Happy Sunday, All!
Welcome to our Weekly Review. Each week I curate the top investment crowdfunding news from around the web. My promise to you: quality over quantity, always. You can subscribe here.
From The Cafe
Getting Smart on Payment Solutions for Crowdinvesting Markets
Great insights from Bancbox’s Vineet Mathur.
We added 10 new platforms to our database this week, all real estate. Many, many more to go and we’ll be improving each profile along the way.
I sat down with the CEOs of EarlyShares, SeedInvest and Nasdaq Private Market. Interviews to be posted this week!
On to this week’s news 🙂
Carlton Group Entered Launched a Real Estate Platform: CarltonAccreditedCrowdfunding.com The platform still appears to be in beta, with many listings called “testing.” Carlton’s move represents a sizable incumbent player moving downstream and into the accredited crowdfunding markets. It’s far too early to tell but something to keep an eye on as more incumbents follow suit: will they build (as Carlton has) or will they buy?
I’m actually leaning towards the latter. I think we’ll see M&A activity tick up meaningfully as the market matures and liquidity scales. Running a successful online marketplace ain’t easy. And for incumbents I don’t believe it will be as linear as taking existing deal flow and simply moving it online: relationships, communications and branding have to be methodically managed; capital is no longer captive; transparency erodes legacy informational competitive advantages; and winning investor trust goes from a once-in-a-decade exercise to an every-single-day thing.
Disclosure Dragon launched: aims to cut compliance costs in crowdfunding transactions
Enterprise activity here: the brainchild of a division of global law firm, Seyfarth Shaw. DisclosureDragon intends to reduce compliance costs in investment crowdfunding raises by automating key legal and compliance tasks, such as the drafting of a private placement memorandum (PPM). It’s currently testing its application in beta with Healthcare platform, Poliwogg.
Australian Jobs Board Platform CareerOne announced plans to move into crowdfunding through strategic partnerships.
Yah, I know, this is soft. And perhaps shouldn’t warrant coverage. But I found it interesting given the nature of a non-crowdfunding platform looking to monetize its existing network through crowdfunding. (Personally, I’m bearish on the prospects.) To note: CareerOne is not launching a platform, but a “crowdfunding feature,” and will partner with existing platforms in Australia.
- Equity-Based Platform Fundable Acquired LaunchRock in a part cash, part equity deal. LaunchRock is a web application for designing & hosting a splash page. Typically used as a “coming soon” page for businesses. Terms were undisclosed. Given Fundable itself is a startup, my guess it was mostly equity. This is one of the first bolt-on acquisitions by a platform we’ve seen; I suspect we’ll see many more ahead as platforms look to build out their ecosystems. (Relevant article: Crowdinvesting Ecosystems).
- A new firm called MaidenLane raised more than $20M to invest in Angellist Syndicates and deals This is the second, and certainly largest, fund-of-fund to launch targeting online private deals (Boston-based LaunchAngels was the first to my knowledge). In effect this competes with other startup-focusedplatforms… Does it kill them? If you hold the belief that capital is all the company needs: it probably would. But if you hold the belief that many (most?) issuers will either (a) need or (b) want much more than just capital: than absolutely not. I’m in the latter camp. Syndicates = Capital; Successful Platforms = Ecosystems.
- Coverage of SolarCity’s acquisition of of CommonAssets and its decision to move into crowdfunding Important distinction between SolarCity & Mosaic: SolarCity is taking a fund-based approach, while Mosaic supports direct investment. The former is easier to scale; while the latter allows for more direct, and more meaningful, social connections, and potentially higher social returns on capital.
- Angelcrunch, an equity-based platform in China, was profiledSince launching in 2011, it’s helped 130 new ventures secure funding with successful raises ranging from $163k – $490k.
- Founder of China’s largest rewards-based platform, Demhour, said he has no intention of moving into investments. Similar to the sentiment voiced (repeatedly) by Kickstarters’ founders.
- Company funded on German platform, Seedmatch is hit with bankruptcy rumors. This raises some interesting questions (& hopefully ensuing discourse) around how to manage / structure information rights of crowdfund investors.
Thanks all for tuning in. Your thoughts and feedback are always much appreciated. You can reach me at [email protected] — or simply reply to this email.
Until next week,