What is Your Challenge and Solution?

I have a software program that can save hundreds of companies & thousands of jobs. Can't get $$$

SEC rules required that we seek funding only from millionaires. They also limit the number of shareholders we can have. Congress - get out of the way. Entrepreneurship is the answer, not bank bailouts and corporate welfare!

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    Bill Scaglione shared this idea  ·   ·  Admin →

    72 comments

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      • Tgreene commented  · 

        Try Clinton Global Initiative. There's a lot of $$ available for funding.

      • Maui Boy commented  · 

        Why does Steel on Wheels have this categorized under the "Personal Impact" classification next to "legalize Marijuana" and "Petition MSNBC" instead of being under the "National Impact" classification? If I have done my math correctly, this would be the sixth most important national idea that needs to be discussed and the most important Business category idea by a long shot. Please reclassify this so that others will see it.

      • Anonymous commented  · 

        mONOPALIZATION OF IT ALL

      • Matt Grosso commented  · 

        I agree with the poster. Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have been able to use Angels to get more businesses started recently than they would have if they could only use venture capital. There is nothing wrong with venture capital but you need Angels as well. While the financial reform bill had many good parts, it should have lowered the limit for Angels to participate, not raised it. We need more risk taking startups, not fewer bigger banks.

        The one thing you can always count on a startup to do with its Angel money is to create jobs. Lowering that limit doesn't cost the government anything at all.

      • Leonid S. Knyshov commented  · 

        Let's take a broader look.

        The SBA is commonly cited as a funding resource for those who are interested in starting a business. That is parroting of irrelevant information.

        Let me tell you the reality of SBA loans - it is a way to get growth capital but not startup capital. It requires collateral and good credit. An entrepreneur who failed once might not have either. We have to cross the chasm between launch/early customers to growth/mainstream customers. Very often that completely drains financial resources, which may materially impact credit for the next 7 years.

        There is no collateral in software startups. We create value with our keyboards connected to virtual equipment and not with expensive equipment. That is why the SBA is not an appropriate route for us.

        Personally, I like the accredited investors rule. I have no business asking for money from people who cannot afford the loss and I have seen first hand what happens when this is ignored. I, however, do not support raising the "accredited" bar higher. The problem with non-accredited investors in "friends and family" stage is that they cannot participate in the larger round where the "only accredited investors" covenant kicks in, which essentially has them assume all the risk and allow the participants in later financing rounds to reap all the benefits.

        Did you know that it is easier for me to get unsecured funding from a foreign government? Take a look at a program like Startup Chile. Why do we not have something like this in addition to SBA?

        It is a $40,000 grant with a few strings attached. The entrepreneur has to build a company within 6-8 months. I was in the final selection round, so I know what it takes and how fast it happens. It took less than two months for us. We ultimately were not selected, but we may try again with a different business plan.

        I should not have to rely on my personal network of wealthy people to get a startup funded. I should be able to obtain seed funding of up to about $50,000 from Uncle Sam. Credit and collateral should not be a part of the equation. Getting this done without fraud is an engineering problem that can be solved.

        CEO of Qpointment.com

      • Birra commented  · 

        I do share the same experience / belief with the original poster... This existing environment has been anti-entrepreneurial and anti-innovation. And Funder with all due respect, you need to do lots of readings in order to get yourself educated about the subject matter!

      • Maui Boy commented  · 

        The sad truth is that this software company is just one company among tens of thousands that if funded could bring innovation and prosperity back to our country. The world and other competitive nations have moved on since the now archaic laws of 1933 and 1934 were put into place. We are talking about the funding American Dream and allowing "ordinary net worth" individuals, and not just "high net worth" and "accredited " investors play a part in funding new ideas. The American Dream should not include just the "fat cats" as investors. It should include all Americans. Change the law so that funding opportunities for entrepreneurs could include all Americans.

      • start up school commented  · 

        Getting expansion capital, new market and product money and start up funds are the biggest problem with getting the economy running again. The young companies create the jobs our economy and people need. These are also the same companies and people who are getting locked out of funding by regulation and the reduction n the money supply. This creates all types of problems. The recent crash was caused by the big wheels not following the regulations anyway. They have not been charged and when they are arrested they just bribe (a settlement for cash without admitting anything or going to jail) their way out of it. These regulations only get enforced on the little guy trying to build an honest company and do good things for people. Political posturing at the expense of the people.

