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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Michigan Funders Names Detroit City Football Club as Offering on Equity Crowdfunding Platform

One of the largest community-based financing and investment campaigns in U.S. sports history unveiled for Keyworth Stadium

DETROIT (October 30, 2015) — Today, Michigan Funders, the state’s first homegrown equity crowdfunding platform to welcome both accredited and non-accredited investors, announced Detroit City Football Club (Le Rouge) as the first offering hosted on its platform since launching a redesigned portal in August. The website retooled to address the ever-changing landscape of intrastate crowdfunding regulations and to continue efforts to democratize the small business investment process. The platform provides another source of capital for local entrepreneurs and Michigan-based businesses, connecting them with residents who are able to make small security investments in them under the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (Public Act 264, 2013).

The community-based fundraising and investment campaign is Michigan’s largest community-based investment project to date, and one of the largest in U.S. sports history. Owners of the semi-pro DCFC team intend to raise the necessary amount of funding for rehabilitation of Hamtramck’s Keyworth Stadium, which Le Rouge plans to call home beginning in 2016.

“We haven’t seen many deals of this stature and size on a national level yet. The DCFC deal actually offers prospective financial return, and exiting perks to its investors, so it combines elements of ‘classic crowdfunding’ too,” said Niles Heron, co-founder of Michigan Funders. “It is a perfect example of why community-based investing is an exciting model for fundraising. Le Rouge already has one of the most exciting fan-bases in the country. Imagine if those fans could go to the new Keyworth Stadium, knowing that they were a very real part of building their favorite team a new home, and being compensated for it. That’s the economic power of a great community.”

For the past four seasons, the team has played at Cass Technical High School’s 2,500-seat field, attracting sellout crowds, increasing by an average of 18% during this past season (3,500 fans per game), and garnering attention in the soccer world- driving the need for the club to play out of a bigger home venue. Keyworth Stadium will hold double the capacity of DCFC’s current home venue, accommodating 6,000 fans. “Michigan residents will have the opportunity to make history, by joining us to complete the largest community-financed project in U.S. sports history,” said DCFC co-owner Alex Wright. The goal is to have most venue upgrades completed by April 2016. To commemorate its groundbreaking campaign to rehabilitate historic Keyworth Stadium with community investments, next May DCFC will host FC United of Manchester, arguably the most celebrated supporter-owned club in Europe. Read more about DCFC’s plans to rehabilitate Keyworth Stadium here.

The Michigan Funders equity crowdfunding portal was born out of the idea that “ordinary” citizens should have as much access to investments as those who do so as angels or via venture capitalism. Michigan Funders empowers people from all financial standings to participate in startup, real-estate, and small business investing, and provides Michiganders the opportunity to take ownership stakes in homegrown innovations, fan favorites, and cutting-edge startups at an affordable buy-in rate. Because deals on Michigan Funders are limited to verified Michigan residents, the platform conducts zip code verification and IP address screening before new users can register to see diligence documents or offering terms. A full public-records residency verification is conducted prior to accepting any investment into escrow.

Jeff Aronoff of Sidewalk Ventures serves as a partner on this deal, acting as the broker and dealer of record. Based in Detroit, Sidewalk Ventures specializes in community-based investment offerings like DCFC’s, providing financial, legal and strategic advice and support to local businesses seeking capital to grow.

“Michigan Funders is excited to bring this deal to Michigan’s residents. DCFC as a perfect example of the kind of business that lives right in the sweet-spot for intrastate crowdfunding, or community-based investing, and we think it’s a huge deal for the industry at large that this deal is happening here in Michigan. This is evidence that there are really solid, community-based business opportunities here,” said David Tessler, co-founder of Michigan Funders. “We see parallel opportunities for deals like these to continue proving the power of communities.”

Earlier this year, Michigan Funders crowd-funded itself (Crowdfund Finance, Inc.), and closed the first residential real-estate raise in the City of Detroit in February. The latter of those investments has already paid back all investors (including debtor-interest). The site went offline to retool earlier in 2015, in order to address changes in the regulatory landscape for the relatively new legislation that frames Michigan’s Crowdfunding laws.

To officially launch the campaign, the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers presented the Keyworth Kickoff event at Fowling Warehouse, where more than 300 Michigan residents attended a night of free fowling, and to celebrate the growing community interest in the club and its dedication to the city.

After passing the Michigan Invest Local Exemption (MILE or Public Act 264) in 2013, in conjunction with the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, Michigan became one of only 15 states to allow intrastate Security and Exchange Commission exemptions for non-accredited equity crowdfunding. Essentially, the legislature has made investing accessible to the 99 percent of Michiganders whose gross income does not meet the minimum requirement for accreditation, $200,000. Investors are able to spend anywhere from $100 to $10,000, unless they are accredited, in which case there is no cap on the investment amount. However, in order to participate, interested parties must certify their citizenship and fill out a questionnaire. Those hoping to raise capital on are required to meet the criteria set forth by the State of Michigan in MILE and if qualified, must create a campaign presentation on the portal that includes a summary of the investment offering, business plan, multimedia assets, and any additional pitch materials they wish to post along with their offering.

About Michigan Funders is the first homegrown equity crowdfunding platform in the state of Michigan. Following the passage of Public Act 264, co-founders David Tessler, local attorney Jeffery Freeman, and Niles Heron partnered to build the platform, which will for the first time, open up investment opportunities to Michigan-based, non-accredited investors. The site launched in February 2015 and is open to, both, prospective investors and entrepreneurs. For more information about how to sign up, visit MichiganFunders can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Detroit City FC

Detroit City FC is a grassroots football club working to satisfy the market for soccer in Detroit, represent the city in a positive light, and build community through the beautiful game. A member of the National Premier Soccer League since 2012, Detroit City has established itself as one of the most talked about soccer teams in North America.You can find Detroit City FC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #DCTID

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