Thanks to legislation passed last year, Montana businesses can now sell equity, stock or ownership in themselves to Montana investors without going through the normal process of licensing the equity as a security and needing a licensed securities broker.

State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen said online fundraising is popular, but those who participate in crowdfunding must do so within Montana law.

"Before this bill was passed and before the federal bill was passed, which was the Federal Jobs Act back in 2011, unfortunately sometimes I think people were unknowingly raising capital for their new businesses in a way that wasn't always legal," Lindeen said. "When you're raising equity and capital for your business in a traditional way, you legally have to go through a somewhat expensive and long process which happens through our office."

Lindeen said crowdfunding has changed all that.

"With the new crowdfunding law here in Montana, anyone who is raising only up to $1 million over the course of 12 months can now raise that without going through that long regulatory process," she said. "They just have to fill out a five page application with our office, pay a $50 fee, so it's much simpler now."

Anyone interested in crowdfunding in Montana can get more information at the State Auditor's website.