      • Mobile-CEO commented  · 

        Funder - it seems that you aren't aware of the changes that were enacted under Obama's financial "reform" bill. Take a look at the article in the San Jose Business Journal from last April before the bill was passed: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2010/04/12/story1.html
        Here are the highlights:
        “…Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd's 1,336-page bill, sections 412, 413 and 926 would change the definition of an “accredited investor” from someone with $200,000 of income or $1 million of assets, to income and asset levels that change with inflation at least every five years.
        The current definition was set in 1982, but in today’s dollars its levels would equal roughly $449,000 of income and $2.25 million of assets. The bill would also give the Securities and Exchange Commission up to 120 days to review private investment transactions, and give state governments’ regulatory power over many other investments that are currently under federal oversight.
        Also, Angel investing levels have fallen, according to a March 31 report from the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Venture Research. Angel investments last year (2009) totaled $17.6 billion, an 8.3 percent drop from 2008’s $19.2 billion. According to Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University, Dodd’s proposed bill would reduce the number of “accredited, informal investors” by roughly 77 percent, dropping to as few as 121,000 people.”
        When the Federal government makes it more difficult to raise early stage capital and VC’s have moved to later stage investing, the ability to get ideas funded is significantly reduced. Your comments indicate to me that you don’t understand the “VC model” which does exist and is why so many VCs went out of business over the last two to three years.
        VC's are not funding new ideas. The majority of their portfolios are underwater and their money is going into one of two areas: add-on funds for existing portfolio companies or late stage investments to shore up the performance of their portfolios since their returns are dismal over the last couple of years and raising institutional funds for their next Fund (e.g. the VC model) is proving to be very difficult. Interestingly, the software companies need less funding due to lower cost of development and faster development cycles. This leaves the VCs in another quandary. They have continued to raise larger and larger funds which means to get a return that their institutional investors demand they must invest larger amounts (take bigger bets) on deals that can grow only like a Google. Not many of those around. Beginning to get the idea of what the VC model is and why it is a challenge for even really good ideas to get funded without the support of Angels?
        I don’t see this as a discussion of whether or not innovation in America is alive or dead but whether or not there is access to sufficient early stage funding. The reason that "Super Angels" have emerged is because of the lack of early stage VCs. No one is being asked to fund “everything that comes out of an entrepreneur’s head.” But, since we now have a Socialist government, VCs that act like bankers and an economy which significantly reduced the appetite for high risk investments, I believe that Bill is spot on.
        I have been working for 2 years on my company and we are just now launching our beta. I have personally funded it and recently raised $120K from an Angel. However, finding Angels who are willing to invest early and can invest in later rounds so they aren’t diluted out is very difficult and time consuming. Also, most Angels want a personal introduction and, if you aren’t well networked, getting to a funding source just won’t happen. The number of investment “opportunities” far outstrips the $17.6 billion invested in 2009. Super Angels and “accredited, informal investors” see lots of new/innovative and some not so new/innovative ideas all the time. Getting their attention with all of the market noise and FUD is a full time job. Unless you have lived through this experience and successfully built a company, you know not what of which you speak.
        Funder, if in fact you really are, you need to come clean. You clearly have a bias and, in discussions in which I have engaged with others on this topic, I have invariably found that the person is a VC. So, what is your story?

      • Andy Hakes commented  · 

        I haven't yet read all of the comments, but I already see several unfounded condemnations. I can say with 100% certainty that the original poster and I have alot in common, and I seriously urge readers and MSNBC to *listen*. By carelessly dismissing this issue as mere "spam", the powers that be are handed a convenient easy out while a very real problem continues to plague the sluggish economy and the model of American innovation.

        FUNDER's comment claiming that "Innovation in America is certainly not being strangled" is 100% correct. What FUNDER fails to recognize is that while innovation may be moving full speed ahead, innovation alone does not strengthen an economy. Innovation is the application of ideas, and ideas are rarely worth anything at all. There exists an enormous gap between an idea/concept and a viable (and hopefully sustainable) business model. Each stage in the lifecycle of a business requires MANY resources including capital, and anyone who believes that early stage capital is plentiful is without doubt far removed from the harsh realities of being an entrepreneur.

        FUNDER seems to believe that working on something for six years must indicate some sort of debilitating illness when in fact it represents an absolutely incredible level of perseverance and commitment.....I should know. As entrepreneurs, we are willing to put ourselves at tremendous personal risk (don't ask) to make our ventures fly.

        Let there be no mistake, there ARE serious hindrances to early stage companies trying to raise capital. It is NOT by any stretch of the imagination like operating in capital markets serving existing, mature companies.

        I'm more than happy to talk about the challenges that my early stage company faces, and we do something that should raise a few eyebrows...we reduce airline flight delays and cancellations. What happens in commodity markets means nothing to an early stage entrepreneur.....nothing.

        Don't duck this issue. Engage entrepreneurs. Listen. Learn. Be amazed at what entrepreneurs have done and will do with their innovations. Find out what they're going to do. And then, help them carry out those plans. Our economy needs it, and a nation full of entrepreneurs knows that it's within reach.

      • Funder commented  · 

        For Bill Scaglione's latest comment:
        Sorry, but your comment doesn’t make sense, and appears to argue with itself. There is no ‘venture model’, so how can it be broken? What Federal laws are hurting the VC business? If you’re talking about the latest Goldman Sachs fiasco with Facebook, you’re way off base. That was about Goldman trying to skirt SEC regulations about private placements. That presents zero hindrance for you or a VC firm that might be interested in you. And, what are you going to 'free' investment money from? In 2003 there was $14 billion invested in commodity indices. Five years later the amount was $320 billion. Believe me, there's a lot of money out there for investments that doesn't need to be freed from anything.

