"I like the idea of Kickstarter and similar crowd-funding services but I'd be worried about IP protection."Featured comment
Kickstarter has today officially launched in Australia and New Zealand.
Earlier spokesman Justin Kazmark told NBR ONLINE it's not a case of Kickstart NZ launching, but New Zealanders getting the chance to join the single Kickstarter site.
"There is just one website and the community can continue to discover projects from across the creative universe regardless whether they're located in the US, UK, Canada, NZ, Australia," Mr Kazmark says.
Crowdfunded equity possible in NZ from April 1, 2014
Aug 29: There's good news for Kiwis who've looked enviously at US site KickStarter.com, which allows startups to raise thousands - or even millions - for a bright idea via hundreds of micro-donations.
Crowd-funded equity will be possible from April 1 next year, thanks to the Financial Markets Conduct Bill, which passed its third-reading in Parliament last night (the law already allows for non-profit crowdfunding sites, such as PledgeMe.co.nz, but until April 1 at least it is illegal to make a return, or to offer equity; the new law also allows for peer-to-peer lending. In the US, legislative change is also expanding the role of crowdfunding sites.Crowd-funded equity will become legal under the JOBS (Jumpstart our Business Startups) Act, which comes into law on September 23.).
We've seen a number of New Zealanders use Kickstarter.com, including Syrp and film director Taika Waititi - but Kickstater's US only escrow payment system means both needed to go through the added complication of adding a US partner.
"The introduction of an equity crowdfunding regime by April 1, 2014 is excellent news," lawyer and intellectual property specialist Rick Shera tells NBR.
"It puts New Zealand on a par with or ahead of other countries seeking to attract new ventures that might not be able to obtain funding any other way," the Lowndes Jordan partner says.
"Crowdfunding is not the answer to all equity funding requirements, but it will be a useful addition in the start-up space and may ultimately have spin-off benefits in getting more New Zealanders into our capital markets as they become used to owning shares."
Mr Shera adds, a warning, "Having masses of very small stakeholders may not be for the fainthearted though as has already been seen in non-equity crowdfunding arenas like Kickstarter."
KickStarter has come under regulatory scrutiny in the US after several high-profile crowd-funded projects have failed to eventuate - in many cases because wannabe entrepreneurs were way to optimistic in their projectons. The site now requires people to post more detailed pitches. But as Mr Shera intimates, it's an inherently high-risk arena.