What risks should I be aware of in a crowdfunding offering?


#1

https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/news-alerts/alerts-bulletins/investor-bulletin-crowdfunding-investors

The following are some risks to consider before making a crowdfunding investment:

  • Speculative. Investments in startups and early-stage ventures are speculative and these enterprises often fail. Unlike an investment in a mature business where there is a track record of revenue and income, the success of a startup or early-stage venture often relies on the development of a new product or service that may or may not find a market. You should be able to afford and be prepared to lose your entire investment.
  • Illiquidity. You will be limited in your ability to resell your investment for the first year and may need to hold your investment for an indefinite period of time. Unlike investing in companies listed on a stock exchange where you can quickly and easily trade securities on a market, you may have to locate an interested buyer when you do seek to resell your crowdfunded investment.
  • Cancellation restrictions. Once you make an investment commitment for a crowdfunding offering, you will be committed to make that investment (unless you cancel your commitment within a specified period of time).
  • Changing your mind. You have up to 48 hours prior to the end of the offer period to change your mind and cancel your investment commitment for any reason. Once the offering period is within 48 hours of ending, you will not be able to cancel for any reason even if you make your commitment during this period. However, if the company makes a material change to the offering terms or other information disclosed to you, you will be given five business days to reconfirm your investment commitment.
  • The Company may not pay dividends for the foreseeable future. Unless otherwise specified in the offering documents and subject to state law, you are not entitled to receive any dividends on your interest in the Company. Accordingly, any potential investor who anticipates the need for current dividends or income from an investment should not purchase any of the securities offered on the Site.
  • Valuation and capitalization. Your crowdfunding investment may purchase an equity stake in a startup. Unlike listed companies that are valued publicly through market-driven stock prices, the valuation of private companies, especially startups, is difficult and you may risk overpaying for the equity stake you receive. In addition, there may be additional classes of equity with rights that are superior to the class of equity being sold through crowdfunding.
  • Limited disclosure. The company must disclose information about the company, its business plan, the offering, and its anticipated use of proceeds, among other things. An early-stage company may be able to provide only limited information about its business plan and operations because it does not have fully developed operations or a long history to provide more disclosure. The company is also only obligated to file information annually regarding its business, including financial statements. A publicly listed company, in contrast, is required to file annual and quarterly reports and promptly disclose certain events—continuing disclosure that you can use to evaluate the status of your investment. In contrast, you may have only limited continuing disclosure about your crowdfunding investment.
  • Investment in personnel. An early-stage investment is also an investment in the entrepreneur or management of the company. Being able to execute on the business plan is often an important factor in whether the business is viable and successful. You should also be aware that a portion of your investment may fund the compensation of the company’s employees, including its management. You should carefully review any disclosure regarding the company’s use of proceeds.
  • Possibility of fraud. In light of the relative ease with which early-stage companies can raise funds through crowdfunding, it may be the case that certain opportunities turn out to be money-losing fraudulent schemes. As with other investments, there is no guarantee that crowdfunding investments will be immune from fraud.
  • Lack of professional guidance. Many successful companies partially attribute their early success to the guidance of professional early-stage investors (e.g., angel investors and venture capital firms). These investors often negotiate for seats on the company’s board of directors and play an important role through their resources, contacts and experience in assisting early-stage companies in executing on their business plans. An early-stage company primarily financed through crowdfunding may not have the benefit of such professional investors.
  • Ongoing Reporting Risk. Issuers of Regulation Crowdfunding offerings are required to meet certain ongoing reporting requirements, however, investors should be aware that there is a possibility that those obligations may terminate in the future. An issuer that sold securities in a Regulation Crowdfunding offering is required to provide an annual report on Form C-AR no later than 120 days after the end of its fiscal year. The report must be filed on EDGAR and posted on the issuer’s website. The annual report requires information similar to what is required in the offering statement, although neither an audit nor a review of the financial statements is required. Issuers must comply with the annual reporting requirement until one of the following occurs: (1) the issuer is required to file reports under Exchange Act Sections 13(a) or 15(d); (2) the issuer has filed at least one annual report and has fewer than 300 holders of record; (3) the issuer has filed at least three annual reports and has total assets that do not exceed $10 million; (4) the issuer or another party purchases or repurchases all of the securities issued pursuant to Regulation Crowdfunding, including any payment in full of debt securities or any complete redemption of redeemable securities; or (5) the issuer liquidates or dissolves in accordance with state law. Any issuer terminating its annual reporting obligations is required to file notice on Form C-TR reporting that it will no longer provide annual reports pursuant to the requirements of Regulation Crowdfunding.
  • Ongoing Relationship Risk. Issuers completing an offering conducted through Umergence may or may not maintain an ongoing relationship with the platform following the completion of an offering.
  • Suitability Risk. Investors should consider carefully whether investing in a security offered and sold in reliance on Regulation CF, Regulation A+, or Regulation D is appropriate for them, given the risks outlined on this page.