Tag Archives: Financial Services

EquityNet Crowdfunding Site Surpasses $300 Million Raised by Equity Crowdfunding Entrepreneurs

11 Jun

EquityNet platform now includes over 16,000 listed companies and 120,000 entrepreneurs and investors, making EquityNet one of the industry’s leading business crowdfunding platforms

By Robert Hoskins

Fayetteville, Arkansas –  EquityNet announced that its  equity crowdfunding platform has surpassed $300 million in funding raised by thousands of entrepreneur members. The pioneering EquityNet platform now includes over 16,000 listed companies and 120,000 entrepreneurs and investors, making EquityNet one of the industry’s leading business crowdfunding platforms.

EquityNet Equity Crowdfunding Platform for Accredited Investors

EquityNet Equity Crowdfunding Platform for Accredited Investors

“Once again, we’re very proud to announce the continuing growth of our platform and are delighted that so many companies have achieved funding success through EquityNet,” stated Judd Hollas, founder and CEO of EquityNet. “As our membership and the crowdfunding industry as a whole continue to grow, we will continue to streamline the funding process for entrepreneurs and the due diligence process for investors. Our goal is to create a superb experience for investors and a higher funding success rate for entrepreneurs.”

EquityNet was founded in 2005 and was one of the first operating crowdfunding platforms in the world. Since its inception, it has allowed entrepreneurs from all industry sectors to connect with accredited investors to raise capital for their startups and small businesses.

Using EquityNet, these entrepreneurs have raised one of the largest amounts of equity, debt, and royalty-based business capital in the industry. Companies like Mine Shaft Brewing based in Park City, Utah, have taken full advantage of the capabilities that EquityNet has to offer.

“EquityNet’s platform provides a high-quality investor population and awesome support from their staff. We were able to raise over $650,000 within several months. When it comes to crowdfunding, EquityNet is where you need to be,” said Tim Nemeckay, CEO of Mine Shaft Brewing.

Crowdfunding has been shown to improve the capitalization of young businesses, often considered to be the most limiting factor in modern capitalism. The US JOBS Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2012, focuses on the growth of privately-held companies in the United States. In September 2013, EquityNet was the first crowdfunding platform to enable Title II of the US JOBS Act, which allows businesses to publicly advertise their need for equity funding online and take advantage of the lifting of the eighty year-old ban on general solicitation in the United States.

In addition to the ability for entrepreneurs to publicly advertise their need for funding, EquityNet provides entrepreneurs and investors the most advanced crowdfunding technologies in the global industry. EquityNet currently holds five granted crowdfunding patents and additional pending patents in the United States, covering multiple distinct inventions.

This leading technology provides innovative campaign creation and distribution abilities for entrepreneurs and is combined with the industry’s most advanced screening and due diligence technology for investors.

David Mandel, Chairman and Co-Founder of Bitvore stated, “Our success with EquityNet has been excellent. We have found investors who have provided our company with new connections, industry experience, and other strategic values.”

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Symbid and Catena Partner Up to Offer Independent Risk Scoring With Loan-based Equity Crowdfunding

10 Jun

The Funding Network by Symbid, Online Funding Platform for Small Businesses, Adds Professional Third-Party Scoring

By Robert Hoskins

Rotterdam, The NetherlandsSymbid Corp. (OTCQB: SBID) announced a partnership with Catena, spin-off of leading European treasury and risk management firm, to provide INRISC, an automated credit risk scoring and pricing service for its upcoming loan crowdfunding product. The partnership means Symbid becomes one of the first online funding platforms to use an independent third party to score investment opportunities and set objective interest rates. Using standardized accounting data and fully automated processes, it represents efficient risk management for entrepreneurs and investors.

Symbid is the only platform in the Netherlands where investors become shareholders via a cooperative.

Symbid is the only platform in the Netherlands where investors become shareholders

“We’re delighted to announce this strategic partnership with Catena Investments while The Funding Network continues to grow and mature. As our monthly transaction volume exceeds $35 million it is right that we keep pushing for more professionalism,” said Korstiaan Zandvliet, co-founder and CEO of Symbid Corp. “With Catena on board, we’re confident that our upcoming loan crowdfunding product will be the most transparent on the market. Looking ahead, instant scoring and pricing will be a cornerstone of our offering to professional investors. This is a big step forward in our mission of simplifying the way small businesses are funded.”

