For a company to register securities for sale, it must file a registration statement with the SEC. The registration statement must include a prospectus, which markets the stock to the public, financial reports, and additional information. Issuers can choose from a number of Securities Act registration forms, but initial offerings, used when companies first go public, are most commonly registered on Form S-1 or Form F-1.
Two of the most common offering exemptions are contained in Rules 504 and 506(c) of Regulation D of the Securities Act. Rule 504 is known as Limited Crowdfunding because general solicitation and advertising may only be used in limited circumstances as discussed below. Rule 506(c) is also known as Accredited Crowdfunding because general solicitation and advertising may be used thus, appealing to a crowd. Most states have enacted rules known as blue sky laws to facilitate Rule 504 and Rule 506(c) offerings under federal Regulation D.