St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, area business leaders and representatives of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership came together on Wednesday to launch Nvsted, the first hyper-local regulation crowdfunding platform designed for investing.
These days, nearly everyone is familiar with crowdfunding platforms. Nvsted is a regulation crowdfunding marketplace specific to the St. Louis region, and the first in the nation organized by an economic development agency.
“We’re not like other platforms that offer reward or perk-based crowdfunding,” says a statement on Nvsted’s website. “Nvsted is a marketplace to offer real securities to everyday investors wanting to get in on the action and support small and early-stage businesses with the added perk of a potential return.”
Nvsted takes advantage of Title III of the JOBS Act, enacted on May 16, 2016. The change allows business owners and entrepreneurs to seek capital from everyday non-accredited investors. In short, anyone can now make capital investments in startups and small businesses.
“I was reading the Wall Street Journal one morning and saw the change in regulations that qualified investors were no longer necessary, that anyone could invest in a company,” said Sheila Sweeney, CEO of St. Louis Economic Partnership Development. “I thought this was something we should look into.”
Sweeney talked with St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger who agreed that it was a good opportunity for St. Louis’s startups and small businesses that were already operating.
“Nvsted will propel the growth of entrepreneurs, support the expansion of St. Louis area-based jobs, and strengthen the foundation of regional businesses,” said Stenger. “The timing is certainly right for introduction of this innovative tech tool for funding startups.”
Nvsted allows people to invest in companies for as little as $100.
The investments sound small, but Stenger said they’ll add up over time to account for a major contribution to St. Louis’s economy.
“Nvsted will contribute to the economic momentum underway in St. Louis County since 2015, a boom marked by more than $5 billion in corporate expansions and capital improvements, the creation of 5,700 jobs and the retention of over 30,000 more,” said Stenger.
Nvsted has received federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) approval and is now open to businesses based in St. Louis and investors from around the United States.
“The St. Louis business ecosystem continues to be exceptional for startups and business expansion,” said Jamey Edgerton, CEO of Nvsted. “Recent approval by FINRA for Nvsted’s launch further strengthens the St. Louis region’s position as one of the top areas to start and grow a business.”
WellBeing Brewing Company is the first company to participate on Nvsted’s platform. The non-alcoholic beer brewing company seeks to raise between $125,000 to $200,000.
“It’s an innovative platform that gives investors at all levels an opportunity to invest in local startups, and it certainly gives the startups and small businesses exposure to investors that they might not otherwise have had access to,” said Sweeney. “I think the marriage of both of those types is really helpful and it fills what may have been a gap for some people for funding.”
It also opens up the possibility for money from outside St. Louis to be invested in the region and can further strengthen already booming innovation districts in the city like 39 North, Cortex and TREX.
“Nvsted is innovation that will strengthen St. Louis region’s business environment – it’s innovative, unique and supports our business community,” said Edgerton.
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.