With the public announcement of a $60 million investment offering this morning, TechShop is among the first to attempt to leverage eased fundraising regulations made possible by the JOBS Act. An 80-year SEC ban on general solicitation and advertising for certain offerings was lifted today as a result of the act.
TechShop CEO Mark Hatch, who presented at Techonomy Detroit 2012, told us Friday that the company is seeking $30 million in a Series B Preferred stock offering to support corporate overhead, and $30 million more in loans to fund construction of at least 11 new local TechShop facilities, support the new location in Pittsburgh, and relocate the one in Menlo Park.
TechShop aims to democratize product design and manufacturing by offering individual paying members access to state-of-the art DIY workshops and tools across the country. Several startups, including Square, DODOCase, Solum, Embrace, Clustered Systems, Lumio, Oru-Kayak, and OpenROV have already emerged from or employed TechShop innovations.
Because JOBS Act rules permitting unaccredited investors to take advantage of such offerings have not yet gone into effect, the typical TechShop member or maker is shut out of today’s offering. Those who wish to purchase TechShop stock or make a loan must meet the SEC definition of an accredited investor with either a net worth of $1 million, excluding primary residence, or income of at least $200,000 in each of the last two years (or, if married, $300,000 together with a spouse.).
TechShop says the minimum investment for stock or for a loan commitment is $25,000. Loans will be specific to the location the lender selects, and will only be funded if the company receives enough commitments for that city—between $2 million and $3.5 million, depending on the city.
The flagship TechShop, founded in 2006 in Menlo Park, boasts 800 members who pay around $125 a month for 7-day-a-week access to $1 million worth of design, prototyping, and manufacturing tools. Other existing locations are in San Francisco, San Jose, Austin, Detroit (which Techonomy profiled in 2012), and Pittsburgh. Hatch says new workshops are planned in Arlington, Va., Cedar Valley, Iowa, Chandler, Ariz., Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Mich., Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Ore., and Seattle. In typical form, TechShop invites input from investors and local communities. Go to its website if you’re an accredited investor or want to vote for a TechShop location in your hometown.