Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summary of the 2016 Twitter Annual Meeting

Article reprinted courtesy of Stockerblog.com 

Jack Dorsey, CEO,
Anthony Noto, CFO,
Vijaya Gadde, General Counsel
Twitter (TWTR)
On May 25, 2016, the Twitter Annual Meeting was held at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, California. There was a turnout of about 60 shareholders. At last year's meeting, Jesse Jackson showed up, but he wasn't there for the meeting this year. On the stage were Jack Dorsey, CEO, Anthony Noto, CFO, and Vijaya Gadde, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary.

Jack Dorsey lead off the meeting showing a presentation of various tweets and videos. He also went over the five priorities for the company, including refining core services and safety. He mentioned the live streaming deal with the NFL.

Then Noto went over the financials. The business part of the meeting, run by Gadde,  took about 15 minutes, where Jack Dorsey and Hugh Johnston were elected to the Board of Directors to serve until the 2019 annual meeting. Also, the Name Executive Officer Compensation passed, the appointment of PriceWaterhouseCoopers as the accounting firm passed, and and the approval of the 2016 Equity Incentive Plan passed.

Then the fun part began: the question and answer period. The first shareholder asked how the expense for software engineers is shown on the financial statements (mostly R&D), and how the stock based compensation is shown (R&D).  Noto explained that the company currently doesn't use stock options; it only issues restricted stock.

Twitter Annual Shareholders Meeting
The same shareholder also asked what types of software the programmers use. Dorsey took that question and said that it has been a transition, starting with Ruby, then Java, Objective-C, then Swift. He said that several programming languages are used, and the programmers use whatever they need to get the job done.

The next shareholder came up with three new verified statuses. He had previously recommended three last year, two of which have been verified.

One young woman came up with a couple suggestions. One was having the ability to send money through Twitter. The other was having the ability to buy Twitter stock through Twitter. Dorsey said that they are looking into a money transfer system.

A shareholder asked about what the catalyst is for an increase in the stock price and both Dorsey and Noto emphasized the push for more live streaming in the areas of sports, entertainment, and news and politics.

When asked if they were open to a takeover offer or a partnership, the answer was essentially no.

Finally, the $3.6 billion in cash that the company has, came up in the Q&A. Noto said that they have a couple of options: share buybacks and acquisitions. Management is regularly evaluation how the money should be spent.

Disclosure: Author owns TWTR.
Article reprinted courtesy of Stockerblog.com 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It is Now Legal

Monday, May 16, 2016, was a significant day for investors, especially non-accredited investors. First, let me give you some background.

Up until that day, if you wanted to invest in private equity, venture capital, or startups, you basically had to be an accredited investor. An accredited investor is anyone who earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, OR has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).

With these very high thresholds, most investors were excluded from participating hot private deals, especially pre-IPO investments. However, with the implementation of Title III of the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act), the rules have changed giving all investors more of a level playing field for investing in private equity offerings.

As an example, if you have a net worth or income less than $100,000, you can invest the lower of either $2,000 or 5% of your annual income or net worth. Yet, there is a $2,000 floor, so you can invest a minimum of $2,000 per year without regard to your annual income or net worth.

This is similar to crowdfunding, yet instead of the contributor getting a product or being invited to a launch party, they receive equity in the company.

It is not just the small and medium size investors who benefit, the small startups will now have a lot of advantages. such as simplified financial disclosures and streamlined filings, as long as the amount raised  is less than $1 million.

If you feel so inclined to read the actual Securities and Exchange Commission Summary of Title III, you can read it here.

Some of the top equity crowdfunding platforms include CircleUp, RockThePost, MicroVentures, AngelList, and FoundersClub.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Zombie Companies Don’t Have to Haunt Angel Investors

Tech Coast Angels Create Lost Causes Fund So Members Can Capture Tax Loss

IRVINE, Calif. -- May 6, 2016 – Tech Coast Angels has launched an innovative way in which the angel network can assist its members realize tax losses at Zombie companies (companies that have essentially shut down but have not dissolved). The new approach will be announced at the Angel Capital Association Summit next week in Philadelphia.

One of any angel investor’s biggest challenges is what happens when an investment turns essentially worthless, yet the company does not shut down or claim bankruptcy. This can happen either due to struggles in the company’s business, or through a recapitalization of the equity of the company.  Without a document of dissolution, an angel investor cannot declare a tax loss, and the injured startup continues to haunt the investor’s bottom line. While there have been solutions (such as selling holdings to a friend for $1), those answers seem complicated, involve extensive paperwork--and, in reality, most angels don’t pursue them.

“TCA’s Lost Causes Fund provides our members with a solution to these moribund startups on life support,” explained John Harbison, chairman of Tech Coast Angels. “Members can sell shares of a Zombie company to TCA at $1 per holding, which gives them a legitimate tax write-off, since the transaction is documented and irreversible.”

This allows TCA’s members to accelerate recognition of their losses and improve returns.

The Lost Causes Fund is available only to members of Tech Coast Angels, and the holding must be in a TCA Portfolio company.  Should there be a “Lazurus” resurgence of the company and an eventual gain, the angel network will donate any net proceeds for charitable purposes to support entrepreneurship.

Mr. Harbison will discuss the details of TCA’s Lost Causes Fund at The Angel Capital Association Summit in Philadelphia.  His presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9 at 11:00 am.  Mr. Harbison is also available for interview before and after the ACA Summit.  Members of media attending the ACA Summit may also request an interview.

About Tech Coast Angels:

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest angel investment groups in the US.  The group comprises over 300 angel members with experience spanning all aspects of successful leadership in almost every industry in five networks that encompass Southern California.  TCA is the leader in providing funding, guidance, mentorship and leadership experience to early-stage, high-growth, exciting companies in Southern California.  CB Insights has ranked TCA ahead of all other angel groups as the strongest network in the country.

Since its founding in 1997, Tech Coast Angels have invested over $176 million in more than 300 companies and have helped attract more than $1.5 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. For more information, please visit www.techcoastangels.com.