1) What’s the purpose of the Maryland Exchange? The Maryland Exchange aims to promote local investment in Maryland. Given the capital challenges facing so many Baltimore businesses and entrepreneurs, we have a core focus on fostering local investment in Baltimore (although we work with businesses and people located across the state). We educate Maryland-based companies about new opportunities for raising capital through grassroots investment and help them prepare, launch, and run successful investment crowdfunding campaigns. We also educate residents about opportunities to invest locally by listing current investment crowdfunding offerings our homepage and through educational webinars, events, videos, social media, and resource links.
2) Do you put together the investment transactions? No. All the investment transactions occur exclusively on federally licensed crowdfunding portals. We just provide technical assistance, support, and information. We help local residents find investment offerings from local businesses, and we help prepare residents and businesses for these opportunities. If you’re interested in learning more about crowdfunding or securities law in general, please check out our other FAQs.
3) Who supports your work? We are a nonprofit initiative that is primarily funded by local foundations including Abell, T. Rowe Price, and PNC. We are incredibly grateful to these funders! Unfortunately, we still lack the resources needed to expand this work as broadly as possible. If you like what we are doing, we welcome your contributions.
4) How can I prepare myself to be an effective local investor? Read through these FAQs. Attend one of our free local investing workshops. Check out the free resources we have posted (and will continue to post) on our site and on our social media. If you want to dig even deeper, our Co-Founder, Michael Shuman, offers fee-based courses. You also could find one or more friends or neighbors to work with. Creating a small group, whether just an informal discussion group or a formal investment club, can share the work and is just more fun.
5) How can my company get capital through the Maryland Exchange? We don’t provide capital, per se, but we can help you develop and run a successful crowdfunding campaign. To help determine whether your company is a good candidate for crowdfunding, reach out to us—we’d welcome the opportunity to learn more about you and your business, and explore if/how we can support you.
6) Does the Maryland Exchange evaluate the companies it lists? Not exactly. Any company that raises capital from a federally licensed crowdfunding portal must go through a review process that includes vetting the company principals and its basic financial information. We help Baltimore companies interested in crowdfunding prepare for this process. We also prioritize working with companies that add value to the community— for example by being locally-, minority- and/or cooperatively owned, committed to paying liveable wages and benefits, and committed to eco-friendly practices. Some of the companies we review go on to crowdfund, other do not. You should always undertake an independent review of any company before you invest in it. See our FAQs for Local Investors.
FAQs About the Local Investing & The MD Neighborhood Exchange