Invest in This "Stock"

By Matthew Milner, on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two months ago, there was a major law change.

This change is tearing down walls that have been in place for 83 years—and it’s opening up new ways for you to invest and make money.

Simply put, every U.S. citizen is now legally allowed to invest in start-ups.

It no longer matters how much you earn, or how much you’re worth.

Now you can invest in promising early-stage companies—before Wall Street gets its hands on them.

Today we’ll give you a brief introduction to this historic change…

And then we’ll tell you about a new company you can invest in right now.

Tearing Down Walls

Before we dive in, let’s look at the historic legal change that’s making this possible.

The change is part of a new set of laws called “The JOBS Act.”

The JOBS Act allows you to invest in private companies like start-ups, even if you’re not wealthy.

On June 19, 2015, one of its key provisions went into effect…

Officially, the provision is called “Regulation A+”—but since it’s similar to a small Initial Public Offering (IPO), we call it a “mini-IPO.”

Any U.S. business can take advantage of mini-IPOs to raise capital from investors like you, but due to the relatively high legal costs of this approach, the most likely candidates are later-stage start-ups.

Later-stage start-ups have revenues, as well as a significant staff, so they’re better equipped to handle the procedures and costs.

Here’s how the mini-IPO process works.

Testing the Waters

First, a start-up that’s seeking capital posts a description of its business online.

It’s not actually selling shares at this point…

It’s just “testing the waters” to see if there’s interest from investors.

If you like what you see, you can “reserve” shares in the company…

Minimum reservations can be as low as $100, and you’re free to back out later if you want to. You have no obligation.

Then, if the company receives enough interest from investors, it will seek approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) to start selling shares.

As soon as it gets approval, the start-up will contact you to confirm your interest.

$28 Million in Commitments

In late June, a number of companies started using the mini-IPO to raise capital…

One of them is called Elio Motors.

Elio is a transportation start-up that’s aiming to manufacture an “ultra-high-mileage” two-seater car with an expected sticker price of $6,800.

Elio set its funding goal at $25 million…

And it’s already received $28 million in commitments.

Now let’s look at the newest start-up using the mini-IPO to raise capital.

Buy Stock in “Stock Photography”

At Crowdability, we often use pictures on our website, like this one:

This image is a “stock” photo that we bought the rights to.

Instead of hiring an expensive photographer, we, like millions of businesses around the world, use relatively inexpensive photos that already exist.

Photos help illustrate a concept or tell a story—and if we were selling a product, an image might help boost sales.

Commercial photography is a big business: according to a 2015 report from North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), it’s a $10 billion market.

It’s also a sector where investors have made fortunes:

Getty, a stock photography pioneer, was acquired a few years ago by a private equity firm for $3.3 billion...

And an upstart called Shutterstock (NYSE: SSTK) has a market cap of $1.2 billion.

But now a newer upstart is aiming to shake things up—

And it’s raising money from investors like you.


Every day, millions of businesses buy stock photos from companies like Getty and Shutterstock...

These photos are then used online—on websites like Crowdability, on Facebook and Twitter posts, and in online ads.

They’re used offline, too, on print brochures and posters, and in magazines.

Meanwhile, thanks to the high-quality camera phones many of us have in our pocket, a new generation of photographers has emerged, and they’re taking a lot of pictures…

In fact, one photo-sharing site called Instagram receives 70 million new photos every day.

About a year ago, an experienced stock photography executive named Chad Newell realized that some of those photographers were seriously talented—and that they’d probably enjoy earning some extra income.

So Newell decided to create a photography marketplace

It’s called Snapwire, and here’s how it works:

Businesses create a “challenge,” where they post a description of the images they’re looking for (e.g., “authentic travel experiences,” “summer-themed cocktails,” “active families,” etc.) and they set a price and a deadline…

Then, photographers who’ve signed up on Snapwire receive notice of these challenges—and if they choose to, they can compete for the job by submitting shots.

Impressive Progress

Snapwire is already making impressive progress—on its business, and on its fundraising efforts:

Its marketplace already has 150,000 photographers from 200 countries.

And it’s already received nearly $8 million in interest from investors like you—about $1 million of it from investors who committed the $1,000 minimum.

To be clear, we’re not recommending an investment in Snapwire…

But it’s certainly exciting that a company with such promise—and many other options for raising capital—is leveraging the mini-IPO.

To learn more about the Snapwire investment, check out its campaign on high-quality funding platform SeedInvest >>

Please note: Crowdability has no relationship with Snapwire, or with any of the companies or platforms we write about. Crowdability is an independent provider of education, information and research on start-ups and alternative investments.

P.S. To learn more about mini-IPOs (“Reg A+”), check out this video we made for you >>

Best Regards,
Matthew Milner
Matthew Milner


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Tags: SeedInvest The Jobs Act Reg A+ Elio Mini IPO

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