Gridmates.com Unveils New Energy Crowdfunding Site for Electric Utility Companies, Corporations and 501(c)(3) Non-Profits to Help Raise Money to Pay for Low-Income Customers’ Electricity Bills

13 Apr

The crowdfunding site will allow non-profits, disadvantaged, disabled and low-income customers to build profiles detailing their need for energy assistance and then match them to energy donors

By Robert Hoskins

Austin, Texas – Gridmates.com announced a new donation-based, energy crowdfunding site that will allow donors to browse through a directory of distressed electricity customer profiles and then donate energy assistance. The site seeks to help low-income customers such as single moms with young children, elderly couples, disabled veterans, storm/hurricane survivors and unemployed people that for some reason are living in energy poverty and need temporary help paying their electricity bills.

Gridmates Energy Donation Crowdfunding Site for Low-Income Homes

Gridmates Energy Donation Crowdfunding Site for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Programs

For fun, please check out the energy donation process. It is very easy. Donors simply search through the Gridmates energy crowdfunding profiles until they find one they want to support. Next, donors simply type in a dollar amount into the energy calculator, which shows contributors how many days of energy they will be sharing. Energy donations can be billed to any valid credit card or to a PayPal account.

The first energy crowdfunding profile to be listed is Mobile Loaves and FishesCommunity First Village located in Austin, Texas. This coming June, the Community First Village will be moving 240 homeless and disabled people off the streets of Austin into new shelters where they will receive warm meals and hot showers.

The Community First Village’s energy crowdfunding goal is to raise $85,000, which will provide enough electricity to power the homeless community for several months. The Gridmates site has already successfully raised more than 50% of the fundraising goal ($42,500), but more donors are needed to reach the final goal by the end of May.

All energy donations to the Community First Village are tax-deductible and are a great way to support people who are currently living without electricity.

People who donate $17.50 of energy will receive the reward of knowing that their contribution will be enough to pay for one week’s worth of electricity. A donation of $75 will be enough to pay for an entire month. These electricity donations will be used to turn on the lights, heat water, wash clothes, refrigerate/cook food and assist with many other household chores that most people take for granted.

“Imagine what it’s like to live in a dark shelter with cold showers and no way to refrigerate food or cook warm meals,” said George Koutitas, Gridmates’ CEO. “The Community First Village is a great opportunity for supporters and community relations managers throughout Texas to make a big difference for people who are living without electricity.”

“We are currently seeking more corporate sponsors to work with Austin Mayor Steve Alder and the City of Austin to raise enough money to pay the entire electricity bill,” Koutitas added. “If your business would like to help us raise money to fund this project, please give me a call on my personal cell phone at (512) 632-4363.”

As the Gridmates site grows, more and more energy poverty profiles will be added. The future platform will be able to segment energy crowdfunding profiles by energy needs, zip codes, geographic locations and by utility company service areas. Gridmates soon will be positioned perfectly to help electric utility companies throughout the United States begin collecting online donations to help them pay for their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP).

Gridmates is developing and soon will be beta-testing a new, scaled-up version of its energy crowdfunding site. The company is seeking Texas electric companies such as AEP, Austin Energy, CenterPoint Energy, Oncor Electric, Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), Reliant Energy, TXU Energy or any of the seventy-plus Texas electric cooperatives to help stress test the future site’s functionality.

Instead of blind giving, Gridmates’ mission is to let donors and philanthropists browse through real-life energy poverty profiles and find their own personal grid mate that they will enjoy supporting with their energy donations. Once the energy crowdfunding site has been verified and is ready to scale, Gridmates plans to rollout the service state-by-state in the U.S. and then on a country-by-country basis in international markets.

To participate, electric utility companies, corporate sponsors and non-profit organizations can all sign up at www.gridmates.com/corporations. Or send an email to contact@gridmates.com for more information on how to get started.

More details, facts, figures, logos and photos are available via the Gridmates online pressroom.

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Just in Time for Spring BBQs – the GoBQ grill is the Perfect Portable Solution for the Football Tailgating Crowd

13 Apr

The GoBQ Grill is the coolest way to cook a hot meal at the game partying with friends and then put it safely away before the first kickoff

By Robert Hoskins

Chicago, IL – Grilling enthusiasts across the globe are gobbling up a good opportunity to buy a GoBQ Grill during April. Right now outdoor adventurers can get a hot deal on a cool way to grill food at tailgating parties as well as other types of remote grilling opportunities such as hikes, trips to the beach and remote backpacking trips. Apparently the portable grill is serving a big appetite. In less that two weeks, their Indiegogo campaign  has raised more than 120% of their $30,000 goal with 196 backers from over 19 countries worldwide.

The GoBQ Grill is the coolest way to cook a hot meal

The GoBQ Grill is the coolest way to cook a hot meal and pack it away safely before the 1st kickoff!

The Indiegogo campaign can be found here:http://www.IndieGoBQ.com.

I guess that means it’s time to buy a grill and get ready to start cooking outdoors, but now grillers won’t have to be confined to their backyards or tethered to their SUVs.

Weighing in at only eight pounds, the patented GoBQ is a revolutionary grilling system complete with a metal grate cooking surface large enough to feed a family, chain basket to hold charcoal, and lid to contain heat.

