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Using Equity Crowdfunding Sites to Finance Incubators and Accelerators at Leading U.S. Colleges and Universities

15 Mar

Launching an Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem to Fund College / University Incubator and Accelerator Programs

By Robert Hoskins

Financing Incubators & Accelerators

Most large colleges and universities in the United States have an Entrepreneurship Center or something similar, but schools in smaller population centers lack the presence of well-staffed Incubators and/or Accelerator programs that are necessary to provide students with access to professional, seasoned business, finance, investment and marketing mentors. The value of providing wisdom gained over 20 to 30 years of real world experience from subject matter experts is a critical part of the startup mentoring process.

And even with the right team of mentors in place, these incubator and accelerator programs will need their own investment syndicate to a yield sufficient pool of investors to amass enough investment seed capital to fund startups that advance from an incubator to an accelerator program.

The benefits of providing investment capital are clear to everyone but sometimes the biggest challenge for smaller communities is aggregating the first million dollars to get started and maybe another 4 million dollars to keep the program funded until startups progress far enough to be purchased by a larger company or go through an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

The minimum startup capital needed to finance 10 startups per year at $100,000 each will require at least a million dollars. Sometimes there simply are not enough local resources to achieve this goal.  This challenge showcases the value of equity crowdfunding sites and how marketing equity crowdfunding sites on the internet can make it possible for remote angel investors and venture capitalists to shop for potential investment opportunities at your school from anywhere in the world.

SBIR/SBTT Technology Transfer Programs

Colleges and universities can also tap into federal funding via Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) programs that offer up to $2 billion per year of funding for university incubators and accelerator programs.  Competition is fierce for this funding, but with right application it is possible to obtain funding.

Learn more about crowdfunding:

 

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Want to learn more about equity crowdfunding?

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Setting Up a New College – University Equity Investment Crowdfunding Site to Take Advantage of the Growing U.S. Investor Network Suffering from a Lack of Deal Flow

14 Mar

Schools that Launch Equity Crowdfunding Sites Now Will Learn How to Market Investment Opportunities to Accredited Investors and Get a Head Start on the Vast Amount of Money that Will Flood the U.S. when the SEC Finally Approves Title III Crowdfunding Guidelines

By Robert Hoskins

Investor Surplus, Deal Flow Shortage

Believe it or not, there is a growing surplus of angel investors, accredited investors and venture capitalists that have the money to invest in new startups, but cannot find enough good deals being circulated by entrepreneurs and startups that need investment startup capital.  

A recent member of the San Francisco Angel Group member recently said that there many startups in San Francisco currently receiving seed investment that really are not worthy of seed investment capital, but are getting lucky because there is a surplus of money and a shortage of good deals. 

The good news is that college and universities can now take advantage of a new rule passed as a part of the JOBS Act, which approved something known as General Solicitation. For the past 80 years it has been illegal to advertise or market private equity deals to the general public, but that ban has been lifted. 

In November 2014, a new SEC rule was passed that makes it possible to advertise private placement memorandums (PPMs) to approximately 8.7 million accredited investors throughout the United States and abroad.  This is great news because only about 3% of all accredited investors are active angel investors. This means that 97%  of this group has never been approached by startups seeking investment capital. 

This means that any school can setup an equity crowdfunding platform and start marketing their local community’s entrepreneur and startup business plans to a nationwide or global network of accredited investors.  Once a platform is setup, investors with the right credentials can search through the platform’s online equity investment opportunities on a 24x 7 basis.

And then, hopefully in October 2015, the SEC also will pass the final rules that open up Title III equity crowdfunding to every adult in the United States who is 18 years or older. When that happens, the same equity crowdfunding site will have the ability market deals to every adult in America or approximately 180 million new investors.  Take that with a grain of salt because the new Title III rules are three years overdue, but if they do make it to the Federal Registry there will be flood of money seeking great business plans and startups who need startup capital.

In order to leverage the growing pool of accredited investors now, colleges and universities should begin the process of setting up a streamlined equity crowdfunding ecosystem as soon as possible. It will open up schools to a nationwide and/or global network of angel investors now and help them get a head start on the vast amount of money that will flood the marketplace when the SEC finally approves the Title III crowdfunding guidelines.

Learn more about crowdfunding:

 

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Want to learn more about setting up an equity crowdfunding platform?

