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Which state leads crowdfunding efforts? Texas, duh

Texas crowdfunding efforts have generated $1.8 million in investments over the course of about a year and a half.

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Leading the pack

Back in February of this year, John Morgan, the Texas State Securities Board Commissioner, predicted that Texas would become a national leader in US crowd-funding investment. New crowd-funding regulations, explained Morgan, would allow Texas-based companies to generate up to $1 million per year.

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We’re also warned to be “careful what we wish for”, but in this case it’s a good thing: Fast-forward to May 2016 and a recent article in the online journal Austininno seems to bear out that “Texas crowd funding efforts have generated $1.8 million in investments over the course of about a year and a half, and all that activity makes the state a national leader for this new type of funding businesses and projects.”

Commented Morgan, “We believe equity crowd-funding will catalyze new and wider prosperity, entrepreneurship and job growth in Texas.”

Do the math: With a population of more than 26 million, Texas is a massive market for companies wishing to raise capital through crowd-funding, [which serves] as a great gateway for all Texans to participate in funding growth in their communities and the state at large.

Playing by the rules

The key to Texas’ success is that intrastate crowd-funding allows non-accredited investors to invest up to $5,000 a year into one or more businesses and potentially get equity-based returns or interest from their investments. Businesses can generate up to $1 million from the crowd.

So far, 35 such offerings have been made in Texas, including six from Austin. In Austin, those include a group living development for tech workers, a kava bar, three tech startups working with Diversity Fund, and a restaurant.

Slow but sure

Despite all the activity, questions remain about how successful the efforts will be for both the businesses and their investors: Only 14 of the 35 fundraising efforts have reached their minimum investment marks. Only about 16 percent (roughly $1.8 million) of the $10.8 million that Texas businesses hope to collectively raise has been secured.

The website Altfi explains that Equity crowdfunding legislation in the US has been slow to develop. The industry as a whole is waiting for Title III of the JOBS Act, which will open up the industry to non-accredited investors.

When this act is passed it should release a huge amount of capital to small and medium sized businesses and provide a boost to the US economy.

A successful model

The most financially successful crowd-funding effort in Texas, so far, is the Chapman & Kirby gastrolounge that is planned as an event space and restaurant in downtown Houston. It has raised $440,800 from 134 investors. It seems to be a growth model that has worked: The offering is open to accredited investors, too, which means it may have generated investments of more than $5,000 from wealthier individuals.

#YeehawFunding

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. L.W. Dusty Brogdon

    May 31, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    See details here
    https://www.texasintrastatecrowdfunding.com/Texas-Results.html

    The truth is Texas Intrastate System is FAR behind where it should (Could) be!
    Of the 10 registered Texas Crowdfunding Portals (TCPs) with approved applications with our Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) , one has failed to fund ANY of the portals 7 Offers (Trucrowd(
    … One, Crudefunders has $1,050,000.00 of the $1.8 M total.
    Note;
    Equityeats has no offers and has never … CROWDBOARDERS has one offer and is in violation of The Texas Escrow Agent Rule …
    EquityBrick is new , Texas Crowdfunding has Zero offers and Zero funded.
    Business Funding is a No Show …

    DIYVERSIFY, LLC, New not active currently.

    BUSINESS FUNDING LLC
    2100 WYCHWOOD DRIVE
    AUSTIN TX 78746

    CROWDBOARDERS LLC
    4100 MIDWAY ROAD SUITE 2120
    CARROLLTON TX 75007

    CRUDEFUNDERS PORTAL TEXAS, LLC
    4550 POST OAK PLACE DRIVE SUITE 119
    HOUSTON TX 77027

    DIVERSITY FUND, LLC
    1108 LAVACA STREET # 110-309
    AUSTIN TX 78701

    DIYVERSIFY, LLC
    1127 ELDRIDGE PARKWAY SUITE 300 – 339
    HOUSTON TX 77077

    EQUITY BRICK LLC
    7703 NORTH LAMAR BLVD SUITE 510G
    AUSTIN TX 78752

    HIVE EQUITY INC. dba MASSVENTURE
    110 E. HOUSTON STREET 7TH FLOOR
    SAN ANTONIO TX 78205

    NEXTSEED TX LLC
    4101 GREENBRIAR DRIVE SUITE 122K
    HOUSTON TX 77098

    TEXAS CROWDFUNDING LLC
    20214 LAKE SHERWOOD DRIVE
    KATY TX 77450

    TRUCROWD TEXAS, INC
    10333 HARWIN DRIVE SUITE 460G
    HOUSTON TX 77036

  2. Pingback: Austin vs. Silicon Valley: Why is only one of the two terrified of the tech downturn? - The American Genius

  3. Pingback: Crowdfunding's first report card - good enough for the fridge? - The American Genius

  4. Pingback: Are Intrastate Crowdfunding Laws Still Relevant?

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Business News

Hobby Lobby increases minimum wage, but how much is just to save face?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Are their efforts to raise their minimum wage to $17/hour sincere, or more about saving face after bungling pandemic concerns?

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Hobby Lobby storefront

The arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby announced this week that they will be raising their minimum full-time wage to $17/hour starting October 1st. This decision makes them the latest big retailer to raise wages during the pandemic (Target raised their minimum wage to $15/hour about three months ago, and Walmart and Amazon have temporarily raised wages). The current minimum wage for Hobby Lobby employees is $15/hour, which was implemented in 2014.

While a $17 minimum wage is a big statement for the company (even a $15 minimum wage cannot be agreed upon on the federal level) – and it is no doubt a coveted wage for the majority of the working class – it’s difficult to not see this move as an attempt to regain public support of the company.