But unlike other grills on the market, all GoBQ components fold in on themselves to become a black cylinder that resembles a small, sleek duffel bag. Take it with you camping, tailgating, picnicking, biking, boating or fishing, and people everywhere will ask, “Wait, that’s a grill?”

“What makes the GoBQ unique is you can sling it over your shoulder or stuff it in a backpack,” says co-founder and product chief Eric Goeken, who invented the GoBQ and built its early prototypes in his own garage.

After only five days on the market, critics are already weighing in on the ingenuity of the GoBQ. “Imagine a lightweight portable charcoal grill with nearly 200 square inches of cooking surface that fold up into a tiny little package,” says barbecue and grilling expert Derrick Riches of bbq.about.com. The GoBQ “could revolutionize the portable charcoal grill forever.”

The body of the GoBQ is made of a silicon-coated fiberglass material that can withstand flames and high temperatures. The fabric base, nickel-plated metal grate and charcoal basket all fold up to fit neatly inside the grill’s fabric lid, which also folds together to become its own compact carrying bag. Set up and tear down are a breeze, as the GoBQ body cools to the touch soon after dumping the charcoal embers—unlike other metal grills, which can take forever to cool down.

“The GoBQ is a game changer,” says company co-founder and CEO Todd Zaroban. “Those other so-called portable grills are either too cumbersome to carry or too flimsy to properly cook anything. We believe it will change the way people think about outdoor cooking.”

GoBQ is targeted to ship in August of this year, just in time for college and NFL football tailgating season.

The GoBQ Grill is a portable, packable grill made of heat and flameproof fabric that folds up like a camping chair to fit in a backpack or store in a drawer.  The GoBQ is the patented brainchild of start-up company Grillfold LLC and its founders—product design and engineering guru Eric Goeken, and Todd Zaroban, a successful entrepreneur with 25 years of marketing, branding and web development experience.

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Los Angeles-based Real Estate Equity Crowdfunding Platform Raises ~$24 Million to Fund Debt Investments and Pre-funded Real Estate Loans

13 Apr

Targeting one of the fastest growing verticals within the lending marketplace, Patch of Land’s real estate equity crowdfunding site has emerged as one of the industry’s most innovative companies

By Robert Hoskins

Los Angeles, CAPatchofLand.com announced that it has raised $23.6 million to finance one of the leading crowdfunding solutions for the real estate industry that brings together borrowers and lenders through a simple online interface.

The oversubscribed Series A round was led by SF Capital Group, a private investment firm focused on direct equity and debt investments in the financial technology space. Neil Wolfson, President of SF Capital Group will also join the Board of Directors of Patch of Land. Ron Suber, president of Prosper Marketplace, a leading online marketplace for consumer credit, also participated in the Series A round as a strategic investor.

Patch of Land Real Estate Crowdfunding

Patch of Land Real Estate Crowdfunding Raises $23.6 Million to Expand Debt Investments

“We are very pleased to have completed this round of financing,” said Jason Fritton, CEO Patch of Land’s CEO. “We look forward to working with SF Capital Group and welcome Neil to our board. Our ability to attract sophisticated investors such as SF Capital and industry thought leaders like Ron Suber clearly validates the strength of our business model. Neil and Ron understand marketplace lending and their collective advice and network of contacts will be integral to our continued growth and success.”

As one of the biggest issuers, by volume, of 506(c) real estate debt investments, Patch of Land will use the capital from the Series A financing to aggressively increase its market share and further expand the company’s leadership position through additional investment in the technology and data systems that power the marketplace. The company will also utilize these funds to hire additional leading real estate and technology professionals.

“The real estate lending marketplace is quickly transforming the way investors and developers interact, and Patch of Land is at the forefront of this change,” said Neil Wolfson, SF Capital Group’s President. “Patch of Land was one of the first companies to focus exclusively on real estate debt investments and the first to offer pre-funded loans, which dramatically shortens the time developers wait to get funded. The company is a true pioneer within this industry and its consistent and steady focus is clearly evident through the rapid growth of its portfolio. We are excited to work with this dynamic team and help them capture the tremendous opportunity they have identified.”

“I have witnessed first-hand the emergence and growth of marketplace lending. Real estate is one of the fastest growing verticals within all of marketplace lending, and Patch of Land has emerged as one of the most disruptive and innovative companies,” said Ron Suber. “I am very excited to help the company reach the next stage in its growth cycle.”

For over a year, Patch of Land has consistently grown its portfolio of short-term residential and commercial loans to qualified borrowers across America, quickly earning its place as one of the top real estate crowdfunding companies to launch since the JOBS Act was passed into law.

SF Capital Group is a private investment firm representing the interests of a single family. The firm invests across all asset classes with a flexible, long-term investment focus. SF Capital’s portfolios include allocations to traditional as well as alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity. The firm also invests in direct equity and debt investments of private companies.

Patch of Land (POL) is a crowdfunding solution for real estate financing that brings together borrowers and lenders through a simple online interface. Patch of Land’s goal is to solve the problem of inefficient, fragmented, and opaque real estate lending by using technology, data-driven processes, and expert human touch to create transparency and efficiently underwrite projects.

