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Archive | February, 2014

Philadelphia Businesses Harness Marketing Power of Donation-based Crowdfunding Campaigns to Support Local Charities

27 Feb

Giving back to the community by donating perks for local charities is a win-win community outreach program for Philadelphia crowdfunding campaigns

By Robert Hoskins

Based in Philadelphia, PA, a local start-up social enterprise that helps nonprofits and other causes raise money online, announced it has recruited more than 40 businesses to participate in the GiveToBenefit Merchant Partner program.  

GivetoBenefit Donation-Based Crowdfunding Perks

GivetoBenefit Donation-Based Crowdfunding Perks

The program – which is the first of its kind in the crowdfunding category – involves businesses agreeing to provide incentives to organizations who spend the money they raise on GiveToBenefit.com on their products and services.  This is the type of program that should be rolled out in every big city in America to promote social causes.

How the GiveToBenefit Merchant Partner program works:

  1. A merchant creates a free listing on GiveToBenefit.com and agrees to provide special offers to a nonprofit or other cause-related organization who selects them as their provider.
  2. A nonprofit or other cause-related organization launches a fund drive on GiveToBenefit.com.
  3. The nonprofit pre-selects a local merchant where the money raised will be spent.
  4. GiveToBenefit releases 100% of the funds raised (the nonprofit pays no fees, unlike on other crowdfunding sites) – to the merchant after the campaign ends.
  5. The merchant and the nonprofit complete the transaction.

“By elevating the role of the merchant, we are evolving the crowdfunding model for the better,” says GiveToBenefit CEO Daniel M. Sossaman, II. “With GiveToBenefit.com, everybody wins: Local merchants generate new sales and brand awareness; cause-related organizations receive more in goods and services for every dollar they raise; and GiveToBenefit is compensated for facilitating the exchange.”

“By automatically generating leads and potential sales for us, GiveToBenefit is like having another marketing or sales resource on my staff,” says Dave Matthias, president of Penn Photomounts in Aston, Pa. “But beyond the clear business value that the GiveToBenefit Merchant Partner program represents, I really like how this program makes it easy for my company to do something good for my community.”

With plans to expand nationwide, the GiveToBenefit Merchant Partner program currently features local businesses in categories ranging from musical instruments and photographic equipment to office supplies and garden tools.

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New Equity Crowdfunding Platform, Propellr, Upgrades Accredited Investors to Institutional Level Investment Opportunities

27 Feb

Propellr enters the investment crowdfunding market with $6 million in commercial real estate structured debt offerings

By Robert Hoskins

Based in New York City, NY, new alternative equity crowdfuning real estate investment firm, Propellr, launched a new intermediary digital platform to assist accredited investors in finding new institutional-level investment opportunities previously reserved for only the wealthiest of Americans or those “in the know.”

Former Wall Street and Silicon Valley Executives Launch Propellr to Help More Investors Access High-Yield Alternative Asset Deals

Former Wall Street and Silicon Valley Executives Launch Propellr to Help More Investors Access High-Yield Alternative Asset Deals

“We’re taking the kind of private placement deals usually found in hedge funds and making those deals available to the public,” said Propellr CEO Todd Lippiatt. “If they’re good enough for big institutional investors, why shouldn’t a wider swath of investors also benefit? Every investor should have access to deals that provide healthy returns.”

Propellr enters the investment crowdfunding market with $6 million in commercial real estate structured debt offerings. Aristone Realty Capital LLC (ARC), a New York-based private commercial real estate lender that has originated over $225 million in structured credit investments, is responsible for sourcing, analyzing, structuring and actively managing all deals for Propellr’s first vertical.

Lippiatt, who also serves as Managing Principal of ARC, brings Wall Street expertise in extracting value from large and complex real estate projects. Prior to founding ARC in 2006, Lippiatt was vice president of adjustable rate mortgage at Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and, subsequently, Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette (“DLJ” now Credit Suisse). Under Lippiatt’s leadership over the last seven years, Propellr’s first-to-market vertical has consistently provided healthy returns in comparison with other asset classes.

Propellr plans to build on this model, offering alternative asset investments in other industry sectors within the next six to 12 months. The platform architecture was designed and built by a team of experienced startup engineers and entrepreneurs who bring smart technology solutions made exclusively for today’s investors in a heavily regulated and changing industry.