        Innovation in America is certainly not being strangled. We are ranked the second most innovative country on the planet (behind South Korea). We can all invest in entrepreneurs without Federal interference, but it doesn’t mean we have to invest in everything that comes out of some entrepreneur’s head.

        I certainly wish you luck and success, but how can you still be working on something for six years? Seems to me that after six years you should be content with what you’re earning off your venture as it stands now, and give up on VC capital.

      • Bill Scaglione commented  · 

        People with loose keyboards who leave negative, anonymous comments are just as dangerous as those who riot and destroy public property. My name is on this post. The credentials of our company founders are impeccable. $250k of private funding and over six years of effort have gone into this project. Positive comments have been left by very successful, nationally recognized consultants, distinguished professors and other equally knowledgeable people who realize what we can do for America. It is obvious that those leaving negative comments have never tried to raise funds from a venture community that: generally will not sign non-disclosure agreements and who can then legally appropriate the ideas of sincere innovators for financial gain. Many venture capitalists today want to invest in companies that have a modest revenue stream. That is not venture. It is one step below bank lending. The venture model is broken. True investors are able to examine an idea, visualize its potential, and are willing to fund good ideas. Innovation in America is being strangled by unreasonable Federal laws that are keeping many VCs in business. If informed citizens have the capacity to buy automobiles and homes and invest in the stock market, they should be able to invest in entrepreneurs without federal interference. I also have a plan, with safeguards, that can free much needed investment capital and I aim to push this issue!

      • Funder commented  · 

        Re: FNBS post: I suppose it could be an insider's game, but how? Does that mean if 1,000 people have a VC's ideal investment opportunity, that only the 50 or 100 with some friend or relative with the ear of a VC principal will get in the front door? Doesn't make sense at all. Whether it's trying to sell your new novel, new song, or new investment idea, the 'players' in that field view hundreds of requests and choose what they feel is the best. There are just so many VC firms out there, and they can't fund everything. And, don't VC firms usually go after the $10 million or $200 million funding, and leave the really small start-ups to get their initial financing from friends and relatives?

      • PhxKenster commented  · 

        This is spam, pure & simple, with a personal campaign behind it. How it hasn't be deleted is the real mystery. Shameful.

      • FNBS Media.com commented  · 

        Regarding Funder's post: You and I know that getting in front of VCs is an insider's game. Plenty of great ideas and entrepreneurs are unable to get an audience with potential investors.

      • Patricia commented  · 

        I wrote both our President & vice-President asking for HELP. My husband invented PetWaste-A-Way, it liquefies dog waste where the dog leaves it in 8 to 10 seconds www.petwasteaway.com .My husbands job of 35 years with Hamilton Sundstrand went over seas six years ago and we have run out of money and can not get it to market. We have spent over 60 thousand dollars. We have a great new innovation that would sell in both the pet care & lawn & garden industries. We have a patent with another one coming soon, two working prototypes. We have not been able to find a company to license it from us, we believe it is because of the economy. PetWaste-A-Way will sell millions according to our market analysis & could be made in America. They both wrote me back basically they where saying too bad so sad!! WHAT my goverment can NOT help me THANKS A LOT!! They both said no. We voted for them because we believe in them. Now I hear all this from them we are going to get jobs in America. We want new ideas, I don't understand Mr. President!!

      • Funder commented  · 

        Don't know what Madoff or credit fraud has to do with trying to obtain venture capital funding. VC firms do not 'acquire' good startups, they fund them, unless the entrepreneur approaching them for funding doesn't know how to negotiate or protect his/her interests. VC firms are highly interested in seeing a startup succeed, so if you've got some great software idea then the VC firms are out there for you. If you haven't gotten funding, then you're going about it incorrectly, OR your product isn't up to the standards for financial backing, OR it is a scam.

      • Bill Scaglione commented  · 

        To Joe: Don't judge a man or his abilities unless you know him and his accomplishments. Far more qualified people than you have seen my product and left objective comments herein. Try starting a technology company from scratch and you will clearly find out the money isn't there. The VCs know it, and they are acquiring good startups for way below market rates. We've suffered through Madoff, credit fraud, foreclosure fraud, front running trades on Wall Street and the middle class has been bled dry. The major criminals today wear suits. We already had enough laws to put the guilty in jail without smothering innovation. Small business is the solution and I have a good part of the answer. This country is on edge of bankruptcy while people like you keep sending the same incompetents back to Washington. Write to me again when the stimulus fails again and unemployment hits new levels. Your serve.

      • jfount commented  · 

        This is most definitely not a scam. I work in the same building with creator and the program is by far not a scam. It is a wonderful program just looking for funding.

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