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Top 100 Crowdfunding Sites in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and other Global Markets in 2015

3 Apr

Seeking New Crowdfunding Sites on a Worldwide Basis to Be Ranked for the Upcoming June 2015 Top Crowdfunding Sites in the United States and the Rest of the World

 By Robert Hoskins

[Click to Tweet this Top 100 List to Your Friends]

United States – We are currently updating our List of the Top 100 Crowdfunding Sites for 2015 in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and other global markets.  

Clicking on the website traffic links below will take readers to one of the most insightful resources of information that details each website’s traffic ranking; the number of unique visitors per month; the average time spent on each site per visit; and the number of pages viewed per each visit.

Of more interest to crowdfunding campaign managers will be the precise ratio of social media, content marketing, search engine marketing, email marketing and display advertising that is being utilized by each crowdfunding site’s marketing campaigns to drive readers and investors to their crowdfunding profiles.

GoFundMe vs Kickstarter SimilarWeb Stats

GoFundMe vs Kickstarter SimilarWeb Stats

Even though these numbers reflect the aggregation of all of a given portal’s crowdfunding campaigns marketing efforts, they offer direct evidence of what is working and what is not.  Note the difference on how much social media and display advertising is being used by the Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites compared the lower 90 crowdfunding sites. 

This information can be used by crowdfunding sites as well as their crowdfunders to get a thorough understanding on how to plan future marketing campaigns that will have a higher than average success rate.

Want to know how GoFundMe just bypassed Kickstarter as the #1 crowdfunding platform on the planet? Click on the links below and use the comparison tool to show side-by-side comparisons of SEO keywords, link referrals, and social media usage. See the bottom of the page for more crowdfunding marketing tips.

[Click Here to Tweet this Top 100 List of Crowdfunding Sites]

Rank © Front Page PR   Global Rank
#1 (2014: #2) www.gofundme.com    1,318
#2 (2014: #1) www.kickstarter.com    1,373
#3 (2014: #3) www.angel.co    2,010
#4 (2014: #6) www.indiegogo.com    2,277
#5 (2014: #4) www.lendingclub.com    7,545
#6 (2014: #9) www.justgiving.com    8,558
#7 (2014: #8) www.youcaring.com   13,563
#8 (2014: #12) www.kiva.org     15,111
#9 (2014: #23) www.ulule.com   16,099
#10 (2014: #15) www.donorschoose.org    21,617
#11 (2014: #17) www.pledgemusic.com   24,461
#12 (2014: #13) www.crowdrise.com   26,906
#13 (2014: #18) www.tilt.com    29,512
#14 (2014: #10) www.giveforward.com    32,576
#15 (2014: #38) www.crowdcube.com    34,262
#16 (2014: #5) www.fundingcircle.com    34,307
#17 (2014: #14) www.razoo.com    44,329
#18 (2014: #16) www.fundly.com    48,132
#19 (2014: #36) www.pozible.com   48,898
#20 (2014: #19) www.firstgiving.com    58,401
#21 (2014: #20) www.fundrazr.com    64,163
#22 (2014: #27) www.circleup.com   68,095
#23 (2014: #25) www.fundable.com   73,430
#24 (2014: #new) www.kickante.com.br    75,510
#25 (2014: #26) www.crowdfunder.com    77,551
#26 (2014: #34) www.equitynet.com   88,181
#27 (2014: #new) www.zeczec.com   90,296
#28 (2014: #35) www.gogetfunding.com   97,023
#29 (2014: #29) www.fundrise.com 112,206
#30 (2014: #55) www.fundedbyme.com 116,409
#31 (2014: #new) www.experiment.com 133,573
#32 (2014: #22) www.realtymogul.com 134,519
#33 (2014: #61) www.geldvoorelkaar.nl 146,963
#34 (2014: #new) www.onevest.com 149,343
#35 (2014: #24) www.rockethub.com 149,430
#36 (2014: #33) www.wefunder.com 169,021
#37 (2014: #32) www.offbeatr.com 174,673
#38 (2014: #30) www.seedinvest.com 184,226
#39 (2014: #37) www.slated.com 210,555
#40 (2014: #new) www.patchofland.com 220,267
#41 (2014: #43) www.givezooks.com 234,356
#42 (2014: #58) www.pledgie.com 241,865
#43 (2014: #new) www.microventures.com  241,967
#44 (2014: #28) www.fundanything.com 248,200
#45 (2014: #46) www.ourcrowd.com 248,635
#46 (2014: #44) www.pave.com 268,856
#47 (2014: #68) www.growvc.com 285,285
#48 (2014: #62) www.ppl.com.pt 297,874
#49 (2014: #48) www.dragoninnovation.com 306,056
#50 (2014: #54) hwww.seedandspark.com 319,789
#51 (2014: #47) www.pubslush.com 336,465
#52 (2014: #41) www.opportunity.org 354,764
#53 (2014: #45) www.peerform.com 376,044
#54 (2014: #60) www.bolstr.com 388,543
#55 (2014: #new) www.investx.com 403,141
#56 (2014: #11) www.uinvest.com.ua 417,925
#57 (2014: #new) www.plumfund.com  421,110
#58 (2014: #40) www.fundraise.com 433,539
#59 (2014: #new) www.earlyshares.com 442,508
#60 (2014: #new) www.barnraiser.us 482,296
#61 (2014: #new) www.flashfunders.com 485,226
#62 (2014: #new) www.trucrowd.com 485,665
#63 (2014: #57) www.piggybackr.com 518,504
#64 (2014: #67) www.symbid.com 558,247
#65 (2014: #new) www.crowdstreet.com 704,602
#66 (2014: #39) www.assetavenue.com 742,849
#67 (2014: #51) www.microgiving.com 834,667
#68 (2014: #new) pitchfunder.asufoundation.org 861,826
#69 (2014: #77) www.artistshare.com 928,003
#70 (2014: #new) www.nextseed.com 992,563
#71 (2014: #76) www.appsfunder.com 1,047,453
#72 (2014: #42) www.assob.com.au 1,049,032
#73 (2014: #79) www.foodstart.com 1,080,478
#74 (2014: #new) www.loquidity.com  1,087,691
#75 (2014: #70) www.faithlauncher.com 1,089,032
#76 (2014: #80) www.solarmosaic.com 1,108,499
#77 (2014: #new) www.crowdfundingpays.com 1,256,560
#78 (2014: #new) www.dreamfunded.com 1,267,585
#79 (2014: #82) www.propellr.com 1,350,583
#80 (2014: #75) www.pledgecents.com 1,363,715
#81 (2014: #new) www.massventure.com 1,388,521
#82 (2014: #new) www.crowd2fund.com 1,494,834
#83 (2014: #96) www.ipledg.com 1,567,232
#84 (2014: #new) www.texasenetworks.com 1,721,280
#85 (2014: #63) www.icrowd.com 1,769,510
#86 (2014: #65) www.banktothefuture.com 1,836,932
#87 (2014: #new) www.acquirerealestate.com 2,169,205
#88 (2014: #056) www.sterlingfunder.com 2,533,134
#89 (2014: #new) www.realtywealth.com 2,647,893
#90 (2014: #85) www.massivemov.com 2,826,166
#91 (2014: #89) www.venturehealth.com 3,931,192
#92 (2014: #31) www.rockthepost.com 4,505,534
#93 (2014: #84) www.funderhut.com 5,182,841
#94 (2014: #83) www.fundafeast.com 5,325,919
#95 (2014: #71) www.crowdit.com 5,535,187
#96 (2014: #88) www.crowdhelps.com 5,892,083
#97 (2014: #95) www.crowdfundingbank.com 6,503,461
#98 (2014: #98) www.startacure.com 8,281,014
#99 (2014: #78) www.cMEcompete.com 9,332,644
#100 (2014: #87) www.endlesscrowds.com 12,934,557

