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Life Sciences Commercialization Firm to Crowdfund IPO

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(bfishadow, WikimediaCommons)

4 June 2015. Innovation Economy Corporation is going public by skipping the usual route of hiring an investment bank, and instead will use crowdfunding to attract investors to its initial public offering of stock. The Riverside, California enterprise, that goes by the trade name ieCrowd, licenses life science and health-related technologies from university research labs for commercialization, and expects to raise some $20 million through this process.

ieCrowd, founded in 2010, helps labs at universities and research institutes bring discoveries to market. The company licenses technologies from institutions, forms spin-off enterprises as a subsidiaries, and provides initial funding and business infrastructure — e.g., facilities and management — to get new businesses off the ground. While the company says it operates nationwide, its first crop of spin-off enterprises are all from California.

In its IPO, ieCrowd plans to offer 3,125,000 units at a price of $6.40 per unit. Each unit has 1 share of common stock and a warrant to purchase a half-share of common stock at $8.00 per entire share within 36 months. A warrant enables the holder to buy additional shares, but is not obligated to do so. The IPO runs through 15 July 2015, after which time, ieCrowd’s shares will trade on the NASDAQ exchange under ticker symbol MYIE.

Under the conventional IPO process, a company going public hires an investment bank to underwrite the stock offering, either marketing all of the initial shares or forming a syndicate of investment banks to offer shares to their investor clients. In this case, ieCrowd is bypassing investment banks with crowdfunding to attract its IPO investors. The company is using the BANQ crowdfunding investment platform from TriPoint Global Equities.

One of the first companies supported by ieCrowd is Olfactor Laboratories, reported on by Science & Enterprise in July 2013. Olfactor Laboratories makes the Kite, a small (1.5 inch square) patch worn on clothing that repels mosquitoes for 48 hours. The Kite is based on research by entomologist Anandasankar Ray at University of California in Riverside on compounds to inhibit the receptor in mosquitoes and other insects to track carbon dioxide exhaled by humans.

Another ieCrowd client profiled in Science & Enterprise (in April 2012) is Nuuma, a spin-off also from University of California in Riverside commercializing research by engineering professor Nosang Myung. Nuuma, first named Nano Engineered Applications, is developing miniaturized sensor chips to detect gases in concentrations as low as parts per billion. The chips are designed with carbon nanotubes to be embedded in other devices, with the goal of simultaneously detecting multiple gaseous substances.

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