“It’s simple, powerful and intuitive so investors can spend more time considering high-quality opportunities and less time worrying about whether a deal has been rigorously vetted,” said Saadiq Rodgers-King, head of product development at Propellr and co-founder of Hot Potato, a social activity platform acquired by Facebook in 2010.

Unlike traditional brokerage houses and investment firms, who are in the business of selling, and unlike the vast majority of crowdfunding platforms, who lack the financial services expertise to do more than operate as passive electronic bulletin boards, Propellr actively helps people invest alongside seasoned professionals. The firm does this by breaking from several long-accepted industry norms in its approach and methodology.

  • All deals are sourced internally, not through a third-party matchmaker
  • Layers of fees & commissions typically paid to middle men are eliminated in order to pass those savings directly to investors
  • Interests are overly aligned between firm management and its investors; Propellr invests a minimum of 10% in every deal

“We treat investors’ money like our own because, frankly, it is. We buy right alongside our investors and put our own money into every deal. That’s virtually unheard of with traditional investing and with today’s crowdfunding platforms. When there’s shared skin in the game, it creates the right conditions to propel wealth-building opportunities for everyone,” said Lippiatt.

Propellr’s record of performance is the result of its commitment to rigorous and exhaustive due diligence. Propellr executives separate the good investments from the mediocre and risky, a key concern for investors unfamiliar with alternative assets and others who naively look to crowdfunding like it’s a lottery ticket.

“In 2012, unregistered Regulation D offerings raised $903 billion dollars,” said Lippiatt. “With the lift on the ban on general solicitation, Reg D offerings have the potential to inject capital in the market and provide investors with superior risk-adjusted returns. Through transparency, rigor and expert knowledge, we intend to provide investors with better access to a range of high-yield opportunities.”

Propellr’s mission is to put financial power back into investor’s hands by helping people invest alongside seasoned professionals who do it every day. Propellr does this by performing rigorous analysis to separate good deals from mediocre deals, removing the layers of middlemen, putting fees & commissions back into investor’s pockets, and aligning interests by putting its own money into every deal.

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Angel Capital Association Offers Reduced Memberships for Accredited Investors Who Attend Washington DC Event

27 Feb

No cost equity crowdfunding platforms and the introduction of general solicitation for the first time in 80 years presents challenge to high membership fees and the old way of doing business

By Robert Hoskins

Want a discount on the ACA’s membership fees? Angel investors who join  an accredited equity trading platform such as AngelListFundersClubSeedInvest, or DreamFunded, which are ACA members, a will receive an 85% discount off annual memberships. Individual investors are also being offered the ACA membership reductions.

Sessions include angel investing best practices, the latest trends in data in early-stage investing, new SEC regulations involving general solicitation, crowdfunding and the definition of an accredited investor, the future of angel investing, investing in different industry sectors, using crowdfunding platforms for successful syndication, and many others.

Sessions include angel investing best practices, the latest trends in data in early-stage investing, new SEC regulations involving general solicitation, crowdfunding and the definition of an accredited investor, the future of angel investing, investing in different industry sectors, using crowdfunding platforms for successful syndication, and many others.

What’s at risk?  U.S. angel investors, individuals who support startup companies with passion, experience and funding – in 2012 invested nearly $23 billion in about 67,000 ventures, according to estimates by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.

“The ACA is the place to be for both experienced and (especially) new angels who want to share great ideas, to learn unique investment practices from each other, and don’t want to be left unaware of how the seed stage investment landscape is changing – particularly from a regulatory perspective,” said David Verrill, ACA’s chairman.  “We are hosting this meeting in Washington, D.C. for a reason – the Securities and Exchange Commission is not only assessing the underlying definition of who can be an accredited investor, but is also reviewing significant rules around the JOBS Act involving general solicitation and online crowdfunding platforms. Now more than ever is the time to join with angel colleagues to learn about, to shape, and to nurture this powerful economic engine.”

More than 700 angel investors, including those among the most active, sophisticated and successful in the world, will share expert advice and ideas.

Sessions include angel investing best practices, the latest trends in data in early-stage investing, new SEC regulations involving general solicitation, crowdfunding and the definition of an accredited investor, the future of angel investing, investing in different industry sectors, using crowdfunding platforms for successful syndication, and many others.

The Innovation Showcase, a related event at the Summit, will show angels in action when dozens of promising startups will receive invaluable advice and feedback from angels.