Source: Feb 2015 SimilarWeb Website Statistics

Crowdfunding PR’s goal is simple. We want to make it possible for crowdfunders to shop for  crowdfunding platforms in a similar manner to the way media planners/buyers used to analyze ABC and BPA audit statements to buy advertisements in the business-to-business trade publication industry, where important media buying decisions were based on straight mathematics, not popularity or random guessing.

For example, would you rather run a crowdfunding campaign on a site where visitors are looking at 2-3 pages in around 3 minute’s time or a site where buyers are spending 6 to 11 minutes reviewing 6 to 10 pages?

This is the difference between shoppers who are visiting a site to see a particular crowdfunding campaign based on a marketing campaign versus people who are visiting a site to explore and actually shop around to find good deals to buy or invest their money.

This is why launching a campaign on Kickstarter or GoFundMe does not guarantee success. While GoFundMe or Kickstarter may be the largest sites in the world, people are only spending enough time to shop through more than 2 to 3 crowdfunding profiles before they exit. While other sites like Razoo.com, DonorsChoose.org, and FundingCircle.com have visitors that stay more than 6 to 11 minutes and view 6 to 10 pages.

When researching, planning and executing successful marketing programs for both crowdfunding platforms as well as their individual crowdfunding customer profiles, it is extremely important to see what is driving the most traffic to any given crowdfunding site.  Success is usually determined not only by what site the crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on, but also the marketing programs being harnessed to drive potential donors/investors to a specific crowdfunding profile.

Clicking on each link above will allow media planners/buyers to understand what role direct traffic (content marketing), search engines (SEO, PPC Advertising), social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Quora), email marketing and display advertising (Google Display, Outbrain, AppNexus) are having on the success of crowdfunding campaigns.

For example, when planning a social media strategy, one of the most popular questions we get asked is – what social media networks are driving the most visitor traffic? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram? The links above will make this answer crystal clear.

Not satisfied with your position on the list? Front Page PR’s team of crowdfunding PR, social media and marketing experts can help crowdfunding sites and crowdfunding campaigns plan the perfect mix of integrated marketing programs to significantly improve the amount of website traffic being driven to any given fundraising campaign or crowdfunding platform.

Feel free to call (512) 627-6622 with questions or request help to improve your website statistics before June.

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If you’d like to add your site to the Top 100 list, please fill out the form below.

Leading Crowdfunding Research Industry Analyst Firm Forecasts $34.4 Billion Global Industry Growth in 2015

31 Mar

Massolution crowdfunding research reports that crowdfunding portals raised $16.2 billion in 2014, a 167% increase over the $6.1 billion raised in 2013

 By Robert Hoskins

Los Angeles, California – Crowdfunding is accelerating at an unprecedented rate and impacting government policy, informing enterprise innovation, and changing the role of financial institutions around the world. Massolution, the leading research firm in world that specializes in reporting on the growing crowdfunding industry, released its annual 2015CF – Crowdfunding Industry Report

2015 Crowdfunding Industry Report Covering the United States Europe Asia, South America and Africa

2015 Crowdfunding Industry Report Covering the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Oceania and Africa

After collecting data on 1,250 active crowdfunding platforms (CFPs) worldwide and undertaking significant further research, the results reveal that CFPs raised $16.2 billion in 2014, a 167% increase over the $6.1 billion raised in 2013.

