish facts from the opinions of a disgruntled and defrocked ex-board member. If people in the industry are truly interested in facts, they will have to look elsewhere to find them. That is unfortunate, as we had hoped was going to be a neutral information source for the industry. Publishing pieces like this that effectively disparages hundreds of people in the industry certainly doesn't bode well for the CAPS accreditation 'neutrality' either. We have asked that it either be removed or altered to reflect just the facts, but so far have not received any response from Carl. Meanwhile the NLCFA will continue its positive, open, energetic work.

  • Carl Esposti Carl Esposti Jul 17, 2012 08:15 pm GMT

    David, we appreciate you taking time to forward your views and are pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate our neutrality.

    I stand behind the information in this piece. The "young" Eric is an experienced journalist and his reporting is highly regarded. It seems that the basic facts are that there was a "vote" by a significant number of NLCFA Board members that disagreed with the strategy and the action that was taken was material. If you see the facts differently we would be happy to publish them.

    Regarding CAPS, portal members of NLCFA as well as CfPA have been certified and the CAPS Council, who govern the accreditation standards, is made-up of representatives from across industry, trade associations and jurisdictions (including International.) CAPS continues to grow as a program, both in terms of its adoption and support.

  • David Marlett David Marlett Jul 18, 2012 10:49 pm GMT

    My friend Carl,

    I look forward to this industry someday having a truly neutral source of non-opinionated, journalistically-sourced, information. But hat won't come from the NLCFA, nor can it come from you (CFPA/, as neither of our organizations are 'journalists', and each of us has our inherent bias to support our organizations and the members thereof. It shows in our writing... both yours, your staff's, and in mine. The difference is that you presume to opine about us, whereas we don't presume to opine about you (except here in response to your blogger.)

    We wish our ex-board members well. Yes they disagreed with the strategy chosen by the other board members and our non-board leaders. Not a material deal. (And this 'difference of strategy' is far different than what Eric 'reported'.) They are all still members of the NLCFA (contrary to Eric's 'reporting') and one, Sara Hanks, is still helping our Regulatory Committee. Meanwhile the NLCFA is honored to have a very deep bench of crowdfunding professionals serving, and wanting to serve, our members and the industry as a whole. We will follow our bylaws in selecting some of them to our board to replace those who left, plus several more as our board grows. Exciting, busy times. Tons of good work to be done.

    My best wishes to you. See you on the conference circuit.


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