Catena Investments, a Zanders spin-off specialising in the development of state-of-the-art financial technology solutions, will assess the credit risk of loan propositions with its INRISC service using data provided by Monitoring by Symbid. This data is, in turn, streamed via accountant reporting systems. This automated scoring and pricing process is expected to be an improvement on the market standard. Most online funding platforms continue to operate scoring models internally that allow companies have a say in the final interest rate of a loan.

“With INRISC we mean to provide the market off-the-shelf solutions that will ultimately enable the investment industry to benefit from more transparency on risk and pricing, specifically for alternative investments such as crowdfunding,” said Marco Behling of Catena Investments. “Working together with Symbid represents a unique opportunity for us to link to the day-to-day needs of the crowd with independent and state-of-the art scoring models and adequate pricing of requested credit facilities.”

The Funding Network by Symbid is a go-to platform for start-ups and small businesses in search of funding. Through advanced investing, monitoring and data tools Symbid is connecting traditional and alternative finance in a new, online model. With over $100 million provided to small businesses via The Funding Network in its first 3 months, this partnership validates Symbid as a leading European player in financial technology. Although this funding volume does not currently equate to a significant revenue stream there is potential for a monthly recurring revenue model to be added in the near future.

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National Seed-Stage Business Accelerator for Real Estate Startups, elmspring, Prepares to Take Advantage of Illinois HB 3429 to Offer Equity Crowdfunding Deals in Chicago

8 Jun

The elmspring accelerator mentors companies such as PeerRealty, which provides a real estate equity crowdfunding platform that soon will be providing a secondary market for crowdfunded assets and private investment offerings

By Robert Hoskins

Chicago, Illinois – The elmspring accelerator applauds the Illinois state legislature for passing HB 3429, a crowdfunding state exemption bill that will allow Illinois small business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to raise funds through intrastate equity crowdfunding. The bill has a particular interest to elmspring program participants such as PeerRealty, because they are a real estate crowdfunding platform that will soon be providing a secondary market for crowdfunded assets and private investment offerings.

elmspring business accelerator in Chicago, Illinois

elmspring business accelerator in Chicago, Illinois

According to Elliot Richardson, CEO and President of SBAC, “The passing of HB 3429 allows Illinois to take much needed steps to funnel investment dollars back into the state. Intrastate equity crowdfunding makes it possible for small business owners and entrepreneurs to raise money from one another and invest in Illinois businesses, thus supporting the very communities they live in.”

Thomas Bretz, Co-Founder of elmspring, agreed, “We applaud the efforts of the SBAC in urging the Illinois General Assembly to pass HB 3429. The bill will immediately impact the success of our recent graduating startup, PeerRealty, but also open doors for other future participants with similar business models. Building healthy, innovative and competitive businesses is what elmspring is all about, and the SBAC fully supports that mission.”

The elmspring accelerator was founded by top real estate professionals and offers participants exclusive access to real estate connections and resources. Select start-up companies are provided with seed capital, office space and opportunities to beta test and refine sales strategies. Participants also demonstrate their products to a host of serious investors at the culmination of the three-month elmspring session. The accelerator is now accepting applications for its third Chicago session until June 19, 2015. Please visit elmspringaccelerator.com for more information.

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Crowdfunding PR Raising Money via Wells Fargo Project Work to Build the Very 1st Equity Crowdfunding Co-Working Space, Incubator, Accelerator and Training Facility Center in Austin, Texas

22 May

Click on this image to vote YES for our Crowdfunding Coworking Incubator Accelerator Training Facility

Click on this image to vote YES for our Crowdfunding Co-working Incubator, Accelerator and Crowdfunding Training Facility on Wells Fargo’s Work Project Contest for Small Businesses

Show our crowdfunding campaign some love by clicking here and simply voting “Yes,” and then share this story with your friends on social media. Your one vote will help us WIN!

