Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, or CFIRA, was established following the signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. CFIRA is an organization formed by the crowdfunding industry’s leading platforms and experts. The group will work with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other affected governmental and quasi-governmental entities to help establish industry standards and best practices. For more information, visit www.CFIRA.org.
CFIRA Executive Team
DJ Paul, Co Chair
As Chief Strategy Officer with GATE Impact, DJ Paul develops solutions to facilitate and expand private and alternative asset transactions, including crowdfunding and 506/Regulation D securities.
DJ is nationally known for his expertise in regulatory compliance and electronic infrastructures and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the crowdfund investing movement. His desire to find solutions that work for investors, issuers and federal policymakers during and immediately after passage of the JOBS Act led him to coordinate the first post-JOBS Act meeting between the Securities Exchange Commission and crowdfunding stakeholders. This milestone meeting catalyzed and launched an ongoing collaboration that continues to this day between the SEC, federal elected officials, Wall Street and Main Street business leaders and crowdfunding advocates who are working together to shape regulatory oversight and implementation of the new industry.
DJ is co-founder and executive board member of two national crowdfunding organizations: Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CfIRA) and Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA). He is frequently asked to publish and speak on themes related to regulatory compliance and sustainable policies and practices related to crowdfund securities in the US and abroad.
Prior to joining GATE, DJ co-founded Crowdfunder, a Los-Angeles based crowdfunding intermediary platform where he served as Chief Strategy Officer.
His financial services career includes sovereign and high-yield bond portfolio management positions at Banque Paribas (London) and CenTrust Bank (Miami), as well as mortgage-backed securities sales with Cowan & Co on Wall Street. Prior to entering the crowdfunding space, DJ spent 15 years as an award-winning film and television producer.
DJ earned his BA in Philosophy from Brown University. He is a Certified Crisis Counselor and a Wilderness First Responder – valuable skills for the concrete jungles he calls home: Los Angeles and New York City.
Chris Tyrrell, Chairman
Chris Tyrrell has over 15 years of experience in entrepreneurship, financial law,technology and capital markets, having managed and founded two private technology companies and been involved in over $20 billion of financing transactions. As an attorney, he specialized in asset-‐based finance at the Wall Street law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Currently, Chris serves as manager of Nehemiah Investments, a venture-‐focused family office in Princeton, New Jersey.
Chris is global advocate for crowdfunding. He is chairman of CrowdFund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA), the leading advocacy organization for securities crowdfunding industry participants in the U.S. He is a non-‐executive board member of the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board (ASSOB), the oldest and largest online small equities platform in the world. He was a delegate to the Third Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Texas and the University of Virginia School of Law. He and his wife Susanne have eight children.
Kim Wales, Secretary
Kim Wales is the founder of Wales Capital, a strategic business development company. Kim is a thought leader on the subjects of small and mid cap businesses seeking private placements using crowdfund investments as an alternative asset class. Kim receives speaking invitations across the U.S. and internationally. She has been quoted in the New York Times, Forbes, Business Week, Association Now, Black Enterprise and featured on Bloomberg “Money Moves” and more.
Prior to the signing of the JOBS Act on April 5, 2012, Kim spent 17 years as an international banking consultant, understanding the ‘nuts and bolts’ of organizations while leading and shaping the frameworks in strategy, operations and technology initiatives across varying sectors that include fund administration, cash management solutions, trust and company management, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, risk management and compliance. Kim writes for several publications. She served as the CEO of a fund administrator until March 2012.
Kim’s client list includes the Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited, Morgan Stanley, Chase Manhattan Bank, Depository Trust Clearing Corp., Securities Industry Automated Corp. (NYSE and AMEX) and Prudential.
Committee Chairs and CFIRA Board Members
CFIRA organized thematic subcommittees to focus on key constituents and issues related to equity crowdfunding. Here are the chairs of the CFIRA subcommittees.
Third Party Providers
Freeman White, Co Chair
Freeman White, CEO and Co-Founder of Launcht.com, believes that social entrepreneurs are our best hope for solving the biggest problems in the world. He envisions a world where the funding of enterprises is market-driven and democratic. He founded Launcht.com in 2010 as the first software as a service (SaaS) company to offer crowdfunding software. Launcht has built its reputation in the donation and rewards crowdfunding space and successfully advocated for the legislation that legalized equity crowdfunding in April, 2012. He is a Founding Member and former Executive Committee Member of CFIRA.
