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In this post we discuss a bill in Congress (HALOS Act) that would make it easier for startups to raise funds at pitch events.

Presentations made at startup demo days on college campuses and at accelerator pitch events routinely mention the details of a company’s effort to raise capital through the private sale of securities. This practice, however, raises concerns over whether these presentations amount to a ‘general solicitation’ for a company’s securities under Regulation D of the Securities Act. The definition of a general solicitation could include any advertisement, article, or other communication, including any meeting where the attendees were invited by a general advertisement that present the opportunity to participate in a company’s securities offering. If an early stage company makes a general solicitation, then it may be precluded from using certain valuable exemptions from registering their security offering with the SEC.

Companies…

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Space Needle Halo

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Today's post discusses the concept of securities offering "integration" or "integrated transactions" in securities law and startup law.

When companies raise money from investors, the transaction will be governed by securities laws. These securities laws have complex requirements that often “trip up” companies unfamiliar with the rules and their application. In today’s post, we tackle one of those areas of securities and startup law where companies often trip up: integration.

What is “Integration” in the context of a securities offering?

To better understand integration, you’ll need to first understand what a “securities offering” is. In very simple terms, a securities offering is a transaction where a company is offering to sell a security in exchange for (in most cases) cash. You can check out a discussion of the more precise definition of a security in our prior post.

Integration is a term in…

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Securities regulations

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Today, we are continuing our series on Employee Equity Explained by discussing stock options.

Today, we are continuing our series on Employee Equity Explained by discussing stock options specifically.

Stock options are contracts that allow an employee to buy shares (this is called “exercising” the option) at a fixed price. Options are different than receiving stock because an option is exactly as it sounds; it’s an option to buy stock upon certain conditions being met, such as vesting (discussed below).

There are two standard types of stock options: Incentive Stock Options (“ISOs”) and Nonstatutory Stock Options (“NSOs”).

ISOs provide the recipient with certain tax benefits but they can only be provided to employees of the company, not independent contractors or non-employee board members. Additionally, only $100,000 in ISOs can be exercisable in any given year. NSOs on…

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Stock Options

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Today’s post dives specifically into the definition of “accredited investor” as defined in Rule 501 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933

The definition of accredited investor is a topic we’ve touched on briefly in several posts throughout the years, but today’s post dives specifically into the definition of “accredited investor” as defined in Rule 501 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933. We’ll also point out why it’s important for you to understand who is considered an accredited investor.

Definition under Rule 501

The SEC states that the definition of accredited investor is “intended to encompass those persons whose financial sophistication and ability to sustain the risk of loss of investment or ability to fend for themselves render the protections of the Securities Act’s registration process unnecessary.” The definition of accredited investor under Rule 501 includes several types of individuals and…

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Accredited Investors

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Issuing employee equity in a startup, or any business, is a great way to compensate and incentivize employees.

Issuing equity to employees in a startup, or any business, is a great way to compensate and incentivize employees. However, employers and employees are often confused about the various types of equity compensation available and the pros and cons of each type of employee equity. In this series of blog posts on employee equity, we will continue our discussion of employee equity compensation plans by detailing the various types of equity that employers can grant and lay out the reasons for choosing one over the other.

When someone receives “equity” in a company, this means that they are receiving stock or future rights to stock in the company. By owning stock in a company, that person will then become a shareholder,…

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Employee Equity

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This post discusses Section 4(a)(7) of the Securities Act of 1933 and its impact in potentially making the resale of private stock easier.

Congress recently passed a new securities law exemption (Section 4(a)(7) of the Securities Act of 1933) that eases the limitations and restrictions surrounding the resale of private stock.  Prior to the new law, there were several regulatory hurdles that made the resale of private stock in a company difficult. As we’ve highlighted in prior posts, securities regulations require any sale of stock to be registered with the SEC (a time-consuming, expensive process), unless the sale is “exempt”—which means that the sale falls within one of the exemptions provided for in the securities regulations. (Check out one of our prior posts on securities exemptions and Rule 144 for more background on the regulations specifically surrounding selling stock in private companies as they applied…

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New Law Reduces Hurdles to Resale of Private Stock

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A cap table (or capitalization table) is a spreadsheet listing all of your company’s securities (stock, options, etc.) and who owns those securities.

A cap table (or capitalization table) is a spreadsheet listing all of your company’s securities (stock, options, etc.) and who owns those securities. Cap tables provide a basic look into the “total pie” and each shareholder and option holder’s piece of that pie (basically who owns what). More detailed cap tables will include formulas that allow the company to model future transactions. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all way to structure your cap table. Some provide only a general summary of the breakdown of ownership in a company, while others include extensive details about the individual holder, the type of securities held, issue dates, ownership percentages on a fully diluted basis, and other granular details.

When’s the Right Time to Build a Cap Table?

It’s relatively…

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Cap Table Pie

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This post discusses five key securities-related issues for merger and acquisition transactions.

In business acquisitions, and especially in business acquisitions structured as stock purchases, there are a number of securities issues you’ll want to be on the lookout for. For the purposes of this post, you can think of a security as the stock or other equity interest in a company like an option or warrant. (You can check out this post for a more detailed discussion of what a security is.) Below I’ve listed 5 key securities-related due diligence issues for you to consider when purchasing a business.

We’ll start with the two key issues that are important for acquisitions of both stock and assets; we’ll finish with three key issues that primarily affect stock acquisitions:

Issues for acquisitions of either stock or assets

Two issues are of…

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M&A Securities Issues

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We continue our hedge fund series by discussing the definition of "accredited investors," and why it is important to your hedge fund.

We are continuing our series on understanding hedge funds; we will be discussing the definition of “accredited investors” and why it is important to your hedge fund.

As a brief primer, you should know that all hedge funds considering a securities offering must comply with federal and state securities laws. The Securities Act of 1933 and 1934 (“Acts”) were put in place to protect investors after the market crashed in 1929, and prior to this point in time, securities were chiefly governed by state law (which still applies in may situations). The two main objectives of the Acts were: 1) to require that investors receive significant (or “material”) information concerning securities being offered for public sale; and 2) to prohibit deceit, misrepresentations, and other fraud in…

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Accredited Investor

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In this blog post we take a look at pending legislation that would create a new statutory securities exemption for the resale of private stock.

The US House of Representatives approved a bill, which if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, could make it easier for people to resell private stock. If you’re lucky enough to be an investor in Airbnb, Uber, or some other startup that took off but hasn’t yet gone through an IPO, how do you turn your private stock into cash? It can be tougher than you might think. As a general rule, every offer and sale of a security must be registered or exempt from state and federal securities registration requirements. This includes the resale of private securities, meaning if you have shares of Airbnb or Uber, you have to make sure you’re not violating state or…

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