  By Robert Hoskins

Austin, Texas – Front Page PR’s 2015 Mission is to teach local communities how to buy distressed properties such as vacant warehouses and strip malls and invest a little bit of money to turn these properties into crowdfunding co-working spaces where entrepreneurs and startups can congregate and dream up new product/service ideas.

The Wells Fargo Works Project for Small Business

The Wells Fargo Works Project for Small Business. Please Click to Vote YES!

Utilizing co-working spaces, Front Page PR can teach startups via crowdfunding training classes how to use a new finance tool called “Equity Crowdfunding” to raise the sufficient seed capital needed to setup a business, transform their creative ideas into prototypes, pay for the very first manufacturing production run, and then convert these companies from fledgling startups into successful revenue generating machines.

Equity Crowdfunding was legalized in 2012 by the JOBS Act. By October 2015, the SEC should release the final Title III equity crowdfunding rules. Startups will then be able to use General Solicitation market their investment opportunities to over 180 million non-accredited investors throughout the United States. The result? Leading finance experts and venture capitalists agree that the crowdfunding industry will grow quickly into a $300 billion per year industry.

The biggest marketplace challenge is that 99% of the population is unaware of crowdfunding and will need to be trained on how to invest in new startups and how to raise money using equity crowdfunding campaigns. Our crowdfunding classes are complete, but the biggest problem we face is how to pay for an actual crowdfunding training facility, converting it into a co-working space, staffing it with experts, and then marketing the facility to the general public.

We would like to spend the $25,000 Wells Fargo prize to start the process of setting up a Crowdfunding Incubator/Accelerator facility for small businesses and utilizing it over the next two to five years to teach people how to use crowdfunding sites to raise seed investment capital. The business model should fund itself in less than 12 months based on monthly co-working memberships alone, but we need enough money to get things started.

Our Incubator will provide a directory of crowdfunding experts that mentor entrepreneurs/startups on how to use donation-based or rewards-based crowdfunding to raise enough money on sites like GoFundMe.com, Kickstarter.com, or IndieGoGo.com to get a business up and running. Our crowdfunding training classes will show startups the step-by-step process of how to conduct successful crowdfunding campaigns.

Our Accelerator will provide a directory of legal, finance and securities experts that will help businesses take their companies to next level by selling equity shares or debt in their company to investors to raise even more money. The investor training classes will show new, non-accredited investors how to vet deals and ride the coattails of super angels by utilizing investment syndicates.

Once the Incubator/Accelerator is established and producing successful startups, we plan to license the business model so that others can replicate this crowdfunding training business template anywhere in the United States, providing a tremendous boost to the US economy.

Why launch a Crowdfunding Training Center? After serving as the Director of Corporate Communications for several Fortune 50 companies, I was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug and jumped off the corporate ship in 2001.

Since then I have thrived on the joy of building industries one small company at a time and the love for sharing my accrued knowledge gained from a vast array of B2B industries, international sales & distribution channels and working with media organizations to maximize publicity.

My track record includes building a broadband wireless industry in 2001 with the Broadband Wireless Exchange Magazine, an Arizona solar industry in 2009 with the Arizona Solar Power Society and I have been working for the past three years on building a crowdfunding industry with Crowdfunding PR to score a hat trick in 2015 when the SEC approves the title III equity crowdfunding rules.

Please support our fundraising campaign to build the 1st Crowdfunding Co-Working Space, Incubator, Accelerator and Training Center in Austin, Texas. Click here and vote yes!

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Want to help us build a Crowdfunding Training Center?

Wells Fargo Announces Four-Point Plan to Expand Credit Coaching Programs and Offer $75 Million in Investments, Grants and Micro-Lending for Small Businesses in the U.S.

21 May

To help business owners learn how to obtain credit, as well as better understand the reasons for a decline and learn how to prepare to reapply, Wells Fargo has launched a new Credit Coaching program

  By Robert Hoskins

San Francisco, California – To gain more insight into the experiences of diverse business owners in the areas of lending and operating their businesses, Wells Fargo commissioned Gallup to conduct a national study of small business owners. Today, as Gallup releases the findings (on Gallup.com), Wells Fargo is announcing a four-point plan to address needs identified in the study. The plan will help more diverse small businesses become credit-ready and gain access to credit. The Gallup survey included findings of business owners in six segments – African American, Asian American, Hispanic, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), military veteran, and women.