Please fill out this form to get start:

Starting a University Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem to Build Better Alumni and Local Community Relationships

12 Mar

Crowdfunding Sites Provide Alumni with a Personal Way to Begin Investing in their Alma Maters’ Promising Startups and Reap the Benefit of Making a Lot of Money if They Invest in the Right Projects

By Robert Hoskins

Stimulating Alumni and Local Community Engagement

Establishing an Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem is a great way for colleges and universities to reconnect alumni with their alma maters and engage them to begin investing in the school’s future.  

Unlike giving donations to a school with no idea of how the money is going to be spent, investing directly in equity crowdfunding campaigns not only gives alumni a way to give back to the university that that helped launch their careers, but also provides them with a personal way to begin investing in creative projects that are near and dear to their hearts as well as reap the benefit of making a lot of money if they invest in the right projects.

Building an Equity Crowdfunding site to market college and university projects to alumni and the rest of the world can help:

  • Build Better Relationships with Alumni;
  • Migrate Alumni from Blind Donations to Targeted Equity Investments;
  • Generate Substantially More Revenue to Finance School Programs;
  • Increase Long-Term Return on Investment; and
  • Produce Much Better  Global University Marketing Opportunities.

Equity Crowdfunding Sites are Great Marketing Tools

Not only do crowdfunding campaigns provide a great opportunity for students to raise money for their startup companies, but the marketing that is done to drive investors to their crowdfunding profiles is a great way for colleges and universities to market their school’s brand name and recruit new students in a similar manner to running TV advertisements during college football and basketball games.

The difference, however, is that instead of producing a bland 10,000 ft. overview of a college’s academics, research and development facilities and a fly over of the university campus, each equity crowdfunding campaign has the opportunity of demonstrate exactly what is actually going on inside their R&D departments, computer science data centers and bio-tech wet labs. It is a new way to streamline the Technology Transfer process.  

Equity Crowdfunding is a much more cost-effective way to bring new technology and businesses to market and can earn schools substantially more money via equity investments than licensing agreements or royalty deals. 

Entrepreneurship Centers, Incubators and Accelerators

In addition, crowdfunding sites allow schools to promote the fact that they are now offering entrepreneurship centers, co-working spaces, incubators with mentorship programs and accelerators that can help raise money to fund new startups.  Equity crowdfunding ecosystems and alumni angel networks will make is possible to attract more millennials, smarter entrepreneurs and aggressive startup high-tech and bio-tech companies seeking a fertile environment in which to launch their business ideas.

For example, look at the successful marketing campaigns that the Coolest Cooler or the Pebble Time SmartWatch crowdfunding campaigns are generating for Kickstarter.  Not only are they transforming Kickstarter into a global brand, but with 18 days left to go the Pebble Time SmartWatch has raised over $17 million. These marketing, PR and social media campaigns have generated massive amounts of free, positive and credible publicity. The same type of exposure can be generated for any college that has startups marketing their university’s equity crowdfunding campaigns via the internet and social media networks.  

Equity Crowdfunding Generates Nice Revenue Streams

Not only is the free, positive publicity great for promoting a school’s brand name, but collecting a fee similar to Kickstarter’s five-percent crowdfunding site commission fee is also a great way to make money to fund the school’s incubator and accelerator programs.

For example, the Pebble Time SmartWatch crowdfunding campaign’s site commission fee will deposit more than $1,000,000 into Kickstarter’s bank account for doing little more than setting up an e-commerce site. A simple task for any computer science college. 

College and university crowdfunding sites will start slow at first like Kickstarter did but given the strength of the university’s mass communication department, it could be much quicker.  Regardless, over a five-year period, a school’s crowdfunding site has the same opportunity to create a massive crowdfunding ecosystem like Kickstarter’s which to date has collected almost ~$2 billion in investment seed capital over the past 5 years.  

It you are a school administrator, what would injecting $2 billion into your Technology Transfer Office do for your college or university?  And that is straight rewards-based crowdfunding.  What would the same $2 billion return if just 10% percent of your startup companies went public and raised $100 million each? Once the first several dominos fall the financial returns would sufficient enough to continue growing a stronger pool of wealth with each generation of graduates. This method is precisely how Palo Alto, San Jose and San Francisco built the Silicon Valley in California into a global angel investor and venture capital powerhouse.

