Idaho broker-dealer paves the way for Idaho residents to invest in local companies

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Pennaluna & Company, an 88 year old Coeur d’Alene broker-dealer, launched their online investment division, PennStarter at the end of 2013. They’ve now decided to take the portal in a new direction and are helping Idaho businesses raise money from Idaho residents through a relatively new exemption.

The exemption permits Idaho companies to raise money from their family, friends and most importantly their community.

Pennaluna & Company has spent months working with local start-up Bright Flash Development, Inc., and securities attorney Tyler B. Wilson, Esq., to navigate Idaho state law and comply with the Idaho Department of Finance’s rules regarding the exemption. The exemption permits Idaho companies to raise money from their family, friends and most importantly their community. Specifically, companies can raise up to $2,000,000 from Idaho residents through public advertisement directed to Idaho residents. Another unique element of this process is that investors do not necessarily have to be accredited to invest.

“Being an Idahoan living in Coeur d’Alene right now is an inspiration to the vision we have with the concept” says PennStarter’s Shawny Le, who orchestrated the focus on Idaho. “Our community is undergoing a push with local organizations like Innovation Collective to create an environment where a good idea can become a great company that can thrive right here in Idaho. I see receiving funding from the community and the community members reaping the financial rewards of success as being a part of that circle.”

Companies can work with PennStarter at any stage in their development. Although the first Idaho listing on the site is a start-up, they are working through the process with a second Idaho corporation that boasts almost 20 years in business. They are selective though, with only a small percentage of companies making it through the due diligence process. Because of the inherently risky nature of investing in small businesses, the PennStarter team does thorough checks into management background, product or service and long term business plans.

Another unique feature of the PennStarter model is its ability to help companies become publicly listed, should they choose to do so, supplying investors with a potential exit strategy. Pennaluna & Company President Ron Nicklas states, “Many people don’t know that for the right company it’s possible to become publically traded at a fairly early stage. There are positives and negatives to doing so, but many investors like the idea that the company they are investing in is working toward this goal.”

PennStarter is currently accepting company submissions from throughout the state of Idaho.

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Ron Nicklas
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