Please click on this banner to vote yes for Crowdfunding PR's business plan to open up Crowdfunding Training Facilities Nationwide

Please click on this banner to vote yes for Crowdfunding PR’s business plan to open up Crowdfunding Training Facilities nationwide in tandem with co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators

“Serving diverse communities has long been a focus area and priority for Wells Fargo, yet we know there’s more work to be done, and it starts with gaining a deeper understanding of the experiences of diverse small business owners working with financial institutions,” said Lisa Stevens, head of Small Business for Wells Fargo. “For this reason, we commissioned the Gallup study, which gave us new insight into the perceptions and experiences of diverse business owners working with banks, and how we can improve as a company and as an industry.”

Overall, the national study revealed there are more similarities than differences between small business owners in all diverse segments and those in the general population. It also shows specific areas in which the financial services industry can provide more support for diverse business owners.

Credit Coaching Program

In the Gallup survey, diverse-owned small businesses were more likely to respond that they have been declined for business credit – about one in five African American, Asian and Hispanic business owners said they faced a credit decline in the past (14 percent of general market respondents said they faced a decline). After being declined, a higher percentage of African American business owners (64 percent) said they did not apply for credit again than their peers in the general small business population (47 percent). African American (14 percent) and LGBT (15 percent) business owners also reported greater personal credit challenges than the general market (5 percent).

To help business owners learn how to obtain credit, as well as better understand the reasons for a decline and learn how to prepare to reapply, Wells Fargo has launched an enhanced Credit Coaching program. It offers expanded support to business owners who have been declined business credit. The phone-based program has been rolled out to small business owners who apply for Wells Fargo Business Direct credit products (primarily credit products under $100,000 sold through its retail banking stores). Business owners who use the program will be connected with a credit specialist who will review the business’ credit profile, explain why the business was declined credit, and share resources that can help the business strengthen its credit profile and improve the likelihood of being approved for business credit in the future.

In addition, while the majority of business owners surveyed across all segments said they did not feel a perception of discrimination from a financial institution impacted their chances of obtaining business credit, 22 percent of African American and 11 percent of LGBT business owners reported that perceived discrimination impacted their chances of obtaining credit for their business, compared to 5 percent of the general small business owner population. The Credit Coaching initiative will be one way Wells Fargo will further increase transparency of credit decisions and facilitate conversations that build trust with all customers.

“We take pride in the fact that diversity and inclusion has long been one of our core values in every aspect of our business, and at every level of our organization,” said Stevens. “We want to make sure all customers feel welcome, respected, understood, valued and appreciated. The actions we’re introducing today are the next steps for Wells Fargo to better serve and connect with diverse-segment business owners.”

Community Development Financial Institutions Investments, Grants

Another key finding in the Gallup study is that African American, Asian and Hispanic small business owners are more likely to be in the start-up and growing stages of their business, compared to the small business population in general, and as a result may not qualify for many conventional bank loan products. In addition, 49 percent of African American-, 47 percent of women- and 45 percent of LGBT-owned businesses in the survey reported annual business revenue of less than $50,000, compared to 36 percent of small business owners in general.

To help newer, smaller and start-up businesses access the appropriate business financing and support they need, Wells Fargo will extend $50 million in investments and $25 million in grants to organizations called Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that serve small businesses and entrepreneurs. The investments and grants will be directed to CDFIs that help small businesses get started and established by providing flexible capital and technical assistance. Wells Fargo will work with existing and new CDFI customers in diverse communities across the country to deploy this capital and measure its impact.

“We know that in order to address the range of financial needs within all of our communities, we need to support and work with the ecosystem of organizations that serve small businesses,” said Jon Campbell, executive vice president, government and community relations for Wells Fargo. “Through this increased investment and connections with community lending organizations, we are making meaningful strides toward increasing access to capital for small businesses, as well as helping more business owners get the coaching and educational resources they need to succeed financially long-term.”

