Montana start-up businesses will be able to raise money through crowdfunding if a bill promoted by Montana Securities Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen becomes law.

Spokeswoman Jennifer McKee said the internet has given rise to a new way for businesses to raise the capital necessary to get underway.

"Crowndfunding has become popular with new forms of internet platforms such as Kickstarter," McKee said. "They allow entrepreneurs to raise small amounts of money from large groups of people. It's a great way for regular people to start a business and for regular people to invest in a business.'

The trouble, McKee said, is that Montana law has not kept up with the changes in technology.

"Crowdfunding, as we know it, is not currently allowed under Montana law, so House Bill 491, sponsored by Representative Chuck Hunter of Helena, would allow crowdfunding with some parameters to protect Montana businesses," she said. "Under this bill, a Montana investor or a business start-up would be able to solicit up to $1 million in capital from Montana investors without having to go through all the channels of registering a security."

McKee said the bill has sailed through he legislative process, so far.

"It passed 19 to zip in committee, and 100 to zip on the floor, so it's in the second half of its journey," McKee said. "It's not looking like any major roadblocks are in the way, but anything can happen."

McKee said she hopes Governor Steve Bullock will sign the bill into law once it clears the legislature.

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