GrowVC – Pushing Crowdfunding Borders to the End of the World
Calling itself a securities crowdfunding platform, GrowVC has a goal of expanding its global entrepreneurial activity beyond its current reach in 190 countries, to become the Silicon Valley of the online world. The community base means that entrepreneurs connected with GrowVC’s fundraising platform get early phase funding help – along with a social network of customers, experts, partners, and team members. Free and easy communication flow is helped by the develoment of free startup profiles, Skype chat access, and the ability to upload videos.
However, while social connectivity is encouraged, GrowVC understands that getting a company off the ground is more than just a matter of money or excitement. Startups can be advertised on additional sites beyond the equity crowdfunding platform, and there is no hard-and-fast time limit for the raising of capital. (Motivation may come from the knowledge that no funds will be received until the closing has been completed.) Certified partners pay an annual $5,000 fee to cover knowledge gaps for startups in specific global locations, offering their help as an angel network or boutique banking establishment.
GrowVC lives its understanding of the need to diversify in location and knowledge. It’s one of the few crowdfunding platforms with company headquarters and customer service in multiple countries, from New York (United States) to London (United Kingdom) to Hong Kong. For instance, the GrowVC vision leader (Alan Moore) also does strategic marketing for a Cambridge-based legal documents company, while PhD Patricia Timoner-McManus in South America is the co-founder of Mobile Monday Sao Paulo. The United States team includes a former analytical chemist (Jim Keating), while the European team includes a former Executive Director at UBS Bank (Jacobo Elosua) who established his own boutique banking firm.
GrowVC’s other unique offering is the ability for experts to offer their advice and startup services, from auditing to investment banking to technological savvy, on an exchange platform of either equity or cash. This opens up possibilities beyond just the connections that happen between founders and funders.
Though it’s free to join, it costs only $20 per month (via PayPal or credit card) to become a crowdfunding subscriber in the micro investment program. This means that the subscriber has a chance to fund a startup company, managed by GrowVC’s management team, who takes the subscriber’s directions into account while aggregating the monthly amount with other investors’ fundraising capital. Once the funding goal is reached and the closing has been finalized, the startup company will pay a 2.5% fee on the total amount raised. If the investment pays off and the startup company does produce ROI, cash rewards or percentage returns will be allocated to the subscriber, based on the timing of the investment. ‘Early bird’ investments get bigger rewards, while group size also determines the amount of the reward.
The second contribution option is for the subscriber (or angel investor) to directly invest in the company of their choice. These contributions are not charged a commission or transaction fee by GrowVC, but there may be fees from the certified partner. Also, the money is not taken out of the investor’s account until the company has completed its funding goal, and third parties have completed the closing process and all legal due diligence.