Alumni, Mentors and Future Students

Future students, leading mentors and disconnected alumni will suddenly have a purview into exciting projects and developments that are percolating behind the scenes in a very similar manner to Kickstarter. Crowdfunding will make it possible for the local community and general public to see the huge innovations that are going on behind the scenes, which will create the desire to get involved in the process so they too can strike it rich. Suddenly, alumni will be very motivated to keep in touch and invest often. 

Conclusion:

The crowdfunding industry is clearly fueling a new generation of makers that realize that it is more possible now than ever to bring their creative ideas to life with other people’s money, not just on the east and west coasts, but anywhere in America.

Learn more about crowdfunding:

 

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Want to setup an Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem for your college?

Please fill out this form to get started:

Kickstarter Pebble Time Steel on Track to Raise $50 Million via Rewards-based Crowdfunding Campaign

3 Mar

New color screen, water-proof, wearable SmartWatch simplifies communication while on the go and may have a chance to set a world crowdfunding record by catching the current champion, Star Citizen

By Robert Hoskins

United States – No one would be more proud than Dick Tracy to read the funny pages and watch his wrist watch spring from the comic book pages to a real life Pebble Time SmartWatch. Thanks to rewards-based crowdfunding, which brought this brilliant idea from the laboratory bench to the worldwide marketplace, at it’s current clip, the Pebble Time watch is raising around $98,286 per hour on Kickstarter.

Pebble Time Steel SmartWatch Sets Crowdfunding World Record

Pebble Time Steel SmartWatch May Set Crowdfunding World Record

At the time of this writing, there were 4 hours left to go in the day (3/3/15) and extrapolating the hourly earn rate puts the campaign at right around $15,065,431 at midnight.

With 552 hours left to go, at it current pace, there is a real good chance that the Pebble Time watch may raise up to $49.9 million. But as with many crowdfunding campaigns there may a surge toward the end of the fundraising effort that pushes the numbers over $80,000,000.

Not only would Pebble regain the record for the most funded Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign of all time, but they would also surpass the current world crowdfunding champion, Star Citizen, which last time I checked had raised around $72 million.

And many campaigns will start adding stretch goals or bonus items, such as the metal and leather wristbands that were added toward the end of the first week.

At $80 million, Kickstarter’s 5% commission would pay an amount of $4,000,000. Not bad for a 30-days worth of hosting a single crowdfunding campaign. 

It is also worthy to note that no equity was sold to raise this money.  There are definitely benefits of pre-selling products to test marketplace demand. Pebble Time’s venture capital and institutional investors should be quite pleased at this display of customer loyalty. It also shows the value of conducting multiple successful campaigns in a row. 

“George Zachary, a partner at Charles River Ventures and the first institutional investor in Pebble, said [back in June 2014] that the company’s revenue hit $43 million in [2013] and will double in 2014. Speaking on stage at the Silicon Valley Open Doors Conference he called Pebble the fastest-growing start-up he’s ever backed, a group that includes Twitter and Yammer, which Microsoft bought in 2012 for $1.2 billion.” – Source: CNBC

It will be interesting to see what the company’s valuation will be once the campaign has concluded. Perhaps a lucrative Initial Public Offering (IPO) will be next!  Or will Facebook decide to add another cool gadget to its growing Kickstarter collection? Time will tell.

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MicroVentures Opens “500 Startups Fund III” Equity Investment Opportunity to Fund 4-Month Startup Accelerator Programs

27 Feb

Equity Crowdfunding Site Now Seeking Investors to Invest up to $10,000 in Multiple e-commerce, cloud services, mobile, education, digital health, payments and Internet startup companies

By Robert Hoskins

Austin, Texas – MicroVentures, an online equity crowdfunding portal based in Mountain View, California and offices in Austin, Mexico City and San Francisco, announced the launch of a new equity crowdfunding investment fund called “500 Startups Fund III,” which is seeking to sign up accredited equity investors to invest a minimum of $10,000 or more in early stage capital investments. The 500 Startups Fund III makes investments across multiple industry verticals, including e-commerce, cloud services, mobile, education, digital health, payments and Internet among others.

