The Equity of the Crowds

The JOBS Act, Which Rolls Back SEC Rules In Order to Help Startups Crowdfund, Passes in the House

JOBS Act supports via Angel List

Ready your startups, the early stage investing climate is about to go into overdrive. This afternoon, the JOBS Act (or Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) passed in the House with an overwhelming vote of 380-41. Next, the bill moves to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. The JOBS Act originally passed in the House a few weeks ago with a 390-23 vote a couple weeks ago. The Senate’s version of the bill, called the CROWDFUND Act (or Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and Unethical Non-Disclosure Act), added a number of safeguards for investors and passed last week 73-26. The JOBS Act was then revised to reconcile with the Senate’s bill, which is why the final version had to move back to the House for another vote.  Read More

The Equity of the Crowds

Crowdfund Act Passes In the Senate, But What Will It Mean for Startups?

Some familiar faces among AngelList's petition to pass the JOBS Act. (via angel.co/jobs-act/thank-you)

Update: On March 27th, the House passed a reconciled version of the JOBS Act, which includes the provisions from the Senate’s CROWDFUND Act, detailed below.

This afternoon, the Senate passed the Crowdfund Act by a resounding 73-26 vote. If you’ve been following the JOBS Act, which has won support from venture capitalists and founders alike (for evidence, just scroll down to this petition’s list of supporters), the Crowdfund Act is the Senate’s version of the JOBS bill, which now includes the requirement that startups looking to raise capital do so from SEC-approved websites.

The JOBS Act, short for  Jumpstart Our Business Startups, centered around rolling back some investor protections in the name of making it easier for small businesses to raise capital.

Although the JOBS bill passed in the House in a 390-23 vote a couple weeks ago, because legislators were successful in amending a number of “more stringent safeguards for investors,” the Crowdfunding Act will need to be reconciled with the JOBS Act and head back to the House, rather than to President Obama for approval, reports Politico. Read More

Secondary Markets

SEC’s Yearlong Secondary Markets Investigation Reportedly Yields Charges Against SharesPost and Felix Investments [UPDATED]

Frank Mazzola

It looks like the Securities and Exchange Commission’s yearlong investigation into trading private shares on the secondary market may finally be coming to a close.

Yesterday afternoon, Bloomberg first reported that the SEC is preparing to bring civil charges against Felix Investments, a Wall Street broker-dealer perhaps best-known for its twin funds Facie Libre 1 and Facie Libre II–meaning face book in Latin. “The firm is expected to be accused of violating securities laws related to soliciting investors,” DealBook wrote in a follow-up, adding that Felix “aggressively accumulated” and actively promoted shares of companies like Facebook and Twitter, going as far as to cold-call Facebook employees to try to get them to sell.

The SEC is also reportedly “nearing a settlement” with SharesPost, an online platform for selling private shares.  “Regulators had expressed concern that SharesPost was not registered as a broker-dealer when it began facilitating trades in private company shares in 2009,” noted DealBook.  SecondMarket, a SharesPost competitor which registered as a broker-dealer early in its history, however, “is not the subject of an SEC inquiry,” spokesman Mark Murphy told Betabeat. Read More

The Tubes

NYSE, Looking to Profit on Its Data Center, Enters Colocation Business

NYSE server room in NJ

The stock exchanges in New York rely on some massive data centers and high quality fiber to send and receive trades from all over the world at top speed. But as the demand for high quality hosting explodes in New York, the NYSE is hoping to book some additional revenue by opening up its Mahwah, New Jersey data center to clients outside the broker dealers they were already working with, booking a little extra revenue on the side.  Read More

Modern Justice

As SEC Turns to Computers to Detect Fraud, Wall Street Cries Foul

"Shit, she took a screenshot."

One of the reason that Bernie Madoff was able to stay undetected for so long was that he could alternately charm and intimidate the young SEC staffers sent to investigate his firm. In the wake of that scandal, reports The Wall Street Journal, the SEC has developed a computer system that analyzes performance from thousands of hedge funds and looks for  unusually good performance year-over-year that, like Mr. Madoff, seems too good to be true.  Read More

Blog Lords

Mike Arrington Introduces Us to the “First F*cking Amendment”

Mr. Arrington flashes his "first amendment" gang sign.

Betabeat published a story yesterday about the ways in which tech investors who write about private companies on public blogs might run afoul of SEC regulations. It focused, naturally, on Mike Arrington, who saw the post around 2 a.m. this morning and responded with this tweet:

“Screw that. Let me introduce you to the first fucking amendment to our constitution.”

Mr. Arrington failed to provide any links to the first amendment, but luckily, Betabeat had spent yesterday afternoon conversing with Prof. John Coffee of Columbia University, one of the foremost experts on securities law in the nation. Read More