Steve Case, CEO of Revolution and founder of TechCrunch-owner AOL, was a key player in advocating for the JOBS Act, which will allow for a much broader range of crowdfunding (specifically, equity crowdfunding). When he spoke at the Techonomy Detroit conference today, Case elaborated on why the JOBS Act is going to be a big deal.
In Silicon Valley, Case said, crowdfunding probably won’t be “that important or helpful,” because there’s already “tons of money and venture capitalists.” In areas like Detroit, however, it could be “really important.” The Securities and Exchange Commission is still translating the legislation into specific rules, but eventually, entrepreneurs will be able to raise up to $1 million via crowdfunding, which will “democratize access to capital.”
“That will be the difference for, I think, thousands of entrepreneurs,” Case said. “It’s an enormous opportunity for underserved regions and underserved sectors.”
So for example, if you’re trying to build a social media company in Silicon Valley, the JOBS Act might not affect you. But if you’re in Detroit and you’re trying to expand a local business or take a product “to scale,” crowdfunding could help you raise the money you need.
Josh Linkner of Detroit Venture Partners was also on stage with Case, and he echoed those points. He said that in order to build a community of “500 entrepreneurial tech companies,” Detroit needs great ideas, great talent, and capital. The city already has the first two, and the JOBS Act will provide more access to the third.
Case and Linkner also talked more generally about American competitiveness, which I covered in another post.
Steve Case is one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and a pioneer in making the Internet part of everyday life. Steve co-founded America Online (AOL) in 1985, when the Internet was in its infancy. Under Steve’s leadership, AOL became the world’s largest and most valuable Internet company, and helped drive the worldwide adoption of a medium that has transformed business and society. AOL’s early focus on ease of use and social media set...