North America still accounts for the largest market but 2014 saw Asia overtake Europe, by a small margin. With exponential growth in Asia, Massolution forecasts this lead will increase significantly in 2015 with the delta between Asia and Europe increasing to over $4 Billion.

The report predicts that Europe’s 20.1% of market share in 2014 will decline slightly in 2015 when Europe will account for 18.8% of the worldwide market.

“In April 2013 we predicted that total crowdfunding volume by the end of 2013 would nearly double from 2012’s $2.7 billion but in fact the market reached $6.1 billion, largely due to faster growth than anticipated in Asia. Acceleration continued in 2014 achieving an impressive $16.2 billion in funding volume and we are forecasting that worldwide crowdfunding volumes will more than double again in 2015, to reach $34.4,” said Carl Esposti, Massolution’s CEO.  “Surprises materializing from this year’s research included GoFundMe topping Kickstarter as the largest donation/reward based CFP and astounding growth in the P2P lending market in Asia, stemming largely from the Chinese market. Further, the top 5 CFPs in North America increased wallet share during the period 2011-14 while in Europe the top 5 lost 30% of their market share, indicating that the markets in North America and Europe are shaping up very differently.”

Growth Rates By Region in 2014
North America retained its market lead in 2014 but Asia topped Europe to become the second largest region by funding volume.

  • North America: crowdfunding volumes grew 145% to $9.46 billion
  • Asia: crowdfunding volumes grew 320% to $3.4 billion
  • Europe: crowdfunding volumes grew 141% to $3.26 billion
  • South America, Oceania and Africa grew 167%, 59% and 101%, respectively

Growth Rates By Models in 2014
The growth in funding volumes continued to be primarily driven by lending-based crowdfunding, but significant annual growth in equity-based crowdfunding and increased adoption of newer hybrid and royalty-based models indicates that the allocation of funding volume across different models will be more highly distributed over the coming years.

  • Lending-based crowdfunding grew 223% to $11.08 billion
  • Equity-based crowdfunding grew 182% to $1.1 billion
  • Hybrid-based crowdfunding grew 290% to $487 million
  • Royalty-based crowdfunding grew 336% to $273 million
  • Donation- and Reward-based crowdfunding grew 45% and 84% respectively

Most Active Categories in 2014
Crowdfunding’s popularity as a way to fund creative, philanthropic, and social endeavors still prevails but crowdfunding’s application for entrepreneurial ventures began to gain significant traction over the last few years. Business and Entrepreneurship had become the lead category by 2012 at 27.4% of total crowdfunding volume and in 2014 had increased in importance, accounting for over 40% of worldwide funding volume. In 2014, the lead categories share of funding volume was:

  • Business & Entrepreneurship at 41.3% / $6.7bn
  • Social Causes 18.9% / $3.06bn
  • Films & Performing Arts 12.13% / $1.97bn
  • Real Estate 6.25% / $1.01bn
  • Music and Recording Arts 4.54%/ $736m

Further insights in the 2015 Crowdfunding Research Report include:

  • Historical comparison of crowdfunding’s growth 2011 through 2014
  • Breakdown of Regional funding volume by model and model by region
  • Top 11 performing crowdfunding categories
  • Average deal size for each crowdfunding model
  • Crowdfunding outlook trends: 15 major developments
  • CFP leaderboards worldwide, by region and by model
  • Growth in CFP numbers and worldwide distribution
  • Market predictions for 2015 by region and model

Research Methodology
The 2015 – Crowdfunding Industry Report is a research report that provides a unique and in-depth analysis of crowdfunding market size, composition, trends and composition. The Crowdfunding Industry Survey, to which Massolution received 463 high-quality responses, was conducted during late 2014 and early 2015 and resulted in the most comprehensive data collection on the worldwide crowdfunding market to date. Massolution has conducted significant follow-up research via other reliable channels to complete the profiling of the global crowdfunding industry.

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New Equity Crowdfunding Platform iAngels.co Raises $2.25 Million Seed Round from Accredited Investors Who Want to Invest Alongside the Experts

30 Mar

iAngels became the 15th company to successfully raise funds through the iAngels equity crowdfunding site, raising $1.25 million from some of Israel’s most successful super angel investors

By Robert Hoskins

Tel Aviv, Israel iAngels is a leading equity crowdfunding platform that enables private investors to co-invest with Startup Nation’s leading angels and gain access to exclusive early-stage opportunities. The iAngels site recently announced that it has raised a $2.25 million Seed Round led by Roman Abramovich’s fund, Millhouse Capital.

iAngels is a leading equity crowdfunding platform that enables private investors to coinvest with Startup Nation's leading angels and gain access to exclusive early-stage opportunities

iAngels is a leading equity crowdfunding platform that enables private investors to co-invest with Startup Nation’s leading angels and gain access to exclusive early-stage opportunities

iAngels became the 15th company to successfully raise funds through the iAngels online platform, raising $1.25 million from some of Israel’s most successful angels, and an additional $1 million from its global community of investors within two days.

