In what is one of the largest equity crowdfunding rounds in the world, Elio Motors has received approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seek $25 million in equity capital under the recently released Regulation A+ rules. Elio, one of the very first issuers to leverage the Testing the Waters aspect of Reg A+, received substantial investor interest. To date, over 11,000 individual investors (representing, in aggregate, over $46 million in potential investor funds) have stated they would like to invest. Now while the indication of interest is not binding, the substantial buffer between this amount and the targeted raise amount bodes well for the success of Elio’s offering.
The Elio Motors offering is one of the first Tier 2 Regulation A+ offering to be formally approved by the SEC for investment. The smaller IPO market has all but disappeared as costly regulations and Venture Capital firm selection criteria have forced successful companies to remain private for as long as possible. With offerings like these, Reg A+ may just serve to alleviate part of that problem while democratizing access to investment opportunity. Shares in issuing companies using Reg A+ are freely tradeable, according to the rules, and are expected to trade on established exchanges at some point in the future.
Elio has selected Los Angeles based crowdfunding portal StartEngine, founded by Howard Marks, co-founder of Activision, and Ron Miller, as the portal of choice for its offering (including the initial testing of the waters). Miller, called the offering a “breakthrough” in the securities industry.
“This is a major victory for investment equality, and may be the biggest financial breakthrough of this generation. With this momentous SEC qualification, the government is setting an example for how nonaccredited investors can pursue opportunities via the StartEngine platform, including investing in Elio Motors and the next wave of progressive companies.”
In terms of the offering itself, even the company is looking to be an industry disruptor. Elio Motors founder Paul Elio wants to revolutionize the transportation industry with a low cost yet highly functional, gas engined vehicle that claims 84 MPG. “Our goal is to alter the course of American transportation, and with today’s breakthrough, we are one step closer to this revolution, not just for drivers, but for anyone who believes that a good idea has the power to change the world,” stated Elio. The aspiring automotive mogul said he was “thrilled” to allow thousands of new investors to become owners of the company. The multiplier effect of the monetary injection should help drive thousands of new jobs beyond those numbers.
The $25 million raise will be utilized to bring the vehicle into production by 2016. Elio has already targeted a former GM plant in Shreveport, La. for manufacturing and has stated the company expects to create 1,500 jobs at the facility and another 1,500 jobs at supplier companies. At an estimated retail cost of $6800, alongside some unique financing programs, the trip-wheel Elio car has high hopes for mass approval and robust sales.
This is just the beginning folks. Given Elio’s predicted offering success it is hard to see others not following in their footsteps. In fact, given the multiple Reg A+ offerings already in various stages of SEC review and approval, you are sure to see more announcements like this in the near future.