Who's raising money? Follow Form D filings at SEC

Anyone who follows public companies should be familiar with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR online database.

Earnings reports, acquisitions and stock offerings are all disclosed in various filings. But since mid-March, the online system has also been providing more information about the financings of privately held companies.

To protect investors, federal and state securities regulators require any company selling securities privately to register with them or to notify them that their offering is exempt from registration.

Companies raising money privately may file notice of an exempt offering using the SEC’s Form D. While companies have been filing them on paper with the SEC for years, it’s only been since mid-March that the agency has required that the form be submitted electronically, making it available over EDGAR for the world to see.

The capital raised by companies filing a Form D may come from venture capital or private-equity firms, or wealthy individuals. And the sums can be quite large.

A recent report by the SEC’s Inspector General’s office said 20,021 Form D filings were made in 2008. It estimated that those exempt offerings raised $609 billion of capital last year.

Among the local firms that have filed Form Ds recently are drug developer Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc., team-apparel maker Boathouse Sports, medical-device maker Neuronetics Inc. and Internet video provider RedLasso Corp.

Form D lists a company’s address, executives and directors, the industry sector in which it operates, and a range of its annual revenues. But the meat of the form is on Line 13 where a company discloses how much it raised.

The most recent Form D filing I read for a local company was by Xanitos Inc., of Radnor. Organized in 2008, the company is described as being in the business-services industry with revenues of $5 million to $25 million.

Xanitos’ Form D states it raised $4,175,525 from 17 investors in late July. I’d never heard of Xanitos, but I know of its CEO, Graeme Crothall, a serial entrepreneur who’s built three hospital housekeeping services companies.

I couldn’t reach Crothall by phone, but the Xanitos Web site describes the story of how he’s trying to build his fourth firm focused on keeping hospital rooms clean.