One of the things holding back equity crowdfunding -- that is, letting people invest in a project, rather than just back it -- has been governmental regulation. But that has changed thanks to new rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Now, people who aren't accredited investors will be allowed to put their money into businesses.
These changes were proposed as part of the 2012 JOBS Act, but the guidelines are now finalized, and will come into effect 180 days after their publication in the Federal Register.
There are still significant limitations in the rules -- companies will only be able to raise $1 million per 12-month period, and only $100,000 may be sold to any single investor during that period. Investors with annual income or net worth under $100,000 will face significant limitations on their investment opportunities -- $2,000, or 5 percent of their income or net worth, whichever is greater.
Only U.S.-based companies may take advantage of the new regulations.
Still, this is a huge change. Fig, the new crowdfunding website from ex-Double Fine man Justin Bailey, accepts investment as well as traditional Kickstarter-style backing -- but was only able to do so from accredited investors so far. Prior to the platform's launch, Bailey told Gamasutra that he was looking forward to these changes.
You can find out more detail at the SEC's website; the full regulations are 685 pages, but there's a helpful breakdown of what you need to know about them at VentureBeat.