“We are very confident in the elite angels we’ve identified and their ability to spot the winners,” said Shelly Hod Moyal, Founding Partner at iAngels. “In fact, we’ve structured our business model to take the same risk that investors take when they invest in Israeli startups through the iAngels platform.”

“With iAngels, gone are the days when the crowdfunding platform could make money without the angels themselves succeeding,” added Mor Assia, Founding Partner at iAngels. “High-Net-Worth Individuals are choosing to co-invest with leading Israeli angels through the iAngels platform because they appreciate our unique ability to find and engage Israel’s top performing angels and analyze their investment opportunities to make sound recommendations to our angel community.”

Israel’s elite angels and Roman Abramovich’s fund, Millhouse Capital, subscribe to Assia and Hod Moyal’s rationale. Angel Investors who participated in the Seed Round led by Millhouse Capital include Marc Lasry, Boaz Weinstein, Alex Waislitz, Drew Schaefer, Gigi Levy, David Assia, Daniel Recanati, Yanki Margalit and Marcy Simon.

“iAngels provides unparalleled access to Israel’s best deal flow,” noted Gigi Levy Weiss, iAngels Advisor and one of Israel’s most successful angel investors. “The company’s unique model of investing alongside Israel’s top angels guarantees the quality of the selected companies and helps accredited investors worldwide beat the odds and make money from this coveted asset class.”

The year-old iAngels has already connected its investor community to a robust pipeline of high potential Israeli companies. In 2014, 15 Israeli companies successfully raised capital through the platform, led by the conviction of Israel’s top Angel investors and validated by the wisdom of the iAngels crowd. The iAngels investment portfolio includes promising companies such as TravelersBox, Hello Doctor, Webyclip, NanorepDrippler and Biscience.

“We cherry pick only the most promising Israeli startups, selecting only 5% of the investment opportunities we evaluate, said Assia. “Private investors around the world benefit from the due diligence performed by both iAngels and Israel’s top performing angel investors. We expect significant growth in 2015.”

iAngels is an angel investing equity crowdfunding platform that provides accredited investors around the world access to exclusive deals backed by Israel’s top performing early-stage investors under the terms they negotiated.

iAngels founders Mor Assia and Shelly Hod Moyal leverage analytics, visibility and relationships with angels and entrepreneurs to open a closed network of professional investors to the investing public.

By combining the proven experience of professional angel investors with due diligence and analysis, iAngels offers investors the most attractive early-stage investment opportunities in “Startup Nation.” 

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Crowdcube’s Spain Equity Crowdfunding Site Surpasses €1 Million for Six Startups

30 Mar

A Barcelona-based drone company,HEMAV, broke the record for the largest equity crowdfunding round in Spain raising €450,000 in just six days

By Robert Hoskins

Spain – Crowdcube opened its Spanish operation just nine months ago. Since it launched, over €1 million has been raised by its investor base who can invest anything from €10. The largest investment to date has been €112,000 and the average investment €3,290. The finance raised has funded six businesses operating in a range of sectors including food and beverage, finance and business services.

Crowdcube enables anyone to invest alongside professional investors in start-up early stage and growth businesses

Crowdcube.com enables anyone to invest alongside professional investors in start-up early stage and growth businesses through equity, debt and investment fund options

One of the businesses to raise finance on the platform was HEMAV, a Barcelona-based drone company, which broke the record for the largest equity crowdfunding round in Spain. The company raised €450,000 in just six days after attracting investment from more than 70 people.

The most recent business to successfully raise investments on the site was Zank, a peer-to-peer lending platform, which raised €245,000 from over 70 investors. As part of the round, the company also received funds from ESADE Ban, the business angel network of the ESADE business school . Zank was the first lending platform in Spain to secure funding through crowdfunding.

Crowdcube Spain has also raised investment for, Iberic Box, a company that sells traditional Spanish food; Eureka Startup Experts, a marketplace that connects entrepreneurs with advisors and industry experts; FoodintheBox, a subscription box service for cooking ingredients; Seedbox, a subscription box for growing vegetables at home.

Managing director of Crowdcube Spain, Pepe Borrell, commented, “There is a real gap in funding for start-ups and early stage businesses in Spain so I’m pleased that we’ve already been able to fund six businesses and that Spanish investors are embracing crowdfunding. The alternative finance sector has grown at a rapid pace in the UK and we’re now seeing the same trends emerge in Spain. There’s a huge potential market for crowdfunding in Spain so we’re excited about the future of Crowdcube Spain.”

Darren Westlake, CEO and co-founder of Crowdcube added, “Having a strong presence at a local level is key to the success of our overseas operation, and to ensuring Crowdcube’s remains the world’s leading investment crowdfunding platform; so it’s great to see Spain achieve these milestones at such an early stage.”

There are currently eight businesses on Crowdcube Spain pitching for a total investment of €995,000.

Crowdcube Spain is one of seven partnerships in Crowdcube’s overseas operation, the company now has platforms in Brazil, Sweden, Dubai, Poland, Italy, Spain and New Zealand.

