By Attorney Michael Richards – Raising capital can be a company’s biggest challenge. Historically, federal securities laws only allowed companies to sell shares of stock in a company if the offering was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or if the sale of stock fell within a specified exemption from registration. As registration with the SEC is rarely practical for early-stage companies, companies have relied on exemptions from registration – namely, restricting the offering to ‘accredited investors’, individuals with a net worth exceeding $1,000,000.00 or annual income exceeding $200,000.00. But beginning on Monday, May 16, 2016, new “Regulation Crowdfunding” goes into effect that allows businesses for the first time to raise capital by selling shares to non-accredited investors. For growing companies in need of capital, this is a revolutionary new way to raise critical funds needed to launch a new business or expand an existing business into new markets.