Discussions will include:

  • New and proposed federal rule changes, including a potential change to the definition of who can invest in equity investment deals, will dramatically increase capital available to startups and introduce another 229 million hobby investors that will be able to invest up to $2,000 per year alongside the accredited investor population.
  • Congressional leaders, including Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), will discuss how they support angel investing and its vital role in innovation and the American economy.
  • Insight into tactics angels deploy to identify the best investment opportunities in top industries including life sciences and medical devices, information technology and internet, cleantech and cyber security.
  • 2013 angel group deal trends, collected from more than 200 angel groups, will be shared by Rob Wiltbank, VP of research at the Angel Resource Institute (ARI), with the live release of the 2013 Halo Report, by ARI and Silicon Valley Bank, with data powered by CB Insights.
  • Compelling stories, including from Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen, who will recount how he took his learning management system company from angel backing to IPO.
  • New accredited online platforms are disrupting the angel investing market. Leading platform companies including premier sponsor FundersClub will lead the discussion.
  • Which are the most angel-friendly countries in the world — and how is angel investing helping spur their economies?

Registration is open to ACA members and accredited individual investors from around the world, as well as accelerator and incubator leaders, university innovation professionals, economic development leaders, and public policy makers.

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From Kitchen to Food Truck to Restaurant, Fundafeast.com Crowdfunding Site Helps Dreams Come True for Food and Drink Entrepreneurs

27 Feb

Fundafeast.com promises to support a wide variety of cookbooks, food trucks, restaurants and wineries to help fundraising efforts to launch a new food/drink service business

By Robert Hoskins

Based in New York City, NY, the new crowdfunding platform, Fundafeast.com, now makes it possible to fund anything from cookbooks full of great recipes to new food products all the way up to fine dining restaurant and wineries.  Crowdfunding can now be utilized to raise money for a wide variety of food and drink-related startups, new business ventures and existing restaurants that want to expand or franchise their operations with a little extra venture capital from hobby investors and micro venture capitalists.  But instead of giving up equity stakes in their companies, they simply trade great deals and VIP cards for startup cash.

Fundafeast Crowdfunding Platform for Bars, Coffee Shops, Food Trucks, Franchises, Restaurants, and Wineries

Fundafeast New York, NY Crowdfunding Platform for Bars, Coffee Shops, Food Trucks, Franchises, Restaurants, and Wineries

“Fundafeast is designed for entrepreneurs who want to make a business out of their own food or drink ‘passion’ and need some help getting their venture started,” says Cheryl A. Clements, founder and CEO of fundafeast. “Sometimes all you need to pursue a great food business is a $500 investment, but there isn’t a bank in the world that’s going to help. I myself used GoFundMe to get fundafeast started.”

On fundafeast, entrepreneurs can post profiles of their business ideas and elicit contributions. The page provides details of the food + drink-related business, explains how the funds will be spent and keeps a running total of donations. Fundafeast collects a fee from entrepreneurs that represents only 4% of the money raised versus the 5% charged by most other crowdfunding platforms. Fundafeast doesn’t charge a penalty for clients who fall short of their goal, as some other sites do, such as a higher percentage rate or not allowing them to keep funding raised short of goal. Entrepreneurs are allowed to keep all funds raised.

Fundafeast hopes to help develop restaurants, wine bars, cookbooks, food products, food inspired art, innovative kitchen gadgets or other food and drink-related ventures and promote their passion for running food and drink-related establishments.

Fundafeast.com is a new rewards-based crowdfunding platform uniquely designed to help raise funds for entrepreneurs with a wide variety of food- or drink-related business ideas. Fundafeast.com, which went live on Feb. 1, 2014, and give entrepreneurs a crowdfunding profile page to describe their business idea in detail, set a fundraising goal and track contributions as they come in.

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Shop for Cool New Gadgets or Perform a Competitive Analysis by Crowdfunding Category at Crowdfundfusion.com

25 Feb

Crowdfundfusion.com, the first site on the Internet that sorts and groups projects from the major crowdfunding sites in one spot

By Robert Hoskins

Cool new site, www.Crowdfundfusion.com, now lets both crowdfunding campaign managers and crowdfunding platforms add their sites to this site’s aggregated crowdfunding shopping and review channels.  Their current database has the largest and most popular crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rockethub, Fundrazr and Fundly, which have collectively raised more than $1 Billion for successful, fully funded projects, but they are now asking every crowdfunding site to add their platform and crowdfunding campaigns to their database.

