Recently, we received a question from an issuer, asking if Canadian companies can use RegCF to raise capital. We believe that education is an essential part of the capital raising process, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our team with any questions that could help you along your capital raising journey.
Crowdfunding is a popular way for small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs to raise capital without necessarily needing the support of venture capitalists or angel investors. Regulation Crowdfunding (RegCF) provides an avenue for companies to legally raise capital through equity crowdfunding in the United States and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Although RegCF is available to US companies, many Canadian companies have questions regarding whether they can also use this exemption to raise capital. This article will answer those questions and provide insight into the legal requirements and structures that work for Canadian companies.
Legal Requirements for Raising Capital Through RegCF in Canada
In short, the answer is yes, Canadian companies can use RegCF. However, certain requirements must be met for a company outside of the U.S. to take raise capital through this exemption.
The main legal requirement is that the company must establish a US entity, such as a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC), which will be managed from within the U.S. The SEC states that “the issuer’s officers, partners, or managers must primarily direct, control, and coordinate its activities from the U.S., and its principal place of business must be in the U.S.”
It is also recommended that Canadian companies considering using RegCF to raise capital should provide evidence of their plans to engage the US market. This could include investing in marketing and advertising initiatives, setting up offices or physical locations within the US, hiring personnel from the US, etc.
Using RegCF in Canada
There are a few different ways that Canadian businesses approach a RegCF offering. One option is to create a wholly-owned subsidiary in the United States that will operate the business and raise funds through RegCF. This subsidiary must have its own business plan and financials, and cannot simply be a shell company. Alternatively, Canadian companies can create a US-based holding company that will own the Canadian entity and operate the business in both countries. This structure can be beneficial for companies looking to expand their operations into the US market while also raising capital from US-based investors. Canadian companies can also create a new US-based company that licenses the product or service of the Canadian company.
Ultimately, a Canadian company seeking to raise capital using RegCF must create a US-based entity with a primary place of business in the US. The company raising capital cannot simply be a shell company that directs capital raised back to the parent company.
Alternatives for Canadian Companies
There are several other options for raising capital for Canadian companies that cannot or do not wish to use RegCF. These include traditional venture capital and angel investing, as well as debt financing from banks and other lenders. Additionally, many Canadian provinces have their own provincial securities commissions that offer exemptions from the registration requirements for businesses looking to raise funds from investors within their jurisdiction. But because of RegCF’s benefits of allowing companies to advertise offerings, as well as its low minimum investment requirements, it is certainly worth considering for Canadian businesses looking to raise capital.
Deciding whether or not to use RegCF for a Canadian company is ultimately a decision that should be made on a case-by-case basis. Although US securities laws may present some additional regulations, there are many benefits to using this platform if it is done properly. The ability to access capital from a larger pool of investors, as well as the streamlined process of RegCF, can make it an attractive option for Canadian businesses looking to raise funds. Ultimately, Canadian companies should discuss their capital raising options with a securities attorney if they have questions about the process and their options.