Italian regulations on equity crowdfunding through online portals for innovative start-ups approved in October 2012 are closer to their enforcement. The CONSOB, the equivalent of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has now launched a request for public commenting on the implementing regulations that will end on the 30th of April 2013 and therefore equity crowdfunding will shortly be possible in Italy.
In particular, the above mentioned consultation will be crucial to make sure that the requirements for entities running crowdfunding portals are not excessively stringent. Indeed, the primary law provides that also entities different from banks can perform such activities and the regulatory enviroment has been set up in order to reduce as much as possible compliance obligations and ease the access to such business.
The regulations will allow the performance of equity crowdfunding only to the benefit of "innovative start-ups" which is a definition recently introduced by the regulator that applies to companies dedicated to technological innovation either bearing relevant costs in R&D activities or employing highly qualified personnel or exploiting patent rights.
Italy is the first country in Europe introducing equity crowdfunding also before the United States where regulations have been long awaited. This innovation shows a new approach of Italy towards innovation and indeed we have seen more and more start-ups recently set up in the country.
If you want to contribute to the request for commenting or know more about the above, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.