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iVLG News Roundup Week 48: Crowdfunding Platforms Raise Capital; Insider Trading Scandal; Proposed Arena Images; Costco Criticized

Crowdfunding News

WeFunder Becomes the Latest Crowdfunding Platform to “Get Funded”

recent article on The Crowd Cafe, a crowdfunding-centric blog published by Jonathan Sandlund, lists the crowdfunding platforms that have raised capital. WeFunder, the latest platform to close its seed round, raised $550,000 from 58 different investors. According to WeFunder’s email blast, the investments ranged from $100 to $100,000, and half of the investors were un-accredited.

What does this mean? It signals that people are excited for the changes that are on the horizon for the funding landscape. Look at FundersClub, they’ve raised more than $6.5 million between their pre-seed and seed round. That’s serious money!

Securities Regulation

Ex-Rochdale Securities Trader Arrested for $1 Billion Trade in Apple

According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday by the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, the former trader at Rochdale Securities, David Miller, set out to defraud Rochdale when he traded Apple shares on Oct. 25, the day Apple reported its third-quarter earnings.

Miller said he was buying roughly 1.6 million Apple shares for an unnamed client; however, the unnamed client was only looking to buy roughly 1,600 shares, which left Rochdale liable for the rest. Miller was betting that Apple’s shares would rise on the news, but the stock fell after Apple announced its earnings report, leading to nearly $5 million in losses for Rochdale.

Local News

First Images of the Proposed Seattle Arena Released

Chris Hansen’s push to bring the NBA back to Seattle became more than just an idea when the first images of his proposed arena were released. The modern looking arena would provide a “gateway” between the three stadiums, according to the Kansas City firm, 360 Architecture. The proposed arena would straddle Occidental Avenue South between South Holgate and Massachusetts streets.

Hansen would like to create an entertainment district that surrounds the stadium district, including shops, restaurants, and bars. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is less than happy about the proposed arena and has filed lawsuit against the city and county, trying to invalidate the arena agreement.

Costco Criticized by Wall Street Journal for Excessive Dividends

The widely-read editorial published by the Wall Street Journal Friday, had harsh criticism for Costco’s director, Jim Sinegal, and his special $7-per-share dividend that was announced last week. The main criticism is that the dividend was announced just weeks ahead of a hefty tax increase that may increase the tax rate on dividends from 15 to 43.4 percent. The editorial points out that Sinegal will personally pocket an extra $4 million by taking the dividend before the rates on dividends increase.

Furthermore, the decision by Costco’s board is in question as the $3 billion dividend will be paid with borrowed funds rather than earnings.

Business Financing

Powerit Solutions Raises $5.5 Million in Series C Round

Powerit Solutions makes energy demand management automation software for industrial businesses, and today it is $5.5 million richer as it closed its Series C round of investment, which included $3 million raised in April and $2.5 million it raised in late November.

The Seattle-based clean-tech company said that Black Coral Capital led the round, noting that the money will be used for “ongoing work with strategic partners…fund the completion of a cloud platform launching in 2013…and allow Powerit to expand its reach in the European market.”