“Crowd funding: Mob rule or empowering the masses?” will be discussed at the Thursday, Feb. 9 meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network’s Milwaukee chapter. Tim Keane, director of the Milwaukee-based Golden Angels Network and a leader in the national Angel Capital Association, will join Joe Kirgues of 94labs in explaining what crowd funding means to entrepreneurs.

The luncheon will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10499 Innovation Drive, Wauwatosa. Registration and networking begins at 11:30 a.m., lunch at noon and the presentation at 12:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for students, $25 for WIN members, Governor’s Business Plan Contest participants and Milwaukee County Research Park tenants, $35 for non-members and included with WIN corporate memberships.

Register here

Crowd funding – sometimes called crowd financing or crowd-sourced capital – allows people who network and pool their money, usually through the Internet, to support efforts ranging from non-profit groups to political campaigns. It has also been used to finance some for-profit companies, especially outside the United States.

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has frowned upon this idea in the United States, where only accredited investors are allowed to invest in entrepreneurs unless those entrepreneurs undertake extensive and costly disclosure of their business plans and make public the risks inherent to investing.

Congress is now working on legislation to allow crowd funding in an attempt to increase access to capital for job-creating small businesses. This legislation would allow for limited equity financing of companies by accredited and non-accredited investors. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill (H.R.2930); consideration of a Senate version (S.1791) is expected to begin soon.

WIN is the membership arm of the Tech Council, the independent, non-profit science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. It has chapters in Milwaukee, Madison, Northeast Wisconsin, Central Wisconsin, the Lake Superior region and Western Wisconsin.

To join WIN, go to www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com or call Gina Leahy at 608-442-7557.