Last Monday, the 80-year ban on the use of general solicitation in certain exempt securities offerings was relaxed. General solicitation can now be used in private offerings conducted under Rule 506(c) of Regulation D and Rule 144A under the Securities Act. While the dust has yet to settle, we have already seen several examples of how such solicitation can be conducted.

  • Email. It’s hardly a surprise that today’s most ubiquitous form of communication is being used to advertise investment opportunities to the general public. Thus far, such emails are primarily being sent to individuals with a pre-existing relationship with the sender. For example, Betaworks, a product development company, has solicited investments from its community of thousands of beta testers. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, an early investor in Facebook and Twitter, has asked the 1.4 million monthly readers of his blog to invest alongside him in his next endeavor.
  • Online Pitches. Pitches traditionally conducted behind closed doors can now be streamed online for the world to see. Flashstarts, a Cleveland-based startup accelerator, scheduled its “demo day” for last Monday so that its companies could pitch the world through a live broadcast.
  • Online Matchmaking Sites. Online matchmaking sites have been connecting companies and accredited investors for several years. However, such sites have been operating as closed communities, with investment opportunities accessible only to accredited investors registered with the site. However, as of last Monday, companies can now make investment opportunities publicly available.  There are now over 1,000 investment opportunities publicly listed on AngelList.   

After an 80-year ban on general solicitation, it will obviously take longer than a week for market norms to develop, and we’ll continue to monitor the evolving landscape.