Crowd notes are used in equity crowdfunding and are essentially a modified form of convertible notes. They allow a large number of investors to pool their money together to invest in a private market investment opportunity, like equity crowdfunding.
Introduction to Crowd Notes
Crowd notes are a popular investment vehicle used in equity crowdfunding. They can allow a large number of investors to pool their money together to invest in a private market investment opportunity, such as equity crowdfunding. Essentially, crowd notes are a modified form of convertible notes that may provide investors with the potential to share in a company’s growth through equity ownership or other forms of profit sharing and they potentially could offer more flexibility than traditional debt or equity securities.
How Do Crowd Notes Work
Crowd notes are similar to bonds in that they represent a debt obligation on the part of the issuer (the company raising funds through the crowdfunding campaign). Investors who purchase crowd notes are lending money to the company and could receive regular interest payments and, ultimately, the return of their principal when the notes mature. However, unlike bonds, crowd notes also give investors the potential to share in the company’s growth.
One of the main differences between crowd notes and convertible notes is that a crowd note does not have a maturity date or conversion milestone. This means the crowd note does not automatically convert to equity shareholders, effectively keeping them off a startup’s cap table.
Other differences between crowd notes and convertible notes can include limited investor voting and information rights, the ability to extend the crowd note after locking in an initial conversion price, and a provision for a corporate transaction payout that could provide investors a payout in the event of an early exit.
Benefits and Limitations of Crowd Notes
Crowd notes can offer several benefits to both issuers and investors. For companies, they can provide a way to raise capital while keeping a “clean” cap table and balancing business with shareholders. Because crowd note offerings allow for large numbers of investors, a lot of “noise” can be added to a company’s cap table, which can deter future institutional or venture capital investors. The crowd note can help remedy this with the option to extend the crowd note after the trigger event. However, it’s important to understand that the trigger event locks in the conversion price for holders of the crowd note – regardless of later financing events and valuations. Crowd notes do solve some of the challenges associated with equity crowdfunding like having a larger number of investors providing smaller amounts of capital by consolidating the investments into one line on the cap table.
For investors, crowd notes may provide more flexibility than traditional debt or equity securities. The terms of the notes can be customized to meet the needs of both the issuer and the investors, and they can be bought and sold on secondary markets. However, it cannot be guaranteed that a security on the secondary market will be purchased. The secondary market offers some form of liquidity, but the private markets are inherently illiquid. A crowd note holder may list the security on the secondary market, but it may take some time to find an adequate buyer, or there may not be a buyer willing to purchase the security.
However, it’s important to note that there are also some challenges and limitations associated with crowd notes. One such challenge is the tax implications of investing in crowd notes. Interest income from notes can be considered taxable income and may be subject to state and local taxes. Investors should consult with a tax professional to understand the tax implications of their investment.
Crowd notes are a popular investment vehicle used in equity crowdfunding that may offer more flexibility than traditional debt or equity securities. They can provide investors with the potential to share in a company’s growth while also helping companies raise capital and maintain a “clean” cap table. However, investors should be aware of the tax implications and other challenges associated with crowd notes before making an investment.
The information presented here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, comprehensive offering documentation for any security, investment, tax or legal advice, a recommendation, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, an interest, directly or indirectly, in any company. Investing in both early-stage and later-stage companies carries a high degree of risk. A loss of an investor’s entire investment is possible, and no profit may be realized. Investors should be aware that these types of investments are illiquid and should anticipate holding until an exit occurs.