MicroVentures Equity Investment Network of 25,000 Global Investors to Date Have Invested $125 Million in Approximately 900 Startup Companies

MicroVentures Equity Investment Network Has Invested   $125 Million in Approximately 900 Startup Companies

Founded by Bill Clark in 2009, MicroVentures recruited Tim Sullivan, Garrett Paul and Jaclyn Strife from SharesPost in 2012, which is renowned for taking Facebook through its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and went on to found Oceanic Partners. The firm runs something commonly referred to an investment syndicate, where accredited investors who are new to the Angel and Venture Capital investment process follow seasoned, experienced lead investors.

“Over the years, MicroVentures has built a platform that gives investors the ability to diversify investments in early to late stage opportunities. Our level of due diligence and customer support are unique resources angel investors previously did not have access to,” stated Bill Clark, Founder and CEO of MicroVentures. “Investors are increasingly seeking diversification and international exposure. MicroVentures through the 500 Startups Fund III provides both, while reinforcing its long-standing commitment of supporting investor demand for diversified opportunities.”

Using this growth strategy MicroVentures had amassed more than 4,000 investors by the end of 2012 and over the past three years it has grown 625% to a very large pool of more than 25,000 global investors who have invested approximately $125 million in 900 companies.

Unlike typical broker dealers, which only solicit investments ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 and up, the MicroVenture site allows accredited as well as non-accredited investors to invest in a wide variety of funds that range from investments of $1,000, $3,000, and $10,000 and up. This allows investors to diversify their portfolio and spread their eggs across multiple startup baskets, which reduces risk and increases the chance of being able to discover and participate in the next Facebook, Oculus, or Pebble Time Watch at a very early stage.

The 500 Startups runs a four-month Accelerator Program for Startups that culminates in a private, invite-only Demo Day where each startup presents to a group of select investors in an effort to attract additional seed funding. About 30 companies participate in each four-month program offered at its various locations.  Batch 12 began January 2015 in San Francisco.

In addition to investing through its accelerator program, 500 Startups invests globally in early-stage companies through various seed-stage investment funds.

Across numerous funds, 500 Startups has committed approximately $125 million to over 900 portfolio companies.

The inaugural investment fund, Fund I, was formed in July 2010 and achieved an ultimate fund size of $29 million. As of September 30, 2014, the internal rate of return for Fund I stood at 18% with investment exits worth approximately $13 million.

Fund II was formed in April 2012 raising almost $45 million. Fund II has achieved $2 million in exits and a net internal rate of return of 27% as of September 30, 2014.

While Fund I and Fund II are closed to new investments, the 500 Startups is the fundraising process for four other funds: Fund III, Annex Fund, 500 Luchadores and 500 Durians.

Under its status as a FINRA-registered broker-dealer, MicroVentures offers both primary and secondary investment opportunities through their user-friendly, online equity crowdfunding platform. Series 7 licensed brokers develop personal relationships with Accredited and Sophisticated Investors to provide high-touch customer service, and support investment in startups with confidence.

The crowdfunding portal provides access to a flow of curated, vetted startup investment opportunities and allows novice investors to review due diligence, disclosures and speak with experienced licensed financial professionals prior to making an investment.

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Crowdfunding Site, OurCrowd.com, Shows the World that the Equity Crowdfunding Industry is Sailing into the Global Economy Full Steam Ahead

17 Feb

OurCrowd evolves from participating in early seed rounds to a leadership position by successfully pooling tens of millions of dollars from top tier venture capital firms

By Robert Hoskins

Jerusalem, Israel – OurCrowd leads equity crowdfunding deal that reels in $16M in Series E funding round for Borro.com, the UK-NY based, asset-backed online lender. OurCrowd was joined by Rocket Internet AG (RKET), Canaan Partners and Augmentum Capital in this funding round.

OurCrowd alone raised $6M of the capital invested, making this the single largest equity crowdfunding round ever completed and demonstrates how equity crowdfunding can complement and even lead traditional funding sources, such as venture capital.

“In under two years, OurCrowd went from participating in early seed rounds to now successfully  leading a $16M dollar major funding round together with top tier venture capital firms such as Canaan and the renowned internet company, Rocket,” said Jon Medved, OurCrowd’s CEO. “We are delighted to be investing in quality companies like Borro, which is redefining the Fintech industry.”

Launched in the UK in 2009 and in the US in 2012, Borro has defined a new category of online personal asset-based lending. Borro focuses on providing liquidity to individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners who use luxury personal assets such as watches, jewelry, supercars, fine art, antiques and high-end handbags as collateral for short term loans.