Nationwide Referral Network

In the Gallup study, more African American, Asian and Hispanic business owners reported they were unable to obtain all the credit they needed in the past year than the general business owner population, yet the majority of small business owners in all diverse segments said they did not need credit in the last year. At the same time, nearly one in four African American, Hispanic and Asian business owners plans to apply for credit in the next 12 months, higher than the general small business owner population planning to pursue credit (15 percent). Businesses in the startup and growing phases in general expressed more intentions to apply for new credit.

To ensure business owners are aware of and accessing the full range of financing options available to them, Wells Fargo recently established referral relationships with more than 20 nonprofits and other lenders in cities across the country that are participating in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Community Advantage program. Participants in the SBA’s program specialize in providing hands-on guidance to small businesses and offering credit to qualifying businesses in underserved markets. Wells Fargo, the nation’s No. 1 SBA lender 7(a) in dollar volume for six consecutive years (U.S. SBA data, federal fiscal years 2009-2014), established these relationships with the intent of providing small business owners with an additional financing solution that may better meet their lending needs.

Chamber Training Institute

On the topic of business education, the Gallup study showed that African American, Asian and Hispanic business owners were more likely than business owners in the general population to be extremely or very interested in learning how to build a strong business credit application, choose a credit product, and develop a business plan. To meet this demand, Wells Fargo is supporting a Chamber Training Institute that trains leaders of diverse-segment chambers of commerce on key business and leadership topics for their members, such as how to access business credit and craft strong business plans. This cross-chamber initiative builds on Wells Fargo’s strong working relationships with chambers nationwide that specifically serve and represent African American, Hispanic, Asian American and LGBT business owner interests.

“There’s no single answer to the challenges reflected in the study, just as the challenges facing all diverse-owned businesses are broader than any one financial institution can address,” Stevens said. “As America’s leading small business lender, we have a responsibility to do more. We believe the steps we’re taking will make a difference, help us foster more lifelong relationships, and move us closer to our goal of helping every business we serve succeed financially. We want to contribute to a national conversation, involving the public and private sector, industry stakeholders and small business owners, about how to better support small businesses in every community.”

Additional Gallup study findings

Other key findings in Gallup’s industry study included:

  • Only about half of small business owners say they have ever borrowed money for their business, including the general population of small business owners (50 percent), Asian (53 percent) and Hispanic (51 percent) segments, while the percentage of African American business owners who have used credit (42 percent) is somewhat lower.
  • African American (21 percent) and Hispanic (18 percent) business owners were more likely than their counterparts in the general population (10 percent) to be in the startup phase.
  • Nearly half of Asian-owned business owners (49 percent) said they were in the growing phase of their business, a higher percentage than the general population of small business owners (37 percent). Also, 38 percent of Asian-owned businesses reported annual revenue of $250,000 or more, compared to 22 percent of businesses overall.
  • A higher proportion of veteran-owned businesses (24 percent) reported being in the winding down phase – preparing to retire, sell or transition their businesses – than small business owners in general (15 percent).
  • Just 9 percent of women business owners reported plans to apply for new credit in the next 12 months, compared with 20 percent of men surveyed.

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Crowdfundraiser.com Readies Equity Crowdfunding Platform to Host Tier 2, Title IV, Regulation A+, Mini-IPOs

4 May

Crowdfundraiser and its partners, including attorneys and accountants, will be prepared to provide Form 1-A filing and audit solutions for businesses looking to perform Tier 2 Regulation A+ crowdfunding

 By Robert Hoskins

Seattle, WashingtonCrowdfundraiser.com announced the addition of services geared toward companies looking to file Reg A+ offerings. Starting sometime in June, when the ability to file Regulation A+ becomes completely effective, Crowdfundraiser and its partners, including attorneys and accountants, will be prepared to provide Form 1-A filing and audit solutions for businesses looking to perform Tier 2 Regulation A+ crowdfunding.

Crowdfundraiser Readies Equity Crowdfunding Platform to Host Tier 2, Title IV, Reg A+ Mini-IPOs

Crowdfundraiser Readies Equity Crowdfunding Platform to Host Tier 2, Title IV, Reg A+ Mini-IPOs

Even though the full release of Regulation A+ will not occur until June, the team at Crowdfundraiser is ramping up to prepare several companies who’ve already expressed interest. Each offerer is intent on raising the maximum amount from the offering at $50 million. “We’re already seeing a great deal of interest in Regulation A+ offerings, but we’re being very selective on the types of companies and operators with whom we’re engaging,” says Jake Durrant, Managing Director.

