As early investors, we’ve seen dozens of exciting high-upside companies raising funds from the crowd this year. Deal flow has never been better. And crowdfunders have responded by backing these companies with record dollar amounts.
It’s a good time to be an early investor (and a founder seeking funds) — even in the trying economic climate we’re in now.
And it’s a great time for investment platforms/portals to shine. Portals are the critical bridge between startup opportunities and early investors. And I’m always interested when a new one appears on the scene. So when the founders of a new portal — Title3Funds — asked me if I wanted to chat, I eagerly agreed.
The first thing I did when we spoke last week was congratulate them on their impeccable timing. “More luck than anything else,” chuckled founder and Chief Strategy Advisor Ron Hirsch. “We founded the company and started building the team in 2016, the same year that Title 3 investing was finally approved by the SEC.”
Ron and his co-founder, Bruce Virga, laid Title 3’s foundation brick by brick. They reached out to about a thousand companies to learn about their financing needs as well as what they liked most and least about crowdfunding. They also spoke to numerous startup incubators and accelerators in order to build a reliable feeder system of quality startups looking to raise money.
It took a while — but all that work allowed them to launch from a position of strength. Title3Funds went live with its first listing on October 23.
Monday Motorbikes is an e-bike company that describes its mission as “redefining urban transportation with fun, environmentally friendly and attractive electric motorbikes.” More companies are on the way. Title3Funds has about 50 startups in its pipeline. But the real spike in deal flow will come in January when startups will be able to (finally) use crowdfunding to raise up to $5 million (if you missed this good news, check out my last article for more details).
While that’s a great pipeline for a nascent portal, Ron takes pride in the quality of the companies they’ve lined up. “Our offerings are highly curated and thoroughly vetted,” he said. He values not only good deals but “fair deals… with attractive valuations.”
Title3Funds only accepts companies raising under Reg. CF — no Regulation A+ companies for now. And startups listing raising on Title 3’s platforms must offer equity or or convertible notes. SAFE’s are being avoided for now in an effort to keep things simple.
Both of Title 3’s founders bring a deep well of knowledge and experience to their new venture. Ron was a venture capitalist as well as CEO and Chairman of Nord Resources, a public company. He believes that “innovation and sustainability should be among the driving forces for future generations.” Title 3 co-founder Bruce helped bootstrap and build software company Design Science (acquired by WIRIS) first as COO and then as CEO.
They both believe in “empowering everyday people to become [startup] owners rather than solely consumers.” As Ron told me, “When people invest in new startups and companies that have the greatest growth potential, everyone wins.”
That’s the idea. And now the portal is putting that idea into action. For Title3Funds, the fun is only beginning.