Click here to add your crowdfunding platform or click here to add your active crowdfunding campaign to Crowdfundfusion’s database.

CrowdfundFusion allows hobby investors to shop all the major crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHuba and many more using a single site.

CrowdfundFusion allows hobby investors to shop all the major crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHuba and many more using a single site.

As more and more crowdfunding platforms and portals add their crowdfunding campaigns to aggregated database, hobby investors can sort and start shopping for campaigns to support with their hard earned dollars.  One cool feature is to look up any category’s active market statistics.

So far they have more than a billion dollar’s worth of active projects under their shopping umbrella.  The amount does does not include money that was pledged to successful or failed projects that have reached their crowdfunding campaign completion date.  It is the first time in crowdfunding history one site has more than a billion dollars worth of active crowdfunding campaigns that can be perused in a single place.

CrowdFundFusion Combines All Crowdfunding Projects into One Spot

CrowdFundFusion Combines All Crowdfunding Projects into One Spot

Crowdfunding is becoming an Internet juggernaut, with total dollars pledged expected to easily reach over $6 Billion in 2014. With that kind of money changing hands the number of crowdfunding sites has exploded, making it impossible for Internet surfers to keep up with the thousands of projects being displayed on different sites.

Co-founders Jonathan Mushey and Lenny Leblanc from Winnipeg, Canada created Crowdfundfusion.com, where projects from the largest and most popular crowdfunding sites can now add their active crowdfunding campaigns to be updated, sorted and combined into categories, sub categories and types to give visitors simple, intuitive ways to browse and compare projects from the different sites side by side.

They also provide buttons that allow readers to sort on Starting, Trending, Ending, Completed and Wow!

CrowdFundFusion then Sorts All Projects into Similar Categories and Sub-Categories

CrowdFundFusion then Sorts All Projects into Similar Categories and Sub-Categories

“The Crowdfunding industry is reaching a point where a site like ours is necessary to assist people in wading through the thousands of new projects starting every day,” states co-founder Jonathan Mushey. Co-founder Lenny Leblanc goes further to state “Our site is the Google for Crowdfunding projects.”

CrowdFundFusion then Browse Similar Projects to Find the Ones You Like and Want to Purchase

CrowdFundFusion then Browse Similar Projects to Find the Ones You Like and Want to Purchase

Crowdfundfusion intends to expand the list of sites whose projects are collected, stored and displayed with several other additions being currently reviewed. Visitors to the site can have some input into the next sites to be added by submitting a site for review or by voting for ones that have already been submitted. Many tools for project creators are also offered, like the opportunity to get their project featured on the home page, tips for planning and executing a successful project and other resources to help creators deliver a quality product.

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Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Tugg Headline Crowdfunding Event at SXSW in Austin, Texas

24 Feb

 John Trigonis, Indiegogo; Elisabeth Holm, Kickstarter; and Nicolas Gonda, Tugg to Headline One-Hour Crowdfunding Presentation on the Potential of the Crowd

By Robert Hoskins

The Art of the Hustle/Hustling for Art: Kickstarter + Indie Filmmaking
by Elisabeth Holm
From 2010-2013 over 90 Kickstarter-funded films have played SXSW, raising funds and engaging communities throughout their creative process. From GIMME THE LOOT and 12 O’CLOCK BOYS to “Slomo” and GIRL WALK ALL DAY, Kickstarter-funded films of all stripes are the toast of Austin and beyond, and they’re made by some of the 12,000+ successfully-funded filmmakers who’ve seen over $188M pledged to their films.

SXSW Interactive March 8 Austin 2014 Crowdfunding Events

Indiegogo and Kickstarter to Present Crowdfunding Films Presentation at SXSW Film Crowdfunding Event on March 8 in Austin, TX

These creators are true hustlers — growing communities, raising the profile of their projects, gaining new resources, contacts, and insights into their audiences, all while funding and making their art. To date 50,000+ Kickstarter creators have connected with over 5M backers pledging not only for rewards but to be part of projects they love. Can’t knock the hustle. Time to get yours on. Read more…

Crowdfund a Simple Idea to the Silver Screen” by John Trigonis
Take a look at crowdfunding films on Indiegogo with John T. Trigonis, Indiegogo’s Campaign Specialist for Film & Video, and Author of ‘Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign,’ and learn how it is a very smart option for up-and-coming filmmakers and not just A-list movie stars.