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Manta Research Reports that Most Small Businesses are Still Unaware of Crowdfunding as an Alternative Finance Option

29 Mar

Most notably, 23 percent have funded a business project using an alternative lender, other than a traditional bank, but only two percent report having ever used a crowdfunding platform

By Robert Hoskins

Columbus, Ohio – Even though the alternative financing market is expanding at an exponential rate, a new Manta business survey reveals that two-thirds of small business owners still do not think enough funding options are available. Additionally, 69 percent feel the funding environment has not improved in the past 12 months.

Small businesses slow to jump on the alternative financing bandwagon, but interest growing
Alternative funding opportunities, including crowdfunding, are growing at a rapid rate, but the survey showcases a cautious approach by small business owners. Most notably, 23 percent have funded a business project using an alternative lender (other than a traditional bank), but only two percent report having ever used a crowdfunding platform. Lack of awareness and persistent misconceptions may be the cause.

Manta Research Reports that Most Small Businesses are Still Unaware of Crowdfunding as an Alternative Finance Option

Manta Research Reports that Most Small Businesses are Still Unaware of Crowdfunding

The majority of small business owners who have obtained traditional loans note uncertainty regarding crowdfunding and alternative lending options. Thirty percent of respondents are unsure of the risks, another 20 percent don’t understand the technology associated with these alternative sources and 14 percent report they simply do not trust them. A small number believe crowdfunding sites and alternative lenders are too complicated, while others fear business failure with less traditional financing methods (seven percent and six percent, respectively).

Traditional financing options still most popular with business owners
Manta’s survey revealed that, despite a diversifying lending environment, small business owners overwhelmingly prefer traditional financing options. More than 70 percent of respondents have sought traditional bank loans, savings, credit cards, or help from friends and family to finance their business, while less than a quarter have utilized an alternative lender (other than a bank).

“Small business owners have more diverse options today than ever before when it comes to funding their business,” said John Swanciger, CEO, Manta. “However, we’re seeing a gap between what’s available and the perception among small businesses that the lending environment has not improved. Even though traditional bank loans are difficult to secure, small businesses are still apt to rely on them.”

Of the small business owners who financed their business through alternative lenders, 38 percent did so because they did not qualify for traditional bank financing. Nearly 20 percent sought alternative lending because they needed a small short-term loan, while nine percent recognized the fast access and convenience associated with alternative lending options, and seven percent wanted ongoing access to a credit line.

The survey results also showed that when small business owners received alternative financing, the amounts they borrowed varied greatly. Most (40 percent) borrowed $10,000 or less. Others aimed higher, with 27 percent borrowing $50,000 or more. Remaining respondents were split — 17 percent borrowed $10,000 – $20,000 and another 17 percent borrowed $20,000 – $50,000.

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SEC Approves Regulation A+ Rules under Title IV of the JOBS Act that Pre-empts State Law and Paves the Way for Selling Up to $50 Million of Equity Crowdfunding Securities to Unaccredited Investors

25 Mar

There are no general solicitation restrictions so companies can freely advertise, market and publicize offerings at demo days, trade shows, mass media and via social media networks

 By Robert Hoskins

Washington, D.C. – The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules unanimously to facilitate smaller companies’ access to capital.  The new rules provide investors with more investment choices.The new rules update and expand Title IV Regulation A+, an existing exemption from registration for smaller issuers of securities.

SEC Approves Regulation A+ Rules under Title IV of the JOBS Act

SEC Approves Regulation A+ Rules under Title IV of the JOBS Act

The rules are mandated by Title IV of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.The updated exemption will enable smaller companies to offer and sell up to $50 million of securities in a 12-month period, subject to eligibility, disclosure and reporting requirements.

“These new rules provide an effective, workable path to raising capital that also provides strong investor protections,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White.  “It is important for the Commission to continue to look for ways that our rules can facilitate capital-raising by smaller companies.”

The final rules, often referred to as Regulation A+, provide for two tiers of equity crowdfunding securities offerings:

  • Tier 1:  Offerings of securities of up to $20 million in a 12-month period, with not more than $6 million in offers by selling security-holders that are affiliates of the issuer; and
  • Tier 2: Offerings of securities of up to $50 million in a 12-month period, with not more than $15 million in offers by selling security-holders that are affiliates of the issuer.

Both Tiers are subject to certain basic requirements while Tier 2 offerings are also subject to additional disclosure and ongoing reporting requirements.

The final rules also provide for the preemption of state securities law registration and qualification requirements for securities offered or sold to “qualified purchasers” in Tier 2 offerings.

Tier 1 offerings will be subject to federal and state registration and qualification requirements, and issuers may take advantage of the coordinated review program developed by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

The rules will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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BidOkee Adds Auctions, Draws, Referral Competitions and Traditional Gamification Services for Do It Yourself (DIY) Crowdfunding Campaigns

20 Mar

Elements of points, badges, leaderboards (PBLs)  engages and motivates people to achieve goals and enhances acquisition, retention and monetization of backers

 By Robert Hoskins

Vancouver, B.C. – BidOkee has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model the company is calling “Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding.”  With BidOkee customers own their own crowdfunding site and their crowdfunders information from the start, and there isn’t a time limit on crowdfunding campaigns.

