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Archive | 11:58 pm

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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