Trigonis will discuss how he helps hundreds of industry professionals use Indiegogo to open doors and create the movies they want to make with less hassles afforded them by the more traditional modes of film financing. With new campaigns launched on the platform daily, Trigonis will use the latest, hottest film and video campaigns on the platform as examples on how future filmmakers can successfully crowdfund their upcoming projects. Read more…

Why We Should Crowd Source” by Nicolas Gonda
Crowdsourcing is the most powerful new tool for building communities and engaging fans. As co-founder of the audience-driven theatrical distribution platform, Tugg, Nicolas Gonda will explore how crowdsourcing is democratizing the entertainment business, by empowering artists, influencers, and audiences to collaborate and achieve together what would otherwise have been impossible.

By looking at examples of crowdsourcing today – from funding consumer products like Pebble to bringing together a city for Batkid – we’ll assess the future of crowdsourcing and its increasing presence in our lives. Read more…

Click here to see the full Crowdfunding SXSW Event Lineup in Austin, Texas beginning March 7, 2014

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Non Profit, Higher Education Crowdfunding Expert, Kimbia, to Share Online Fundraising Secrets at SXSW in Austin, TX

23 Feb

Kimbia will share proven practices that have successfully helped non-profits, higher education institutions and community foundations acquire and retain more donors

By Robert Hoskins

In March, Kimbia representatives will be speaking at at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas Kimbia will be sharing its strategies for successful online fundraising and content marketing expertise at the event to further

Kimbia enable nonprofits, higher education institutions and community foundations to find, convert and retain the highest-value supporters.

Kimbia enables nonprofits, higher education institutions and community foundations to find, convert and retain the highest-value supporters.

Improving online fundraising and content marketing are two key opportunity areas for organizations seeking to better fund their mission. This is because:

  • Online-acquired donors who give to and share a nonprofit’s message across many channels (omni-channel supporters) have the highest lifetime value.
  • Online revenue growth is outpacing all other channels, engaging major donors and more participants who in turn share their commitment with their family, friends, and colleagues.
  • To be relevant, build trust and continue to inspire and retain supporters, organizations must continually be communicating, not just fundraising. This requires a steady stream of new and relevant content that motivates them to make your mission their mission.

“Proven practices in online fundraising, including the social media, mobile, peer-to-peer, partner and giving day/crowdfunding aspects are evolving rapidly,” said Dan Gillett, Kimbia’s Chief Executive Officer. “This makes it challenging for nonprofits with limited resources to stay current. So, we’re always looking for ways to share our experience working with a wide range of organizations in these specialized areas.”

The presentations at SXSW Interactive is Friday, March 7th from 12:30pm – 1:30pm, Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC. Miriam Kagan, Kimbia’s senior principal and fundraising strategist, and David Neff, digital engagement strategist at PwC, will host an interactive session on the Ethics & Future of Crowdfunding for Communities. Attendees will work together to build a crowdfunding bill of rights.

Kimbia’s omni-channel fundraising platform enables you to create a deeper donor relationship by leveraging the strengths of each channel and putting donors at the center of all development activities. Ultimately this approach results in greater brand awareness, giving and lifelong loyalty.

To date, Kimbia is proud to support more than 5,000 customers to date, including the American Heart Association, Smithsonian Institution, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, Columbia University, Georgetown University, WGBH – Boston, KCSM – San Mateo, The Ragnar Relay Series, Beijing International Triathlon, MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, Communities Foundation of Texas, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and The Boston Foundation. 

Crowdtilt Rolls Out White Label Crowdfunding Solution that Removes Time Limits and Offers Advanced Campaign Formats

21 Feb

CrowdtiltOpen offers flexible and customizable tools so people with little to no expertise in crowdfunding or payments processing can launch a crowdfunding campaign for free with no restrictions on project type, time limitations or fundraising goals

By Robert Hoskins

San Francisco-based crowdfunding startup, Crowdtilt, unveiled CrowdtiltOpen, its open source white label crowdfunding solution, which

CrowdtiltOpen offers flexible and customizable tools so people with little to no expertise in crowdfunding or payments processing can launch a crowdfunding campaign for free

CrowdtiltOpen offers flexible and customizable tools so people with little to no expertise in crowdfunding or payments processing can launch a crowdfunding campaign for free

is now available to all businesses, brands and project creators who want to launch crowdfunding pages on their own sites. CrowdtiltOpen offers flexible and customizable tools so people with little to no expertise in crowdfunding or payments processing can launch a crowdfunding campaign for free with no restrictions on project type, time limitations or fundraising goals.