Jonathan Miller, Co Chair
President and CEO of Plan Management Corp., the Philadelphia based, full service administrator of equity compensation award plans, and the developer of the OptionTrax® System for self-administration by issuers of their equity compensation plans. Plan Management is also the developer of the InvestmenTrax system, a complete and comprehensive securities and shareholder record keeping and maintenance system for small to mid-cap companies. Plan Management Corp. was established in 1994.
Prior to joining Plan Management Corp. in 2009, Jonathan was Founder, Chairman and CEO of StockTrans, Inc., which serviced the stock transfer needs of public and private companies. He sold StockTrans to Broadridge Financial Services, a New York Stock Exchange listed company, in 2009. At the time of the sale, StockTrans was the fifth largest stock transfer agency in the United States.
Jonathan served five terms on the Board of Directors of the national Securities Transfer Association during which time he played an integral role in negotiating and communicating with the SEC on various industry-related issues. He was also co-chairman of the STA’s Small Agent Committee.
Trey is a serial entrepreneur, social capitalist, and educator at Southern Methodist University. Bowles has recently launched the Dallas Entrepreneur Center as a central location for entrepreneurs to learn how to start, build and grow businesses through training, education, mentorship, promotion, and capital investment. In conjunction with the Startup America Partnership (a non-profit organization started by Steve Case and the Kauffman Foundation) Trey leads a team of entrepreneurial leaders across the state to help high-growth startups be successful through Startup Texas. Bowles led the turn-around and sale of Big Jump Media Inc. to Salem Communications 2010. Trey has spent his career starting and building companies in both the for-profit and non-profit space with an expertise in strategy, operations, and marketing. Bowles has held key leadership roles in the industries of music, entertainment, and disruptive technology including running the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing site, Morpheus. Trey helped launch the Arts Entrepreneurship Department in SMU Meadows School of Arts and currently teaches Social Entrepreneurship. Bowles lives in Dallas with his bride and daughter and is committed to helping build a collaborative ecosystem in DFW at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship and education.
Ryan Feit is the Co-Founder and CEO of SeedInvest, an equity-based, crowdfunding platform. Ryan supported The Startup Exemption, the nonprofit responsible for bringing the concept of Equity Crowdfunding to Washington, DC and the passage of the JOBS Act. He Co-founded the Crowdfunding Professional Association and is an Executive Committee Member and Chair of the Education and Training Committee. He is also a Board Member of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates Group and Chair of the Portals Committee.
Prior to SeedInvest Ryan worked at Carlson Capital, Wellspring Capital Management and Lehman Brothers in New York City where he invested in, financed and managed dozens of private and public businesses.
Whenever given the chance, Ryan enjoys traveling and has been to 77 countries. Ryan received an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Daryl H. Bryant, Founder and CEO of StartupValley, has spent the past fifteen years working in the Internet and technology sectors. Bryant is a co-founding board member of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA) and sits on the board of the Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) and co-chairs the Funding Portal Committee. As well as an Advisory Board member for the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair State University. Well versed in crowdfunding, social, search, mobile and Web technologies, Bryant consistently maintains his position on the forefront of technology. Daryl is also managing partner of Hudson Horizons, i3 Labs, YourCompanyTV, Order Windows Online, and CrowdJourney. With over ten years experience running Hudson Horizons, a multi-million dollar Web and marketing agency, Daryl has taken his knowledge in the Web world and passion in helping startups over to StartupValley, an equity crowdfunding portal for the technology and life science sectors. Bryant was recently honored and named Entrepreneur of the Year in Best in Biz Awards 2013 International and named a 2013 NJBiz Forty Under 40.
James A. Jones is the CEO and Founder of the SelfDirected IRA Investment Institute, formerly AlternativeAssetsIRA. He is a nationally recognizedSelf-Directed IRA speaker, author and educator and Certified IRA Services Professional. Mr. Jones is a regularly featured speaker with NowStreetJournal National Crowd funding Event Series and presents to industry record attending webinars with Morningstar and Key Partners on truly diversifying retirement plans though alternative assets in IRA’s and Solo 401K’s.
James A. Jones works directly with IRA holders, as well as Crowd funding portals, Broker Dealers, Hedge Fund Managers, Tax Attorneys, CPA’s, Registered Investment Advisers, Family Offices and Real Estate firms and associations. He is the author of the “Self-Directing Your Retirement”, and “Self-Directed IRA Workbook”, the Industry’s first practical step-by-step guide in the process of investing in self-directed IRA’s. Having spent over 20 years in financial services working for firms such as Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo, Mr. Jones has Series 65, 7, 63, insurance and mortgage licenses as well as a graduate degree in Finance from Harvard University.