Because the law itself confines the type, size and structure of each deal and company, there is already a narrow definition of the businesses Crowdfundraiser can work with. Furthermore, the Crowdfundraiser team has also opted to ensure the opportunities with which they assist have a high probability of being fully subscribed. “While we have the ability to scale our processes, we would prefer to work with the highest quality deals we can,” says Durrant. “Doing so increases the probability of success and creates the best situation for both investors and entrepreneurs alike.”

Crowdfundraiser is intent on only providing services for companies looking to do Tier 2 offerings with Regulation A+. “We feel Tier 1 Reg A offerings are not only too small, but are almost a non-starter due to the fact that Tier 1 offers don’t preempt the state Blue Sky Laws,” Durrant says. “This may pigeonhole us somewhat, but it helps define where we’ll play and where we won’t.”

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

13 Apr

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

By Robert Hoskins

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

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

Patch of Land Real Estate Crowdfunding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 Mar

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

By Robert Hoskins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RE-volv’s IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign Successfully Raises $50,002 to Fund 36-kW Community Solar Project to Power Organic Food Cooperative in San Francisco 

4 Mar

“Solar Seed Fund” finances solar clean energy projects for non-profits and cooperatives by crowdfunding tax deductible donations to fund 20-year solar leases that give back to the community

By Robert Hoskins

San Francisco, California –  RE-volv, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, successfully completed its third crowdfunding campaign on Thursday, raising over $50,000 to finance a 36-kW solar array for the Other Avenues Food Cooperative in San Francisco. RE-volv’s innovative solar financing model, the Solar Seed Fund — the first of its kind — uses crowdfunding to grow a revolving fund that’s continually reinvested in community-based solar projects.

SolarSeedFund Raises Money on Indiegogo to Support Community Solar Project

SolarSeedFund Raises Money with Crowdfunding to Build Community Solar Projects

“People are sick of waiting for leaders to take action on climate change. They want to lead the way in their own communities and RE-volv is giving them a tool to do that.” said Andreas Karelas, Executive Director of RE-volv. “Having completed three successful campaigns, we see that this model is replicable and poised to grow rapidly.”

During its first three Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns, RE-volv has raised over $121,000 from close to 900 donations from people in 38 states and 22 countries. This money is being utilized to finance three community-based solar projects amounting to 68kW of solar capacity.

RE-volv finances solar energy projects for non-profits and cooperatives that serve their community. RE-volv covers the initial costs of a 20-year solar lease by crowdfunding tax deductible donations.

As communities pay RE-volv back through a solar lease over time, RE-volv reinvests those funds plus interest into new projects for nonprofits and cooperatives creating a revolving fund for solar energy that serves the community.

“I’ve been working on this project for eight years, and it’s been difficult to find the right fit for financing this solar project,” said Other Avenues president Darryl Dea. “So when RE-volv came around it was a perfect fit for us because not only do they work with nonprofits and co-ops, but we’re able to contribute to this fund which will further create more solar projects.”

Leading up to Global Divestment Day last week, Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, added, “As everyone’s divesting, might be worth donating a little money to this Solar Seed Fund” which resulted in increased donations for the campaign.

Another factor that helped RE-volv reach its crowdfunding goal was being selected as a winner of the OpenIDEO Renewable Energy Challenge two weeks ago.

As a result, RE-volv will receive resources and support from innovative design firm IDEO and leading environmental foundation, the 11th Hour Project. Open IDEO described RE-volv’s model in this way: “The Solar Seed Fund isn’t your grandma’s crowdfunding platform… It’s a positive feedback cycle that encourages communities to rapidly transition to solar.”

Winning the OpenIDEO challenge adds to a growing line of support for RE-volv. RE-volv has received support for its work from Audubon’s Toyota TogetherGreen program, the San Francisco Foundation, the Rose Foundation, the Yahoo Employee Foundation, Patagonia, KIND Healthy Snacks, Aveda, and Whole Foods.

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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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