Crowdfunding works. Whether vying for a portion of the billions that have been raised via rewards-based platforms like Kickstarter or seeking an investment from the crowd through which fans become shareholders, more and more companies are turning to the crowd to attract the funding they need to thrive.
Elio Motors was the first startup to become a publicly traded company using the updated Regulation A+ crowdfunding rules which resulted from new securities laws within the JOBS Act (Regulation A+ is known as a “mini-IPO” and paves the way for private companies to raise up to $50 million from the public).
The company is a manufacturer launching a low-cost, high mileage, three-wheeled vehicle that will appeal to drivers looking for affordable transportation. Using this new RegA+ capital path, Elio Motors successfully raised nearly $17 million by turning customers and fans into stakeholders. They traveled across the country sharing their prototype and story while gathering over 50,000 advance reservations for the vehicle, and this exposure provided a great opportunity to convert that public interest into financial backing.
What makes Regulation A+ so exciting is it finally opens up the opportunity for everyday individuals (unaccredited investors) to invest in emerging growth companies while also funneling needed capital to entrepreneurs. Over the past 30 years, early-stage venture capital has returned 21.29 percent, significantly outperforming stocks and bonds so adding shares from an emerging, young company to an investment portfolio can be a compelling prospect.
Unlike Regulation Crowdfunding -- which goes live on May 16 -- but which does not have an easy path for investors to cash in their shares, Regulation A+ allows shares to be publicly traded over the OTC markets -- therefore providing important liquidity to shareholders.
"This is a proud day for Elio Motors and an important step forward in our development and mission to bring low-cost, highly fuel-efficient transportation to the market," said Paul Elio, founder and CEO of Elio Motors. "Funding is often a significant roadblock for bringing big ideas to the market. Regulation A+ allows entrepreneurs a quicker and more-efficient method for raising capital. Now, with those shares trading on the OTCQX, investors have the opportunity to buy into the Elio Motors mission and vision to positively impact the world."
What is remarkable is the short time frame in which this success story happened – less than eight months. Elio Motors was one of the first companies to take advantage of Regulation A+ when the law went live on June 19, 2015. At that time, they began “testing the waters” which allows companies to take the pulse of interest from investors without having to actually pay the costs of regulatory filings.
After several months of taking reservations from interested shareholders, they got their approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to move forward with the actual selling of shares and closed out their offering on Feb. 16. Now they are moving forward with production of their vehicle expected by the end of this year.
It’s only fitting that the man behind Elio Motors, who has such a revolutionary approach to transportation, would use an equally revolutionary approach to his capital raise as well.