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New Equity Crowdfunding Site Fundopolis To Emphasize Blockchain
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
New equity crowdfunding entrant Fundopolis launched today, highlighting the challenges for late entrants.
Fundopolis launched this morning with two campaigns on the portal, Apotheka Systems, which with just a few hours of history has not yet raised any money toward its $1,070,000 goal , and Bee Mortgage App, which has raised $100.
The Securities and Exchange Commission delegates responsibility for regulating financial intermediaries to FINRA, which regulates portals under the SEC’s Regulation Crowdfunding, commonly referred to as Reg CF, using what could be described as a light version of the regulation governing broker-dealers. It presently lists 47 approved portals, including Fundopolis. Broker-dealers can also be authorized under their FINRA registrations to operate portals but are not listed with the Reg CF portals.
Michael Mook, Fundopolis CREDIT: FUNDOPOLIS
Fundopolis is led by CEO Michael Mook. In an email exchange, I asked him some questions about the platform to which he has responded. I’ll share that exchange in its entirety below.
Devin Thorpe: The Reg CF platform space is fairly crowded with dozens of platforms and a few dominant players (WeFunder and StartEngine). How will Fundopolis be different?
Michael Mook: Unlike other equity crowdfunding platforms, Fundopolis is the only portal that is built to support the entire funding cycle for both issuers and investors. By using innovative technology like blockchain, we provide easy-to-use tools that help individuals and small businesses seamlessly navigate the full funding journey – from start-to-finish.
This means that small businesses are never left alone and instead are given robust tools and support to manage equity, distribute perks, and provide a superior experience to each new investor. At the same time, investors are never left in the dark about the status of their investment and how they will receive payment and/or redeem perks.
At Fundopolis, we believe that this new approach to investing makes it simpler, more approachable, and more enjoyable for all. We are focused on building stronger communities by making investing more accessible for everyone while making it easier for small businesses to raise capital that meets their needs on their own terms.
DT: How will you support women and minorities raising money on Fundopolis?
MM: At Fundopolis, we want to become the top destination for any small business that is looking for an alternative and more personal way to raise capital. Our mission is based on the belief that the opportunity to invest in small businesses should be available to anyone – especially people who haven’t been able to easily access it in the past — and not limited to Wall Street and complex bank loans.
We hope that everyone, including minority and women owned business who are often challenged by the traditional capital raising process and options, will use Fundopolis to achieve their funding goals. We will support small businesses of all kinds, no matter who they are, every step of the way.
DT: How will social ventures with a positive global impact be highlighted on the Fundopolis platform?
Every raise will have specially curated “badges” on their page to identify those differentiators. For example, these badges will help identify women-owned, minority-owned, and sustainable investing opportunities.
– Michael Mook, Fundopolis
MM: Communities grow stronger when small businesses thrive, and supporters become more invested in their success. Fundopolis exists to catalyze this dynamic by facilitating the connection between small businesses and customers who want a stake in their growth. This includes small businesses and organizations across industries, from mom and pop shops to social ventures supporting a positive global impact – we want to help them all raise capital through equity crowdfunding, while simultaneously cultivating deeper relationships with their customers.
We welcome all types of small businesses, including those with a mission driven by social impact and we can’t wait to welcome those ventures to raise on our platform. For investors interested in supporting causes near and dear to their hearts, we try to make it easy to find issuers that align with their interests. Every raise will have specially curated “badges” on their page to identify those differentiators. For example, these badges will help identify women-owned, minority-owned, and sustainable investing opportunities.
Apotheka Systems, based in Beverly Hills, could certainly be included among mission-driven companies. It is using blockchain technology to make electronic medical record platforms more secure, which has a clear social benefit. The business is flagged with a “Minority Owned” badge as well.
Bee Mortgage App, the other company raising money on Fundopolis on day 1, is also mission-driven, with a goal to reduce the cost of mortgages and to make home financing easier right from your phone. The offering is flagged with a “Women Owned” badge as well.
Fundopolis faces an uphill battle to gain traction in the crowded field of Reg CF portals. Time will tell if its strategy will stand out from the crowdfunding crowd.
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