Chicken Soup For The Soul Entertainment Aims To 'Bring Out The Best In The Human Spirit' With A Crowdfunded IPO

"I hope it's gonna give us the resources to increase our ability to have a positive impact."

On July 17, 2017, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul Holdings (A Plus's parent company), made waves in the finance world by not only going public, but doing so in a way no other company has done before. 

Chicken Soup for the Soul's books began by crowdsourcing authentic and original stories from millions of contributors, and the company has taken that same approach to its video content through an equity crowdfunding campaign. In just a month after its original announcement, the company has upsized its IPO to its maximum possible deal size of $30 million, following an increased demand for shares. 

A total 2,500,000 shares of stock were sold at $12 per share — making CSS Entertainment the largest exchange-listed IPO completed under Regulation A+ (an alternative to a traditional IPO that is favored by smaller companies), as well as the first to list on the Nasdaq Global Market. 

"One of the reasons that we chose the approach that we did is... individual investors often don't get a chance to participate," William J. Rouhana Jr., chairman and CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul, told A Plus. "That didn't seem fair to us. That's not very Chicken Soup-y." 

Rouhana and the CSSE team celebrating the successful IPO at  Nasdaq on August 18.

He wanted to find a way to allow regular people who love the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand to become more involved in guiding its future."By doing it the way we did, we were able to ensure that people were able to participate on a first come, first serve basis — rather than based on the size of your bank account, so to speak," Rouhana explained. "It's really all about our values." 

By opening up investment opportunities for those who "are never really given a fair shake in the markets," Rouhana is optimistic that other companies may follow suit. "I do hope that we will help to open the door for more companies to do this because the way we did it was somewhat unique," he said. "We married the traditional Wall Street approach with the crowdfunding parts so we both guaranteed individuals access, while the balance went to various Wall Street firms." Having run two public companies prior to Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rouhana noted the importance of having Wall Street's support during this process.

Host Brooke Burke during a segment of Chicken Soup for the Soul's Hidden Heroes show.

By taking the company public, Rouhana aims to take Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment into a new, "exciting" stage where the company can create even more of the programming its fans — and now, investors — already love, such as Hidden Heroes on CBS. "Being kind, being compassionate, being respectful — these are all things we stand for, and I consider those critical elements, probably now more than ever," he said. "I hope it's gonna give us the resources to increase our ability to have a positive impact."


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