“CrowdtiltOpen was built with a clear purpose in mind: to allow project creators to host their own crowdfunding campaigns on their own websites,” said James Beshara, CEO of Crowdtilt. “Coin, Tile, Star Citizen — some of the largest crowdfunding campaigns of all time — have all been self-­hosted. I believe they had such success because they controlled their brand, user experience, and customized their campaigns with advanced analytics, retargeting advertising and fully­owning the SEO rush that comes with crowdfunding campaigns.”

CrowdtiltOpen offers project creators and businesses the most robust feature set of any crowdfunding tool in the world:

  • Recurring Billing: Allow backers to automatically contribute on a subscription basis;
  • Bitcoin Integration: Add the ability to accept Bitcoin payments;
  • Whitelabel: Build out the whole web page and keep your brand’s unique look and feel;
  • Customization: Create a unique theme or choose from customizable or packaged themes;
  • Analytics Integration: Embed basic CRM technology, as well as integrate third party sites like Google Analytics, AdRoll, Optimizely, etc.;
  • Reward Tiers: Customize reward levels and add images to incentivize contributors;
  • No Time Limitations: Launch a 30-day, 3-month or ongoing campaign and have the flexibility to extend or shorten the campaign at any time;
  • FreetoUse: Pay only standard credit card processing charges at 2.9%+.30 per transaction
  • Direct Payments: Secure payments through third party with the ability to accept international payments through VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express;
  • Secure: Certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1, the most stringent level of certification available;
  • Nonprofits: Accept donations to a crowdfunding campaign with the ability to give backers tax deductible receipts if you are a registered nonprofit;
  • Multiple Campaigns: Easily run multiple campaigns at one time;
  • Open Source: Improve, modify and customize the platform to fit your individual needs.

CrowdtiltOpen, previously called ‘Crowdhoster,’ launched in beta in August 2013 and has helped hundreds companies and project creators reach their crowdfunding goals through customized, hosted campaigns. Some of the biggest crowdfunding campaigns in their categories have used CrowdtiltOpen, such as Soylent, a nutrition substitute that raised over $2.1M, GNS3, a software company that raised over $300,000, and Immunity Project, the largest health crowdfunding campaign that raised over $450,000. Additionally, many campaigns, such as The UT.LAB, experimented with unique preorder and retail models to mitigate inventory and boost sales.

“We’re still in the very beginning of what crowdfunding will become, but we predict 15% of commerce on the web in five years will be powered by crowdfunding. What we’re witnessing is the economy beginning to reverse itself,” said Beshara. “When consumers are empowered to vote with their dollars, business and civic institutions will have to listen. With CrowdtiltOpen, we plan to bring crowdfunding to the commercial, civic and political arenas.”

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Second Equity Crowdfunding Investing Portal, PennStarter, Begins Advertising Private Placements Under the JOBS Act

19 Feb

PennStarter carves out niche in the equity funding world, connecting qualified investors to early-stage public and private companies

By Robert Hoskins

PennStarter, based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, states that the 2012 JOBS Act began allowing for certain equity funding raises to be advertised through exemption Regulation D, Rule 506(c) in September, 2013. The PennStarter portal is focused on early-stage public and private companies.

PennStarter Equity Crowdfunding Platform and Broker Dealer

PennStarter Equity Crowdfunding Platform and Broker Dealer

While many broker-dealers and issuers have been reluctant to utilize advertising as they must verify the accreditation of their investors when relying on this exemption, the PennStarter portal was designed to make the investment process both open and transparent, while ensuring strict compliance.

Company President Ron Nicklas states, “We have worked hard to put procedures in place to make the process of verifying accreditation as simple for investors as possible. For investors interested in gaining access to quality deals, we believe that the PennStarter platform offers a unique opportunity to connect with early-stage companies.”

PennStarter has carved a niche in the equity funding world, connecting qualified investors to early-stage public and private companies. For companies and their investors, PennStarter offers the security of a FINRA/SIPC member broker-dealer, and thorough due diligence is done prior to listing.

