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StartEngine Onboards Kevin O'Leary, Extends Equity Crowdfunding To General Public

StartEngine Onboards Kevin O'Leary, Extends Equity Crowdfunding To General Public

The financial markets experienced a historic liquidation as investors withdrew their appetite for risk in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The tightening of business conditions couldn’t come at a worse time as emerging companies look to continue funding their innovation. 

In search of viable alternatives, entrepreneurs and small businesses have taken interest in equity crowdfunding, a method of gathering funds directly from the general public.

Howard Marks, the CEO of StartEngine, one of the largest online investment crowdfunding platforms, spoke with Benzinga about the unprecedented business cycle brought on by the coronavirus — and how everyday people can invest and help fuel the next generation of disruption. 

What Is StartEngine?

Marks, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Activision, became involved with crowdfunding after discovering how hard it was for entrepreneurs to raise capital.

After the signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) in 2012, Marks introduced StartEngine, a new method of raising capital directly from the public.

“We match the entrepreneur with an investor, from the general public.”

Since launching, StartEngine has allowed over 250,000 investors the ability to invest over $150 million in emerging startups and small businesses.

Kevin O’Leary Shows Support

StartEngine recently onboarded Canadian businessman, author, investor and "Shark Tank" star Kevin O’Leary as a strategic advisor and shareholder.

In a statement to Benzinga, O’Leary said the biggest problem with traditional venture capital funding is maintaining control over the direction of a company’s future.

“With crowdfunding, you raise incrementally small amounts of money so you’re not beholden to any single shareholder,” O'Leary said. “You communicate the vision. You determine the price and the attributes of the deal.”

Cognizant that billions could be raised via equity crowdfunding, O’Leary said he sought after the leading technology provider in the space: StartEngine.

“When I did my research, I realized that there was one company that emerges way ahead of everybody else. It’s was the company started by Marks,” O’Leary said. “I gave him a call and asked if we could partner up.”

Through its strategic relationship with O’Leary, StartEngine has since increased awareness around crowdfunding and generated hundreds of new leads for companies who want to raise money.

StartEngine's Platform

StartEngine is a place where investors can learn more about emerging disruptive innovations, communicate with company leaders and establish investments.

“The platform constantly evolves. We’re measuring and testing the ability to better communicate and help investors invest in offerings,” Marks said. 

The company recently added credit card functionality. 

Additional platform features include a company overview section, real-time updates, disclosures and key investment details.

“Our platform is a means for communication and investor relations,” Marks said. “The company can offer updates on progress while having the ability to see who visits a page and who invests.”


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