James serves as the Co-Chair of the Investor Committee of the Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA), the Board of Advisors for CROWD and is a Founding Member of the Crowd funding Professional Association.
Scott Purcell has been in the internet industry since the inception of the browser, founding Epoch Networks in 1994, raising over $60 million in venture capital and building it into the largest privately-held ISP in the country. In 1999 Mr. Purcell founded OnAir Networks, raised $40 million in venture capital and quickly positioned it as the leading music distribution service; building the music streaming and downloading services for Sony and Universal Music Group. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Mr. Purcell has appeared before Congress on numerous occasions and helped shape early internet policy with the FCC. He has been on the Board of the Commercial Internet eXchange, and was the internet liaison for the Recording Industry Association of America. Mr. Purcell’s current venture is Arctic Island, a crowdfunding platform that connects investors with job creators in need of capital.
Joy Schoffler, Principal of Leverage PR, works with the leaders of the crowdfunding industry, investment firms, and high potential startups helping them meet their business goals through creative publicity strategies. Companies her and her team have worked with have made the Inc. 500 list multiple times, been acquired, raised large amounts of capital, secured Fortune 500 accounts (from start-up phase) and have experienced tremendous growth. Joy has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Forbes.com, CNBC and regularly contributes her crowdfunding and public relations insights to outlets like Entrepreneur Magazine and Social Media Monthly. Joy developed the first-of-its-kind publicity platform for crowdfunding and growth- phase companies—CrowdBuilder that will be available in early 2013. CrowdBuilder will allow companies to leverage the power of publicity to raise awareness of their networks, close new accounts, and grow their businesses. Joy served 12 years in the Army and Texas Guard including one year mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Joy also currently serves as the Chair of the Publicity Committee for the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA).
Robert Carbone is Founder and CEO of CrowdBouncer, LLC, a compliance and data platform for equity crowdfunding portals, and General Counsel and Vice President of The InVentures Group, Inc., a consulting firm for startups.
Previously, Mr. Carbone practiced business and commercial law at Damon Morey LLP in Buffalo, NY, handling a diverse spectrum of issues including corporate governance and shareholder disputes, securities, intellectual property, commercial sales and lending, licensing and franchising, and insolvency issues. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Carbone worked as a financial analyst for NanoDynamics, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of advanced materials for applications in energy, infrastructure and clean-technology. In addition, Mr. Carbone worked for two years as an associate for The Regional Institute, a governance think-tank, working on projects directed at reorganizing governments to economize and streamline service delivery.
In addition to CFIRA, he serves on the boards of BuffaloFirst and Graphene Stakeholders Association, Inc.
Mike Norman is the cofounder and president of the crowd investing platform Wefunder.com. Wefunder graduated from Y Combinator this year, and their 15,000 investors are currently funding Y Combinator and Tech Stars companies through the platform. Mike helped craft the crowdfunding portion of the JOBS Act and watched Obama sign it into law at the White House. Prior to Wefunder Mike founded SoChange, a web and mobile platform where consumers use their spending to convince companies to improve their social or environmental performance. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and once upon a time represented the USA as part of the national San Shou kickboxing team.
Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with 30 years of experience working in the corporate and securities field and a leadership team member of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates. She recently stepped down as the General Counsel of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was chaired by Professor Elizabeth Warren.
Douglas S. Ellenoff, a member of Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP in New York City since its founding in 1992, is a corporate and securities attorney with a specialty in business transactions and corporate financings. Mr. Ellenoff has represented public companies in connection with their initial public offerings, secondary public offerings, regulatory compliance as well as general corporate governance matters. During his career, he has represented numerous broker-dealers, venture capital investor groups and many corporations involved in the capital formation process. Supplementing his practice of law, Mr. Ellenoff has always maintained an active investing profile. Mr. Ellenoff founded Wardenclyffe, an investment management business, in 1995. Wardenclyffe was the general partner of: (ii) a long/short high yield bond fund (the Wardenclyffe High Yield Fund, L.P.), (ii) a micro-cap hedge fund (Wardenclyffe Micro-Cap Fund, L.P.), which specialized in emerging growth companies and (iii) a fully invested venture capital fund (Wardenclyffe Venture Partners I, L.P.).