Meet Rich Rodman, founder of Crowdentials
, a company with five employees in Cleveland that makes regulatory compliance software for the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act
. Crowdentials allows companies and investors to avoid the burden of complying with tricky regulations by simplifying and streamlining the process.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. From an early age I can remember selling anything I could get my hands on for a little bit of extra cash. When I was a student in high school I had a bad boss that pushed me over the edge. I quit and said I would never work for anyone again.
That experience propelled me to start a snow removal business in the snowy Cleveland winters, which propelled me through my first two years in college. After that I started my first tech startup at Ohio University and am on to my second tech startup now with Crowdentials. Six years and three companies later, I haven’t worked for anyone but myself.
Why did you start your Crowdentials?
I started Crowdentials because I couldn’t imagine the JOBS Act surviving without it. So many restrictions are put on investors and entrepreneurs that without Crowdentials, it would be impossible for the JOBS Act to thrive. I thought to myself: “Would I want to get blindsided by the SEC for committing a crime I didn’t even know existed?” The answer was no, so I quit my first company and started Crowdentials full time with my two business partners, Max Heckel and Rohan Kusre.
How did the SEC's July decision to lift the ban on general solicitation affect Crowdentials?
We have been waiting for regulations to pass for some time now, so the lift of the ban on general solicitation in July was a breath of fresh air. Since then, we have been so tied down with requests that we have not been able to reach out to companies yet. We are responding to the inquires full time. This is the least anticipated part of the JOBS Act, so our company is very excited for Title III, the section on crowdfunding, and all of the opportunities it will bring us.
What motivates you to go into work each day?
The motivation for me is a combination of satisfying our customers, investors, and team members. I don’t feel like I get up and work each day – I am living the dream. We create cool software and sell it to people who need it in order for their businesses to stay compliant with federal laws. I have the coolest job in the world. The only thing cooler than my job is the fact that we help customers run their businesses, gain a return for our investors, and have a great time doing it as a team.
What advice would you give to someone starting a company in Cleveland?
You’re in the right place at the right time. Now is the time for entrepreneurship in Cleveland. Get off the couch. Stop reading this article. Create something that can help someone.
Ideally, where will your company be in a year?
In one year, Crowdentials will be helping thousands of companies and investors comply with the JOBS Act. We are very excited for the future.