“Seven years ago, I joined the first angel investor group at Lending Club (LC) and witnessed first-hand the exponential growth of online lending,” Medved added.  “Lending Club’s IPO in December of 2014 was a pivotal point in the online lending industry and has shown that there will be multiple winners with eventual multi-billion dollar market caps. ”

Paul Aitken, CEO and Founder of Borro, said: “We are delighted with our collaboration with OurCrowd. Their ability to lead this important funding round has proven that equity crowdfunding has indeed come of age. I was excited by the quality of the investors they have brought to the table and am looking forward to their adding additional value to Borro as we move forward.”

Borro was recently ranked #8 right behind Lending Club (NYSE: LC) #6 and OnDeck #7 (NYSE: ONDK) in KPMG’s 50 Best Fintech Innovators Report. OurCrowd ranked #22 on the list.  Borro is backed by a consortium of high caliber VC investors with significant expertise in online finance.

Investing alongside OurCrowd is Rocket Internet AG, a German internet company based in Berlin that builds online startups and owns share of various internet companies including Foodpanda/Hellofood, Home24, Jabong, Jumia and Lamoda.  Other Borro investors include Canaan Partners (investor in Lending Club) and Augmentum Capital (investor in the UK’s top lending marketplace, Zopa). Borro has recruited notable financial industry veterans to its board of directors who bring a significant amount of experience to the company, including Nigel Morris (co-founder Capital One) as Chairman and Paul Grattan (ex-CEO Egg, First Direct.)

Borro launched in 2009 in the UK, and has gone on to open offices in New York and Los Angeles.  It is the leading online platform for luxury asset-backed lending and has defined a new lending category in a climate where loans to individuals, SMEs and entrepreneurs were few and far between. Borro offers loans from $5,000 – $2,000,000 secured against luxury assets including fine art, antiques, jewelry, luxury watches, fine wine, prestige and classic cars and other high-value assets. Borro investors include: Canaan Partners (Lending Club), Eden Ventures, Augmentum Capital. Borro’s board of directors includes Nigel Morris (co-founder Capital One) as Chairman, and Paul Gratton (ex-CEO Egg, First Direct).

OurCrowd is the leading hybrid venture capital equity crowdfunding platform for accredited investors who wish to invest in Israeli and global early stage companies. Managed by a team of well-known investment professionals and led by serial entrepreneur Jon Medved, OurCrowd selects opportunities, invests its own capital and brings these startups to its accredited membership. Members choose those deals they invest in via OurCrowd-managed partnerships.

OurCrowd investors must meet stringent accreditation criteria and invest a minimum of $10,000 per deal. OurCrowd provides post investment support to its portfolio companies, assigning industry experts as mentors and taking board seats. OurCrowd has raised over $100 million in equity crowdfunding for its 57 portfolio companies which include leading companies, such as: BillGuard, Consumer Physics (SCiO), BioCatch, Abe’s Market and ReWalk, OurCrowd’s first portfolio company to complete a successful IPO on the NASDAQ.

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Predictions for the Top 15 Crowdfunding Trends that Will Emerge During 2015

22 Dec

New Developments Expected from the SEC, Texas Crowdfunding Portals, Crowdfunding Service Providers, State Banks, Corporate Crowdfunders, Non-Profits and Secondary Trading Markets

By Robert Hoskins

Austin, Texas – Front Page PR predicts the top 15 crowdfunding trends that will emerge by the end of 2015 for the United States crowdfunding industry:

  1. The SEC will do the right thing and surprise the U.S. by introducing rewritten Title III crowdfunding regulations formulated to appease both Wall Street and entrepreneurs.
  2. Texas Incubators/Accelerators will add equity crowdfunding portals to their investment models to earn extra revenue, improve deal flow and tap 20 million unaccredited investors.
  3. There will be a rising tide of third-party crowdfunding service providers needed to produce Private Placement Memorandums (PPMs) and necessary disclosure documentation.
  4. State banks will seize the opportunity to create new revenue streams by setting up crowdfunding equity escrow services that larger banks will probably ignore.
  5. Advertising, PR and social media firms will improve the success rate of million dollar crowdfunding campaigns to more than a 50% success rate regardless of crowdfunding site.
  6. Major corporations like Sony will begin to launch substantial crowdfunding campaigns to test the market demand for their company’s latest and greatest high-tech, clean-tech, bio-tech, fin-tech and film/music products and services
  7. Major corporations will follow IBM’s example by opening their own intranet crowdfunding platforms to allow employees to fast track innovative products and services by using crowdfunding campaigns to override political and corporate management roadblocks.
  8. Major publishing houses will follow Reddit’s and YouTube’s example by launching their own crowdfunding platforms to harness mature electronic commerce & marketing capabilities.
  9. Real Estate will lead the marketplace in offering attractive equity crowdfunding deal flow.
  10. Texas will become one of the largest equity crowdfunding markets in the United States.
  11. More than 50% of U.S. states will approve crowdfunding exemptions by the end of 2015.
  12. By Q4 2015 a secondary market will begin to emerge for trading equity crowdfunding shares.
  13. Crowdfunding investing will cause private equity investors and venture capitalists to lose their ability to take advantage of startups/entrepreneurs who will find it much easier to raise venture capital funding.
  14. Non-profit fundraising organizations will move their entire fundraising operations to a pure online donation-based crowdfunding platform to substantially streamline their organizations and reduce their operating expenses.
  15. As in many early growth industries, large players like GoFundMe, IndieGoGo and Kickstarter will begin buying up smaller sites to increase market share and expand their global presence.

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Contact:
Robert Hoskins
Front Page PR
(512) 627-6622
@Crowdfunding_PR
@FrontPage_PR
@Crowdfunding_TX

Vignet’D Lauches Record $2.9M Equity Crowdfunding Campaign for Investors on Symbid in the Netherlands

8 Dec

The company has already completed funding from informal investors, but now seeks the participation and knowledge of Symbid’s 27,000 active investors

By Robert Hoskins

Rotterdam, The Netherlands – Vignet’D plans to break records on the Symbid (OTCQB: SBID) equity crowdfunding platform by seeking $2.9 million (EUR 2.3m) in investment from Symbid’s investment community. Symbid became the first publicly listed crowdfunding platform worldwide in December 2013.  If successful, this will be the largest campaign ever at Symbid, one of the first investment crowdfunding platforms worldwide, while also ranking among the largest equity crowdfunding campaigns globally. Vignet’D expects to build on the success of their campaign by going public on the AIM London Stock Exchange in 2015.

The Vignet’D has a digital agency specialising in mobile strategies & concepts that ensures deep engagement with your customer. Scanning the product package or using AR techniques allows you to use multimedia to further enhance your product’s message.

The Vignet’D has a digital agency specialising in mobile strategies & concepts that ensures deep engagement with your customer. Scanning the product package or using AR techniques allows you to use multimedia to further enhance your product’s message.

Unlimited Crowdfunding Potential
By fluidly integrating digital codes into packaging designs, Vignet’D aims to transform a simple box or carton into a powerful marketing communication tool. While scanning codes with a smartphone is not necessarily new, the company’s emphasis on the whole user experience from shelf to social media is revolutionizing consumer packaging. Vignet’D specializes in an integrated approach to marketing strategy, app development, interactive and package design.

The company creates everything in-house to ensure that the final experience is both beautiful and engaging: consumers are stimulated to access additional content, ranging from nutritional information to online games. The invisibility of the code means manufacturers can also use Vignet’D technology to prevent product imitations. The commitment to a fully interactive design, with safeguards against fakes, means Vignet’D is able to take retail packaging into new directions which traditional 2D barcodes (like the QR code) could not.

Although a young company, Vignet’D has already had several successful demo projects with global fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers and retailers. Game developers and publishers, including Rovio (Angry birds) and Triangle Studios, are pursuing the Vignet’D technology because of its clear potential for merchandising.

The Added Value of Crowdfunding Campaign Launches
Vignet’D is now seeking funding to further develop this groundbreaking technology and scale up their marketing and sales activities globally. The company has already completed funding from informal investors, but now seeks the participation and knowledge of Symbid’s 27,000 active investors: the crowd.

“With our solid partnerships and tested products, Vignet’D has already been validated by the market for its huge global potential,” said CEO Martin Bril. “For us this campaign is about more than just finding investment. We want the crowd’s involvement, their experience, their ideas and ultimately the extra value this generates. Together with Symbid we want to give investors large and small the opportunity to buy a stake in our company’s future.”

