As Regulation Crowdfunding offerings continue to grow in popularity, more and more investors are looking to get involved. RegCF gives investors the ability to invest smaller amounts of money into early-stage companies as non-accredited investors. This is why investors put $1.1 billion into RegCF offerings in 2021 and this is predicted to double in 2022. But what exactly is Regulation Crowdfunding? And how much can you invest in a RegCF offering?
Why Invest in RegCF?
Reg CF allows you to invest in some of the newest and most innovative companies. This is because early-stage startups often have a difficult time accessing traditional forms of funding, such as venture capital. Other offerings have fairly large minimum investment amounts, which non-accredited investors might have trouble affording (since this prime directive of investing is never to invest more than you can afford to lose). This traditional approach to capital raising meant that only wealthy investors could afford to participate.
Since RegCF is specifically set up around the crowdfunding paradigm, the minimum investment amount is more affordable to more people. This is why in 2021 over 540,000 investors put their money into over 1,500 Reg CF offerings, double the number of offerings in 2019 and 2020 combined. This showcases the clear and continued interest in this type of investment from the public.
Investing in a RegCF Raise
Regulation Crowdfunding is a process through which companies can offer and sell securities to the general public. This process was created by the JOBS Act, and it allows companies to raise up to $5 million per year from non-accredited investors. So what does this mean for investors? Well, basically, it means that you have the opportunity to invest in some of the newest and most exciting startups, even if you’re not an accredited investor. And while you can’t sell your shares for the first year, there are several other benefits of investing in a RegCF company, but you must be aware of how much you can invest before doing so. Because of the inherent risk of investing, the SEC has placed limits on how much nonaccredited investors can invest within any 12-month period.
In a 12-month period, nonaccredited investors are limited in the amount they can invest in a RegCF offering. This limit is based on the investor’s annual income or net worth, whichever is greater. If an investor’s annual income or net worth is less than $124,000, then the investor can invest up to the greater of $2,500 or 5% of the greater of their annual income or net worth. If both an investor’s annual income and net worth are more than $124,000, then the investor can invest up to 10% of their annual income or net worth, whichever is greater. However, the total amount invested in RegCF offerings during a 12-month period cannot exceed $124,000.
Accredited investors have no limit to how much they can invest in RegCF offerings and are defined as individuals that meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Annual income greater than $200,000 (or $300,000 with a spouse or spousal equivalent);
- Net worth of over $1 million (with or without a spouse and excluding the value of the individual’s primary residence);
- OR holds certain professional certifications, designations, or credentials in good standing, including a Series 7, 65, or 82 license.
Calculating Net Worth
To determine how much an individual can invest in securities through crowdfunding, it is vital to understand how Regulation Crowdfunding defines net worth. There are a few ways to calculate net worth, but the most common is to add up all your assets and subtract all your liabilities, according to the SEC. The value of an individual’s primary residence is not included in the calculation of their net worth, and neither is any loan against the residence up to its fair market value. Any increase in the loan amount in the 60 days before the purchase of securities will also be disregarded, to prevent artificially inflated net worth.
For joint calculations, you can also determine your combined net worth or annual income by adding your spouse’s income and assets to the calculation, even if the assets are not owned jointly. In these cases, the maximum investment cannot exceed that of an individual with the same net worth.
Once you understand how much you can invest, the only thing left is to do your due diligence! You’ll want to review the provided disclosures so that you can get the full picture of the investment’s risk to ensure it aligns with your level of risk tolerance.