StartEngine Review: Pros, Cons and What to Know

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
September 26, 2023
Overall Rating:
securely through StartEngine's website

StartEngine is an equity crowdfunding platform that connects the general public with startups. Equity crowdfunding came about in the wake of the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that gave companies more freedom in how they could raise funds. StartEngine has helped companies raise more than $350 million across 500 offerings via Regulation Crowdfunding and Regulation A+ to date — more than any other platform in this space. 

Companies raise funds on StartEngine and later give their shareholders the opportunity to trade, all within the same interface. Investors can discover more than 100 different startups and build their portfolios. It’s open to nonaccredited investors and maintains low investment minimums — as little as $100. StartEngine also provides companies with an opportunity to start a Regulation Crowdfunding offering before moving on to a Regulation A+ raise. To date, more than $350 million has been invested on StartEngine, and the platform boasts more than 500,000 prospective investors.

Best For
  • Investors looking to diversify
  • Businesses needing investors
  • Those who wish to invest outside the stock market
  • Investors and businesses connect in real-time
  • Can sign up at any time
  • Detailed investor presentations
  • Low minimums
  • Opportunity for companies to raise funds through Regulation Crowdfunding
  • Inherently risky and illiquid to invest in startups
  • Limited information on companies beyond minimal background checks and anti-fraud checks
  • Valuations set entirely by the company raising money — no room for negotiations

StartEngine Ratings at a Glance

Wondering whether StartEngine is a good option for you? Take a look at how this investment platform ranks across several key indicators and learn about the different pros and cons.

Startup Investment Options

StartEngine hosts a wide range of startup investments, utilizing Regulation A+, Regulation CF, and Regulation D offerings which allow non-accredited investors to participate.

Not just any company can launch a crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine. Startups must meet certain criteria to be considered, then StartEngine analyzes each company to determine if determine they are the right fit for the platform and audience.

Users can browse available startups by industry and how much the company has already raised.


Customer Service Rating

StartEngine maintains solid customer service options. Users can get in touch with support by calling 800-317-2200 or emailing StratEngine also boasts a Help Center with information and answers to common questions. Companies interested in raising capital as well as potential investors are encouraged to contact the StartEngine team with any questions they may have. 

Customer Pricing

StartEngine makes money by charging transaction fees to companies selling shares. In some raises, they also charge investors a small fee. However, StartEngine only makes money once a company raises capital. It charges 7% of the total capital raised for Regulation Crowdfunding offerings, an additional 2% of what is raised in equity and another $10,000 in deferred revenue that’s collected once the offering is complete.

How They Make their Money

It’s important to note that on top of the fees StartEngine charges, there are separate costs for launching a Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) campaign. Reg CF requires a financial review and legal documentation that can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000. 

Regulation A+ is more expensive and can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. The process is also longer — it can take an average of 110 days to qualify.

User Benefits

StartEngine offers many benefits for both investors and companies. Investors can discover new and exciting companies to invest in and diversify their portfolios. While businesses can access capital and raise funds without having to go directly to a venture capitalist or bank. Fortunately for investors, there's low investment minimums to get started — as little as $100. Investors can also access presentation decks and rest assured that the startup companies they’ve invested in have passed anti-fraud and background checks. Nonetheless, not all information is available and some may be limited to the company’s discretion. 

Regulation A Raises

StartEngine allows companies to raise capital via Regulation Crowdfunding and Regulation A+. The platform provides companies with their own account managers to help them manage the legal and financial technicalities, including filing Form C. Companies also can access a campaign strategist and creative lead who can provide insights into the marketing components of fundraising. 

These companies are able to launch advertising campaigns and collaborate with StartEngine’s internal digital ad agency. They can also withdraw the funds they raise on a rolling basis and put them to immediate use for business expenses or marketing purchases. 

User Experience

StartEngine is an extremely straightforward platform for both investors and companies undergoing fundraisers. Investors have access to a clear-cut interface with information about different opportunities and can track their investments directly from the online dashboard. Users can also leverage the comments section, follow campaigns for updates and even ask questions directly to company founders. 

Companies fundraising through the platform have a ton of tools at their disposal. The StartEngine team is willing to walk startups through the process, providing advice and even managing some of the paperwork associated with filing a Form C. The interface is easy to navigate, and the process is incredibly straightforward. 


StartEngine Versus Competitors

StartEngine isn’t the only crowdfunding platform available. Nonetheless, it stands out among the competition because of its low costs and fees for both investors and businesses. Take a look at how StartEngine compares to competitors. 

Overall Rating

StartEngine is a leading crowdfunding platform for a number of reasons. It’s easy to use for both investors and companies. They can walk companies through every stage of the fundraising process and provide as much information as possible. Dedicated marketing teams also are available to help companies launch advertising campaigns. 

Investors benefit from little to no fees and an intuitive interface that allows them to invest, track and ultimately diversify their portfolios. All companies on StartEngine have offerings meeting StartEngine's criteria and offerings qualified by the SEC. As a result, investors should proceed with caution and never invest more than they can afford to lose. 

StartEngine Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions


Is StartEngine legit?


Yes, StartEngine is a legitimate, regulated business. The 2012 JOBS Act allowed for more flexibility in how companies raise funds and gave way to equity crowdfunding platforms like StartEngine.


How do you make money with StartEngine?


StartEngine offers opportunities for investing in different startups. Investors can make money by researching and investing in different companies. However, no investment is guaranteed, so it’s important to do your due diligence before dedicating funds.


How much does it cost to use StartEngine?


Most investment amounts on offerings are completely free.

User Reviews


How do you use this product to boost your finances?

it is a scam Start Engine

Mary K King

How do you use this product to boost your finances?

I've been investing 2-3 years. NOTHING YET. I found Start Engine didn't take my complaint about not being able to get my money in seriously, therefore I did

Submit Your One Minute Opinion

How do you like StartEngine?

Accelerate Your Wealth

Arrived Homes allows retail investors to buy shares of individual rental properties for as little as $100. Arrived Homes acquires properties in some of the fastest-growing rental markets in the country, then sells shares to individual investors who simply collect passive income while waiting for the property to appreciate in value over 5 to 7 years. When the time is right, Arrived Homes sells the property so investors can cash in on the equity they've gained over time. Offerings are available to non-accredited investors. Sign up for an account on Arrived Homes to browse available properties and add real estate to your portfolio today.