Inside Equity Crowdfund Platforms - Choosing the Right One!

We get questions from startups every day about which equity crowdfund platform to use. Fortunately, we work with most of them and compiled some notes on how they stack up. Not all platforms made the list. We’ve worked with some longer than others.



For background, equity crowdfunding (ECF) has changed the investment landscape since the enactment of the JOBS Act in 2016, opening up investment opportunities for “retail” (non-accredited) investors instead of being limited to high-net-worth individuals and financial institutions.


Our content team sat down with our Business Development Lead, Danny Shapouri, to learn the ins-and-outs of ECF platforms based on his years of experience partnering with them as the industry emerged. We’ve highlighted the best attributes of each platform so that founders trying to choose between them can make a more informed choice.

Wefunder


Founded by entrepreneurs Nick Tommarello, Mike Norman, and Greg Belote in 2012. The platform has raised over $9.8 million from over 100 investors as of 2019. From our experience they provide great customer service. They allow social pixel FB placements. Also, they help their clients by running their own ads for the issuer, helping promote the win. In addition, Wefunder is flexible with minimal investment amount changes and perk changes. They too work as an extension of the team being constantly proactive with issues or questions that may come up. This platform is also open to mutual co-branded material for issuers. Also, they are a women-owned company!


StartEngine


Has raised over 125M with over 300 companies & approximately 200,000 investors. It allows companies and startups to submit an application to determine the website’s requirements. If and when approved the company can shape their site to be as personal and informative for investors to connect and seek investment in. Companies generally raise for anywhere between 6 months to a year, but they can continue raising for up to three years.


In the past, we have worked with them and have seen what makes them shine as an equity crowdfunding platform. They allow tracking pixel placement, not all platforms offer this! They have their own internal team for ads as well. Alongside this, they have a large investor audience where they do summits to invite issuers. In general, StartEngine is a pretty large team who do a great job for their own content. Another helpful tool is CEO, Howard Marks, for his always helpful, educational content he puts out. More importantly, they are a platform that serves green tech and blockchain campaigns that wouldn't be possible for some other platforms to do.


Republic


Launched in July 2016, it is one of the newer sites for crowdfunding. Investments for Republic are mainly early stage investments, also known as “seed-stage” in startups. Republic retains a 2% in securities and also a 5% commission of what the company makes using the Republic site for the time being. Investments on this site are more high-risk than other crowdfunding sites due to the fact that their site operates with other newer startup companies. “Republic has a standout investor education section, which includes a super-handy calculator for previewing the outcome of various exit scenarios for a SAFE investment.” SAFE meaning Super Agreement for Future Equity.


Investors can invest as low as $10 in private startups and can earn a recompense if the startup succeeds. From personal interaction with them, Republic has an internal marketing team as well as a large C-level team. They run ads from their own page for their issuers in which the client does not have to worry about it. Pixel placement is also available here. In addition, Republic has partnered with consultants who actively attract minority-led enterprises through their diversity and inclusion initiatives. This platform allows green technology and blockchain campaigns, something that not all platforms do.


Title3Funds


Helps startups and small businesses to achieve their goals through investments. They aim to work with companies looking to raise a minimum of $100,000. When going public with Title3Funds, they offer partnership and advising on how to seek investors. “Our team of advisors carefully chooses partners to work with based on the needs and wants of our investors.”


Title3Funds has a deeply experienced C-level team with a focus on empowering issuers (startups). This platform is extremely flexible to work with too. Pixel placement is allowed. This platform focuses only on Reg-CF. They have a custom back-end, whereas other groups use FundAmerica. Mainly, Title3Funds focuses on empowering and educating investors in the investment process.


SeedInvest


The company was founded in 2012 and launched in 2013. Headquarters are currently in New York City by Ryan Feit and James Han. This platform has raised a significant portion of its own $4.15 million in total Series A funding online in April 2014. From what we have seen in SeedInvest, pixel placement is not allowed. We manage to work around that by creating a landing page but it’s an extra step. Alongside having a strong C-level team, they have a large influence on Reg-A’s. SeedInvest is a responsive team overall striving to help their investors with as much as possible. Lastly, they do events for road shows!


Honorable Mention


Birchall


They are a freshly new crowdfunding platform helping connect the right investors to brands. January 18, 2020 was the day Birchal became one of the first ASIC approved licensed platforms in Australia. While they’re newer in the community their approach is hands-on and we recommend giving them a look.


We recommend speaking with as many platforms as possible before making your decision. Get a gut check on their leadership as well as evaluating their technical abilities. With due diligence you’ll find the right fit for your vision. If you'd like our assistance in making your choice you can schedule with us here.