Country: United States
Non-Accredited Investors: No
Business Selective: No
Investor Selective: No
Notable Alumni: HelpForBella.com, BoostersUnite.com
Equity crowdfunding portal EarlyShares was launched by businessman and ECF advocate Maurice Lopes in 2011. Explaining his motives for founding the company and enthusiasm for the new market at a conference in 2012, Lopes said, “The gym never got funding before, the aerial sign company never got funding before, the dog walking company that came to us last month with 120 employees and $5 million in revenues never got funding … So now you have a chance to own a piece of a company that might be down the street that might be a catering company that does 12,000 meals a day to schools… Great investment, long term, may pay a nice dividend, a feel good investment, lower risk. This fills that gap.”
Lopes’s portal currently operates offices in Miami and Chicago, has a base of 1,000 small businesses seeking investors, and can raise up to $1,000,000 for a business, while investors can contribute as little as $100. Like some other portals, EarlyShares uses the “all or nothing” model, where failed projects are not invested in (if the fundraising goal isn’t met, no money changes hands), and successful projects have all of their investors lumped into one major shareholder.
EarlyShares currently supports reward-based crowdfunding and equity-based crowdfunding for accredited investors. The portal is expected to open its ECF market to non-accredited investors once it becomes legal to do so.