When the pandemic first began, Hobby Lobby – with more than 900 stores and 43,000 employees nationwide – refused to close their stores despite being deemed a nonessential business (subsequently, a Dallas judge accused the company of endangering public health).

In April, Hobby Lobby furloughed almost all store employees and the majority of corporate and distribution employees without notice. They also ended emergency leave pay and suspended the use of company-provided paid time off benefits for employees during the furloughs – a decision that was widely criticized by the public, although the company claims the reason for this was so that employees would be able to take full advantage of government handouts during their furlough.

However, the furloughs are not Hobby Lobby’s first moment under fire. The Oklahoma-based Christian company won a 2014 Supreme Court case – the same year they initially raised their minimum wage – that granted them the right to deny their female employees insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Also, Hobby Lobby settled a federal complaint in 2017 that accused them of purchasing upwards of 5,000 looted ancient Iraqi artifacts, smuggled through the United Arab Emirates and Israel – which is simultaneously strange, exploitative, and highly controversial.

Why does this all matter? While raising their minimum wage to $17 should be regarded as a step in the right direction regarding the overall treatment of employees (and, hopefully, $17 becomes the new standard), Hobby Lobby is not without reason to seek favorable public opinion, especially during a pandemic. Yes, we should be quick to condone the action of increasing minimum wage, but perhaps be a little skeptical when deeming a company “good” or “bad”.

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RIP office culture: How work from home is destroying the economy

(BUSINESS NEWS) It’s not just your empty office left behind: Work from home is drastically changing cities’ economies in more ways than you think.

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An empty meeting room, unfilled by work from home employees.

It’s been almost six months since the U.S. went into lockdown due to COVID-19 and the CDC’s subsequent safety guidelines were issued – it’s safe to say that it is not business as usual. Everyone from restaurant waitstaff to start-up executives have been affected by the shift to work-from-home. Even as restrictions slowly begin to lift, it seems as though the office workspace – regarded as the vital venue for the U.S. economy – will never truly be the same.

Though economists have been focusing largely on small businesses and start-ups, we are only just beginning to understand the impact that not going back into the white-collar office will have on the economy.

The industries that support white-collar office culture in major cities have become increasingly emaciated. The coffee shops, food trucks, and food delivery companies that catered to the white-collar workforce before, during, and after their workday, are no longer in high demand (Starbucks reported a loss of $2 billion this year, which they attribute to Zoomification). Airlines have also been affected as business travel typically accounts for 60%-70% of all air travel.

Also included are high-end hotels, which accommodate the traveling business class. Pharmacies, florists, and gyms located in business districts have become ghost towns. Office supplies companies, such as Xerox, have suffered. Workwear brands such as J. Crew and Brooks Brothers have filed for bankruptcy, as there is no longer a need to dress for the office.

In Manhattan – arguably the country’s most notorious white-collar business mecca – at least 1,200 restaurants have been permanently lost. It is also is predicted that the one-third of all small businesses will close.

Additionally, the borough is facing twice as many apartment vacancies as this time last year, due to the flight of workers no longer tied to midtown offices. Workers have realized their freedom to seek more affordable and spacious residence outside the city. As companies decentralize from cities and rent prices drop, it isn’t all bad news. There is promise that particular urban white-collar neighborhoods will start to become accessible to the working class once again.

Some companies, like Pinterest and REI, are reporting that their shift to work from home is in fact permanent. The long-term effects of deserted office buildings are yet to make themselves evident. What we do know is that the decline of the white-collar office will force us to reimagine the great American cities – with so much lost due to the coronavirus, what can now be gained?

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Business News

2020 Black Friday shopping may break the mold

(BUSINESS NEWS) Home Depot states their new plan for deals and discounts over two months, in place of a 1-day Black Friday event.

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Men shopping in an empty aisle, Black Friday to come?

Humans change and adapt – that’s just in our nature. Retail stores have struggled to maintain their sales goals for years as more and more people move to ordering online. Online prices still seem to be within customer expectations and often come with free shipping. Additionally, people that may have preferred to shop in an actual brick-and-mortar store have changed their shopping habits dramatically in 2020; it’s hard to social distance and be safe in crowded stores or in small aisles. Black Friday may be next to change.

Amazon and other big box store’s online ordering platforms have simplified getting what you need delivered right to your front door. According to Statista, “Amazon was responsible for 45% of US e-commerce spending in 2019 – a figure which is expected to rise to 47% in 2020.”

Retailers count on the holiday season, specifically Black Friday deals (the day after Thanksgiving), to bring in up to 20% of their annual revenue. It’s hard to just remove that option completely. But considering the times of social distancing, wearing masks in public, and especially avoiding large crowds, the tradition of Black Friday will need to look different this year.

It will also be interesting to see what supply chain disruptions from early 2020 will have the most effect this shopping season. We saw predictions in March that said the United States would see the biggest disruptions in about six months. Black Friday falls right on that timeline.

Home Depot has announced their plans to go ahead and give the deals over a two month span, starting in early November through December (both online and in stores with the possibility of adding some special deals around the actual Black Friday date) to help encourage a more steady stream of shoppers versus so many packing in on the same day.

The home improvement chain has actually seen a great sales year. This is likely due to people working from home and being interested in doing more home projects (and possibly having a bit more time to do them as well). As of May 2020, “The Home Depot®, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, today reported sales of $28.3 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2020, a 7.1 percent increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Comparable sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 were positive 6.4 percent, and comparable sales in the U.S. were positive 7.5 percent.”

Home Depot, along with many other retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have confirmed that they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, which may not be new for all of them but has always signaled the kickoff of the holiday shopping season.

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