For private companies, PennStarter is uniquely positioned to help properly position them to become publically traded, should they choose to do so. Since one of the typical challenges of investing in private placements is the lack of an exit strategy, this approach has become attractive to investors.

PennStarter is currently working with two companies conducting capital raises utilizing the 506(c) exemption, and which are available only to accredited investors.

  1. Touchpoint Metrics: A fully reporting, early-stage company quoted on the OTCBB under the symbol TPOI. Touchpoint Metrics is a SaaS-based customer experience software and services company working with large, medium and small enterprises to measure and improve the experiences they deliver to their customers.
  2. Funding Wonder: An online lending platform, which blends finance with social networking to provide loans to small businesses. Funding Wonder plans on offering its lending opportunities to both accredited and non-accredited investors utilizing state and federally regulated Crowdfunding after its implementation.

PennStarter is a division of Pennaluna & Company and was launched in late 2013. Pennaluna & Company is a full service stockbroker focused primarily on the mining, metals and Canadian markets since 1926 and many PennStarter opportunities reflect that niche.

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EquityNet Unveils First General Solicitation Equity Crowdfunding Investment Deal Distribution Network

18 Feb

EquityNet Teams Up with MarketWatch, CrowdWatch to begin Broadcasting Equity Investment Deals Where Accredited Investors Can Invest Online through Crowdfunding Platforms such as SeedInvest and RealtyShares

By Robert Hoskins

 More than 4,500 broker dealers now have the legal right to market equity investment deals via advertising, marketing, PR and social media now that the SEC has lifted the 80-year ban on General Solicitation.   And while most broker dealers have not taken advantage of the new law, EquityNet has now taken the lead by announcing the launch of a new equity investment deal distribution network with Dow Jones MarketWatch via Crowdnetic and with North Capital Private Securities.

Through partnerships with Crowdnetic and North Capital, businesses can now use EquityNet to showcase their private offerings on MarketWatch, CrowdWatch, and other crowdfunding platforms such as  SeedInvest and RealtyShares, thereby gaining exposure to thousands of additional investors.

EquityNet Equity Crowdfunding Platform for Accredited Investors

EquityNet Equity Crowdfunding Platform for Accredited Investors

EquityNet founder and CEO, Judd Hollas, stated, “I am excited about our new partnerships with Crowdnetic and North Capital Private Securities.  Businesses using EquityNet now have the unparalleled ability to distribute their deals to large extendable networks featuring tens of thousands of visitors and potential investors.”

“As a leading provider of financial information and market data, we at MarketWatch are pleased to offer the first publicly available private offerings on a major financial media website” said Ian Rosen, Vice President and General Manager of MarketWatch.

According to Crowdnetic founder and CEO, Luan Cox, “EquityNet is a wonderful addition to our Private Offerings dashboard on MarketWatch and CrowdWatch and is bringing many new private offerings and quality businesses to MarketWatch, CrowdWatch, and our broader distribution network.”

In addition to deal distribution with MarketWatch and CrowdWatch, businesses using EquityNet can also tap into the placement capabilities of North Capital Private Securities, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, to distribute their private offerings to other crowdfunding platforms such as SeedInvest and RealtyShares.

“EquityNet has built a great technology platform that prepares entrepreneurs to access the capital markets and enables investors to research, compare, and benchmark private companies.  We are excited for the opportunity to offer North Capital’s distribution abilities to their customers,” said Jim Dowd, Managing Director of North Capital.  “We expect that our relationships with other platforms, angel networks, independent broker-dealers, investment advisors, and institutional investors will help many EquityNet customers secure the financing they need to grow their businesses.”

Privately-held businesses can use EquityNet’s new distribution network and patented technology to showcase their private offerings on MarketWatch and CrowdWatch with the click of a button and on other crowdfunding platforms through engagement of North Capital Private Securities.  Both of these distribution abilities are readily available to all businesses that sign up with EquityNet and create a free business profile.

According to industry research by Massolution and the World Bank, crowdfunding generated $5.1 billion in funding transactions in 2013 and will surpass $300 billion in funding transactions by 2025. Within the next year, Title III of the US JOBS Act is expected to go into effect, allowing non-accredited investors to invest in startups in exchange for equity.  Experts have estimated that crowdfunding could expand the population of potential investors from 2 million to over 50 million investors.

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