The sheer business potential of Vignet’D is a sign that the investment crowdfunding industry is making significant progress, with Symbid leading the way.

“After the exponential growth we’ve been seeing here at Symbid, for us this campaign is a large cherry on the cake,” said Korstiaan Zandvliet, Symbid CEO and co-founder. “As crowdfunding matures and people begin to realize its true potential, it’s crucial that Symbid continues to attract innovative, high-growth startups like Vignet’D. We see 2015 as a big year for the Symbid funding platform.”

International Ambitions
When the $2.9m funding target is reached, Vignet’D will not only become the largest Symbid campaign ever, but also one of the largest investment crowdfunding campaigns worldwide. However, in line with their strategy of international expansion, the company plans to complete another crowdfunding campaign in Germany with Symbid.

Founded in April 2011 as one of the first investment crowdfunding platforms worldwide, Symbid allows non-accredited investors to invest online in start-ups and SMEs with as little as EUR 20 in exchange for shares in those companies. Based in the Netherlands, Symbid has emerged as a global leader in investment crowdfunding due to our innovative technological infrastructure, user-friendly interface and commitment to providing a secure funding environment for both investors and entrepreneurs.

The Symbid team’s extensive experience with start-ups means entrepreneurs choosing our platform receive all the coaching and advice necessary for a successful campaign. This, in turn, ensures that investors using the Symbid platform can be confident in the profitability of their investment.

As of December 2014, Symbid has successfully funded over 65 start-ups for a total capital sum of $7,000,000.

In 2015 the company is expected to expand its product portfolio with several new (alternative and traditional) financial services in order to develop the Symbid platform towards an online fundraising network. Meanwhile, Symbid anticipates a European roll-out of its investment crowdfunding platform beginning in Q4 2014.

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iFunding Raising $2 Million with Equity Crowdfunding Campaign on Crowdfunder

6 Dec

After raising nearly $30 million for real estate projects, iFunding is now crowdfunding its own equity crowdfunding site

By Robert Hoskins

New York City, New York – iFunding, the company that makes real estate investing simple through crowdfunding, announces it is raising a corporate financing round of up to $2 million. The round of financing uses the same types of crowdfunding techniques that iFunding applies to its day-to-day business in real estate investment. This is another sign of evolution in the crowdfunding sector and real estate financing.

iFunding.com Equity Crowdfunding for Real Estate

iFunding.com Equity Crowdfunding for Real Estate

iFunding will use the funds for expanded operations, technology enhancements, marketing and sales. It is performing this fundraising through a Crowdfunder crowdfunding campaign.  Crowdfunder has over 77,000 registered users and $56 million committed across investments to-date. This current financing round follows on earlier investments by select strategic partners, customers and colleagues into the company. A “Series A” venture round is planned for 2015.

iFunding is one of the longest-operating real estate crowdfunding sites, connecting thousands of registered investors with real estate developers and opportunities to finance their building projects. The company has raised tens of millions of dollars for projects ranging from new home construction or refurbishments, to commercial spaces, condominium communities, mobile home parks, apartments and mixed-use urban facilities. iFunding has been covered in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, Seeking Alpha, Real Estate Weekly, The Real Deal, Realty Today, Multi-Housing News and Urban Land magazine.

Accredited investors wishing to participate in iFunding’s fundraising can visit the Crowdfunder investment portal for more information. On the project web page, readers will find information including a strategy and investment presentation, and introductory video.

Founder and CEO of iFunding, William Skelley, noted “Our team is excited to have been working with thousands of investors and real estate developers in our first full year of operations. Now, we plan to expand our real estate operations, enhance our technology platform with more user-friendly features, and broaden our marketing and sales activities to reach more investors and developers. Our growth also creates a compelling case for investors to participate in this early success stage of our company.”

