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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 517
SECURITIES TRANSACTIONS
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F.S. 517.0611
517.0611 Intrastate crowdfunding.
(1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Intrastate Crowdfunding Exemption.”
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an offer or sale of a security by an issuer is an exempt transaction under s. 517.061 if the offer or sale is conducted in accordance with this section. The exemption provided in this section may not be used in conjunction with any other exemption under s. 517.051 or s. 517.061.
(3) The offer or sale of securities under this section must be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the federal exemption for intrastate offerings in s. 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. s. 77c(a)(11), and United States Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 147, 17 C.F.R. s. 230.147, adopted pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933.
(4) An issuer must:
(a) Be a for-profit business entity formed under the laws of the state, be registered with the Secretary of State, maintain its principal place of business in the state, and derive its revenues primarily from operations in the state.
(b) Conduct transactions for the offering through a dealer registered with the office or an intermediary registered under s. 517.12(20).
(c) Not be, either before or as a result of the offering, an investment company as defined in s. 3 of the Investment Company Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. s. 80a-3, or subject to the reporting requirements of s. 13 or s. 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. s. 78m or s. 78o(d).
(d) Not be a company with an undefined business operation, a company that lacks a business plan, a company that lacks a stated investment goal for the funds being raised, or a company that plans to engage in a merger or acquisition with an unspecified business entity.
(e) Not be subject to a disqualification established by the commission or office or a disqualification described in s. 517.1611 or United States Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 506(d), 17 C.F.R. 230.506(d), adopted pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933. Each director, officer, person occupying a similar status or performing a similar function, or person holding more than 20 percent of the shares of the issuer, is subject to this requirement.
(f) Execute an escrow agreement with a federally insured financial institution authorized to do business in the state for the deposit of investor funds, and ensure that all offering proceeds are provided to the issuer only when the aggregate capital raised from all investors is equal to or greater than the target offering amount.
(g) Allow investors to cancel a commitment to invest within 3 business days before the offering deadline, as stated in the disclosure statement, and issue refunds to all investors if the target offering amount is not reached by the offering deadline.
(5) The issuer must file a notice of the offering with the office, in writing or in electronic form, in a format prescribed by commission rule, together with a nonrefundable filing fee of $200. The filing fee shall be deposited into the Regulatory Trust Fund of the office. The commission may adopt rules establishing procedures for the deposit of fees and the filing of documents by electronic means if the procedures provide the office with the information and data required by this section. A notice is effective upon receipt, by the office, of the completed form, filing fee, and an irrevocable written consent to service of civil process, similar to that provided for in s. 517.101. The notice may be terminated by filing with the office a notice of termination. The notice and offering expire 12 months after filing the notice with the office and are not eligible for renewal. The notice must:
(a) Be filed with the office at least 10 days before the issuer commences an offering of securities or the offering is displayed on a website of an intermediary in reliance upon the exemption provided by this section.
(b) Indicate that the issuer is conducting an offering in reliance upon the exemption provided by this section.
(c) Contain the name and contact information of the issuer.
(d) Identify any predecessors, owners, officers, directors, and control persons or any person occupying a similar status or performing a similar function of the issuer, including that person’s title, his or her status as a partner, trustee, sole proprietor or similar role, and his or her ownership percentage.
(e) Identify the federally insured financial institution, authorized to do business in the state, in which investor funds will be deposited, in accordance with the escrow agreement.
(f) Require an attestation under oath that the issuer, its predecessors, affiliated issuers, directors, officers, and control persons, or any other person occupying a similar status or performing a similar function, are not currently and have not been within the past 10 years the subject of regulatory or criminal actions involving fraud or deceit.
(g) Include documentation verifying that the issuer is organized under the laws of the state and authorized to do business in the state.
(h) Include the intermediary’s website address where the issuer’s securities will be offered.
(i) Include the target offering amount.
(6) The issuer must amend the notice form within 30 days after any information contained in the notice becomes inaccurate for any reason. The commission may require, by rule, an issuer who has filed a notice under this section to file amendments with the office.
(7) The issuer must provide to investors and the dealer or intermediary, along with a copy to the office at the time that the notice is filed, and make available to potential investors through the dealer or intermediary, a disclosure statement containing material information about the issuer and the offering, including:
(a) The name, legal status, physical address, and website address of the issuer.
(b) The names of the directors, officers, and any person occupying a similar status or performing a similar function, and the name of each person holding more than 20 percent of the shares of the issuer.
(c) A description of the business of the issuer and the anticipated business plan of the issuer.
(d) A description of the stated purpose and intended use of the proceeds of the offering.
(e) The target offering amount, the deadline to reach the target offering amount, and regular updates regarding the progress of the issuer in meeting the target offering amount.
(f) The price to the public of the securities or the method for determining the price. However, before the sale, each investor must receive in writing the final price and all required disclosures and have an opportunity to rescind the commitment to purchase the securities.
(g) A description of the ownership and capital structure of the issuer, including:
1. Terms of the securities being offered and each class of security of the issuer, including how those terms may be modified, and a summary of the differences between such securities, including how the rights of the securities being offered may be materially limited, diluted, or qualified by rights of any other class of security of the issuer.
2. A description of how the exercise of the rights held by the principal shareholders of the issuer could negatively impact the purchasers of the securities being offered.
3. The name and ownership level of each existing shareholder who owns more than 20 percent of any class of the securities of the issuer.
4. How the securities being offered are being valued, and examples of methods of how such securities may be valued by the issuer in the future, including during subsequent corporate actions.
5. The risks to purchasers of the securities relating to minority ownership in the issuer, the risks associated with corporate action, including additional issuances of shares, a sale of the issuer or of assets of the issuer, or transactions with related parties.
(h) A description of the financial condition of the issuer.
1. For offerings that, in combination with all other offerings of the issuer within the preceding 12-month period, have target offering amounts of $100,000 or less, the description must include the most recent income tax return filed by the issuer, if any, and a financial statement that must be certified by the principal executive officer of the issuer as true and complete in all material respects.
2. For offerings that, in combination with all other offerings of the issuer within the preceding 12-month period, have target offering amounts of more than $100,000, but not more than $500,000, the description must include financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and reviewed by a certified public accountant, as defined in s. 473.302, who is independent of the issuer, using professional standards and procedures for such review or standards and procedures established by the office, by rule, for such purpose.
3. For offerings that, in combination with all other offerings of the issuer within the preceding 12-month period, have target offering amounts of more than $500,000, the description must include audited financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles by a certified public accountant, as defined in s. 473.302, who is independent of the issuer, and other requirements as the commission may establish by rule.
(i) The following statement in boldface, conspicuous type on the front page of the disclosure statement:

These securities are offered under, and will be sold in reliance upon, an exemption from the registration requirements of federal and Florida securities laws. Consequently, neither the Federal Government nor the State of Florida has reviewed the accuracy or completeness of any offering materials. In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of the issuer and the terms of the offering, including the merits and risks involved. These securities are subject to restrictions on transferability and resale and may not be transferred or resold except as specifically authorized by applicable federal and state securities laws. Investing in these securities involves a speculative risk, and investors should be able to bear the loss of their entire investment.

(8) The issuer shall provide to the office a copy of the escrow agreement with a financial institution authorized to conduct business in this state. All investor funds must be deposited in the escrow account. The escrow agreement must require that all offering proceeds be released to the issuer only when the aggregate capital raised from all investors is equal to or greater than the minimum target offering amount specified in the disclosure statement as necessary to implement the business plan, and that all investors will receive a full return of their investment commitment if that target offering amount is not raised by the date stated in the disclosure statement.
(9) The sum of all cash and other consideration received for sales of a security under this section may not exceed $1 million, less the aggregate amount received for all sales of securities by the issuer within the 12 months preceding the first offer or sale made in reliance upon this exemption. Offers or sales to a person owning 20 percent or more of the outstanding shares of any class or classes of securities or to an officer, director, partner, or trustee, or a person occupying a similar status, do not count toward this limitation.
(10) Unless the investor is an accredited investor as defined by Rule 501 of Regulation D, adopted pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933, the aggregate amount sold by an issuer to an investor in transactions exempt from registration requirements under this subsection in a 12-month period may not exceed:
(a) The greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of the annual income or net worth of such investor, if the annual income or the net worth of the investor is less than $100,000.
(b) Ten percent of the annual income or net worth of such investor, not to exceed a maximum aggregate amount sold of $100,000, if either the annual income or net worth of the investor is equal to or exceeds $100,000.
(11) The issuer shall file with the office and provide to investors free of charge an annual report of the results of operations and financial statements of the issuer within 45 days after the end of its fiscal year, until no securities under this offering are outstanding. The annual reports must meet the following requirements:
(a) Include an analysis by management of the issuer of the business operations and the financial condition of the issuer, and disclose the compensation received by each director, executive officer, and person having an ownership interest of 20 percent or more of the issuer, including cash compensation earned since the previous report and on an annual basis, and any bonuses, stock options, other rights to receive securities of the issuer, or any affiliate of the issuer, or other compensation received.
(b) Disclose any material change to information contained in the disclosure statements which was not disclosed in a previous report.
(12)(a) A notice-filing under this section shall be summarily suspended by the office if the payment for the filing is dishonored by the financial institution upon which the funds are drawn. For purposes of s. 120.60(6), failure to pay the required notice filing fee constitutes an immediate and serious danger to the public health, safety, and welfare. The office shall enter a final order revoking a notice-filing in which the payment for the filing is dishonored by the financial institution upon which the funds are drawn.
(b) A notice-filing under this section shall be summarily suspended by the office if the issuer made a material false statement in the issuer’s notice-filing. The summary suspension shall remain in effect until a final order is entered by the office. For purposes of s. 120.60(6), a material false statement made in the issuer’s notice-filing constitutes an immediate and serious danger to the public health, safety, and welfare. If an issuer made a material false statement in the issuer’s notice-filing, the office shall enter a final order revoking the notice-filing, issue a fine as prescribed by s. 517.221(3), and issue permanent bars under s. 517.221(4) to the issuer and all owners, officers, directors, and control persons, or any person occupying a similar status or performing a similar function of the issuer, including title; status as a partner, trustee, sole proprietor, or similar role; and ownership percentage.
(13) An intermediary must:
(a) Take measures, as established by commission rule, to reduce the risk of fraud with respect to transactions, including verifying that the issuer is in compliance with the requirements of this section and, if necessary, denying an issuer access to its platform if the intermediary believes it is unable to adequately assess the risk of fraud of the issuer or its potential offering.
(b) Provide basic information on its website regarding the high risk of investment in and limitation on the resale of exempt securities and the potential for loss of an entire investment. The basic information must include:
1. A description of the escrow agreement that the issuer has executed and the conditions for release of such funds to the issuer in accordance with the agreement and subsection (4).
2. A description of whether financial information provided by the issuer has been audited by an independent certified public accountant, as defined in s. 473.302.
(c) Obtain a zip code or residence address from each potential investor who seeks to view information regarding specific investment opportunities, in order to confirm that the potential investor is a resident of the state.
(d) Obtain and verify a valid Florida driver license number or Florida identification card number from each investor before purchase of a security to confirm that the investor is a resident of the state. The commission may adopt rules authorizing additional forms of identification and prescribing the process for verifying any identification presented by the investor.
(e) Obtain an affidavit from each investor stating that the investment being made by the investor is consistent with the income requirements of subsection (10).
(f) Direct the release of investor funds in escrow in accordance with subsection (4).
(g) Direct investors to transmit funds directly to the financial institution designated in the escrow agreement to hold the funds for the benefit of the investor.
(h) Provide a monthly update for each offering, after the first full month after the date of the offering. The update must be accessible on the intermediary’s website and must display the date and amount of each sale of securities, and each cancellation of commitment to invest, in the previous calendar month.
(i) Require each investor to certify in writing, including as part of such certification his or her signature and his or her initials next to each paragraph of the certification, as follows:

I understand and acknowledge that:

I am investing in a high-risk, speculative business venture. I may lose all of my investment, and I can afford the loss of my investment.

This offering has not been reviewed or approved by any state or federal securities commission or other regulatory authority and no regulatory authority has confirmed the accuracy or determined the adequacy of any disclosure made to me relating to this offering.

The securities I am acquiring in this offering are illiquid and are subject to possible dilution. There is no ready market for the sale of the securities. It may be difficult or impossible for me to sell or otherwise dispose of the securities, and I may be required to hold the securities indefinitely.

I may be subject to tax on my share of the taxable income and losses of the issuer, whether or not I have sold or otherwise disposed of my investment or received any dividends or other distributions from the issuer.

By entering into this transaction with the issuer, I am affirmatively representing myself as being a Florida resident at the time this contract is formed, and if this representation is subsequently shown to be false, the contract is void.

If I resell any of the securities I am acquiring in this offering to a person that is not a Florida resident within 9 months after the closing of the offering, my contract with the issuer for the purchase of these securities is void.

(j) Require each investor to answer questions demonstrating an understanding of the level of risk generally applicable to investments in startups, emerging businesses, and small issuers, and an understanding of the risk of illiquidity.
(k) Take reasonable steps to protect personal information collected from investors, as required by s. 501.171.
(l) Prohibit its directors and officers from having any financial interest in the issuer using its services.
(m) Implement written policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to achieve compliance with federal and state securities laws; comply with the anti-money laundering requirements of 31 C.F.R. chapter X applicable to registered brokers; and comply with the privacy requirements of 17 C.F.R. part 248 relating to brokers.
(14) An intermediary not registered as a dealer under s. 517.12(6) may not:
(a) Offer investment advice or recommendations. A refusal by an intermediary to post an offering that it deems not credible or that represents a potential for fraud may not be construed as an offer of investment advice or recommendation.
(b) Solicit purchases, sales, or offers to buy securities offered or displayed on its website.
(c) Compensate employees, agents, or other persons for the solicitation of, or based on the sale of, securities offered or displayed on its website.
(d) Hold, manage, possess, or otherwise handle investor funds or securities.
(e) Compensate promoters, finders, or lead generators for providing the intermediary with the personal identifying information of any potential investor.
(f) Engage in any other activities set forth by commission rule.
(15) All funds received from investors must be directed to the financial institution designated in the escrow agreement to hold the funds and must be used in accordance with representations made to investors by the intermediary. If an investor cancels a commitment to invest, the intermediary must direct the financial institution designated to hold the funds to promptly refund the funds of the investor.
History.s. 3, ch. 2015-171.