BidOkee provides backers with reward points to compete with in auctions and contests. If a crowdfunding campaign manager’s contacts can’t afford to donate, they can still earn loyalty points for referring people, which makes it possible to grow a crowdfunding campaign’s social network. 

BidOkee’s CEO, Eyal Lichtmann, contends that a major problem with crowdfunding is that small campaigns are being pushed aside as big corporations look to dominate the industry.  

Dr. Richard Swart, the director of research on crowdfinance at UC Berkeley, recently said that “that there are 10 to 20 Fortune 100 companies participating in Berkeley’s new Crowdfinance program that are thinking about launching a corporate crowdfunding campaign.”

Bidokee DIY Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding Business Model

BidOkee DIY Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding Business Model

Approximately one million crowdfunding campaigns are launched annually. Over $20 billion in crowdfunding transactions will occur this year – a 100% increase over last year – according to Equitynet. Another research report from the World Bank estimates that, by 2025, this number will spike to $300 billion annually, while others estimate as high as $500 billion that will contribute up to $3.2 trillion in economic development activity.

Entrepreneur.com reports how difficult it is for start-ups to get funding despite the proliferation of crowdfunding worldwide. Currently 90% of the world’s online population has access to crowdfunding and $1,400 is raised in donations every minute. Still, only 3% of all start-up funding comes from crowdfunding.

And E-commerce Times reports that Fortune 500 firms are actively experimenting with crowdfunding as a product launch and testing platform, potentially pushing out the small players. UC Berkeley is actually looking into providing courses for corporate executives wanting to launch crowdfunding campaigns. In addition, many charities, NGOs and scientific and health research projects are also looking to crowdfund their projects.

“As a result, traditional crowdfunding platforms, and the industry as a whole, are becoming very crowded,” Lichtmann says. “With more and more competition, including consultants and corporate campaigns, the bar is getting higher for small businesses. The cost and effort to successfully execute large campaigns is becoming prohibitive for many small firms and entrepreneurs. As crowdfunding platforms get bigger, start-ups are getting pushed out.”

“Breaking through the barriers is an uphill battle,” Lichtmann continues, “especially now, as small start-ups are being eclipsed by hundreds or thousands of campaigns launched by deep-pocketed Fortune 500 companies and established organizations. The biggest advertising and marketing firms, scientists and crowdfunding consultants are taking over. The bigger the crowdfunding site, the less a small start-up can compete.”

Dr. Richard Swart, the director of research on crowdfinance at UC Berkeley, indicated there are Fortune 100 companies that are thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Corporations have enormous resources to launch and build support for their crowdfunding campaigns and that is driving the cost of crowdfunding services higher for the little guy. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Dodge and DC Comics are using crowdfunding for marketing purposes, with the deleterious effect of marginalizing smaller players seeking to raise funds on the same platforms while at the same time driving up marketing, PR, consultancy and production costs within the industry.

“Crowdfunding was intended to enhance the start-up experience and bypass the onerous process of finding traditional investors to launch an idea or product,” says Lichtmann. “It was not intended as a marketing platform for established or already successful companies.”

An example, he says, is the Pebble watch, which already had sufficient cash on hand for their project but wanted the additional exposure Kickstarter offered.

“And now the biggest consumer companies in the world are moving into crowdfunding as a platform to market-test and pay for their product launches,” says Lichtmann. “This is counter to the whole notion of crowdfunding, which was supposed to assist start-ups penetrating the vast expanse of the marketplace.”

Some activist-commentators are calling out the commandeering of crowdfunding by multinational behemoths, though not everyone agrees, and a healthy debate is beginning.

“The survival of crowdfunding requires a true cooperative model that has the best interest of the small player in mind,” he says.

Lichtmann’s company, BidOkee, has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model.

“The DIY model we are building allows people the freedom to share, cooperate, assist, collaborate and utilize more human resources through cross-pollination of projects and ideas to yield infinitely more unique possibilities,” he says.

Scott Steinberg, author of The Crowdfunding Bible, featured BidOkee on NewsWatch TV. He declared: “This could change crowdfunding as we know it.”

Combining DIY with a cooperative model may sound contradictory, Lichtmann acknowledges.

“But a do-it-yourself model is about being wholly independent,” he says. “And the cooperative model is about relying on the goodwill and assistance of others. And that is the exact formula BidOkee is looking to propagate.”

BidOkee is establishing a cooperative model through which networks, resources, wisdom, advice, connections and best practices are shared between campaigns.

“If we reach our goals, we hope to share over $100 million annually back with campaigns,” he says. “But that number can grow higher. In addition, we are looking at cross-pollination opportunities that allow one successful start-up crowdfunding campaign to assist another start-up campaign with backers, users and other resources. Also, with the integration of loyalty rewards through a gamified system, campaigns can have access to tens of thousands of additional leads for their campaigns. We want to change 60% failure rates to 80% success rates. That is what we are striving for.”

As Darryl Burma, CEO of Crowdmapped.com says, “BidOkee will definitely disrupt the industry. It is doing something we have not seen before and is a game-changer.”

BidOkee is currently developing the beta platform into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which will give anyone the opportunity to launch their own independent, self-directed crowdfunding campaign with tools and features no other platform offers.

“We are now crowdfunding for crowdfunding and hope people will support our campaign to get this model to market” says Lichtmann. “We think this is the future – a future that realizes crowdfunding’s original potential.”

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