Co-Founder, Sohin Shah, added, “The crowdfunding approach to our own fundraising was an easy decision for us. It opens this opportunity to a broad audience, as people can own shares in iFunding for as little as $10,000.”

iFunding has chosen Crowdfunder to list its fundraising campaign. Entrepreneurs use the platform to tell the story of their business and raise investment from a community of institutional and individual accredited investors. iFunding selected Crowdfunder because of the volume of investor activity on the site, and the easy-to-use web application that supports investor research and interactive communications. iFunding’s goal is a $1 million raise, with a $2m maximum, on Crowdfunder.

iFunding also is partnering with Accredify for online verification of an individual’s accredited investor status. Instead of individuals having to manually verify status each time they invest in private placements, Accredify securely automates verification via tax records or collects letters stating one’s liquid assets. The platform also allows investors to share their accredited status easily across multiple investments they make, all the while keeping sensitive information confidential.

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CrowdShed to Open New Equity Crowdfunding Site in London

12 Nov

According to the Nesta/Cambridge University UK Alternative Finance Industry report equity crowdfunding has grown by over 410% in 2014 in the United Kingdom

By Robert Hoskins

London, UKCrowdShed will offer rewards, lending and donation-based crowdfunding opportunities, focused on creative, academic, charity and cause-based projects. Equity funding will be added in 2015, with an ethos of making business better.   CrowdShed is set to challenge the established crowdfunding model and redefine how people find their funding and fund something new. With the backing of GLI Finance Crowdshed.com is now well placed to launch in Q3, 2014.

Crowdshed to Open New Equity Crowdfunding Site in London

Crowdshed to Open New Equity Crowdfunding Site in London

Crowdfunding is a nascent industry already dominated by a few key players, each with a niche business model concentrating around one specific area of crowdfunding. CrowdShed is different, creating a holistic environment that offers funders and fund-seekers the widest opportunity to create and locate the project that’s perfect for them.

This multifaceted approach offers unrivaled scope to introduce like-minded funders and fund-seekers – people who might not have connected except through CrowdShed. The equity crowdfunding site is also creating a real-world space to bring funders and fund-seekers together to work, grow ideas, find inspiration and hold events, informative SHEDtalks, and Q&A sessions.

CrowdShed received significant seed investment from GLI Finance Limited (GLIF), the London Stock Exchange listed specialist provider of finance to small and medium sized enterprises.

Geoff Miller, CEO of GLI Finance, said, “This exciting partnership continues the extension of our platforms and compliments and diversifies our exposure to the crowdfunding space, as CrowdShed will provide rewards, lending and donation-based crowdfunding opportunities as well as SME Finance.

CrowdShed is well positioned to become a leading player in Europe within this space and we are delighted they have chosen to partner with us. We look forward to building our partnership with them.”

Henry Freeman, CrowdShed CEO, stated, “It’s great that GLIF recognizes the inherent opportunity and growth potential of crowdfunding as a real alternative to traditional investment and fundraising channels. CrowdShed is democratizing the crowdfunding process for all and contributing not only to better business but also to the good of society as a whole. We don|t believe that concepts like fiscal success and social, corporate or environmental responsibility are mutually exclusive. The crowd is sustainable, carries momentum easily, is self-supporting and self-perpetuating, and has the power to affect change for the good. This is the heart of what we do at CrowdShed.”

Statistics for the crowdfunding market tell of rapid and continuing growth with an estimated global value of $5.1 billion for 2013, up 89% on 2012. Europe accounts for 35% of the market share with $945 million raised, up 65% on 2012. Growth in the US market was bigger still, up 105% to a total of $1.6 billion.

This driver of finance from wealthy and high net worth individuals is supported by recent research from the Nesta/Cambridge University Report into alternative finance which forecasts that the alternative finance market, comprising the entire crowdfunding industry in the UK, is expected to grow to £1.74bn by the end of 2014 with further projected growth to around £4.4bn in 2015.

According to the Nesta/Cambridge University UK Alternative Finance Industry report, released Monday 10 November, equity crowdfunding has grown by over 410% in 2014.

Dermot Finch of the Prince’s Trust admitted that crowdfunding is something the Trust is exploring, working with CrowdShed to help young people fund the business initiatives they’re developing. He pointed out that, “We’re helping lots of youngsters get back on their feet and trying to give them the confidence to follow their own business ideas and crowdfunding is the ideal source of capital for their ventures, combining a blend of equity and donor capital.”

The ideas that Kenyon developed whilst running his crowdfunding campaign – creative marketing, strong social media messaging, building up momentum quickly – clearly worked and in fact the Nesta report confirms that these are the types of qualities needed to deliver a successful crowdfunding campaign.

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