ProFounder Launches To Help Small Businesses Crowdsource Fundraising

Comment

Raising funds for a small business can be a daunting task for any fledgeling entrepreneur. Whether it be from friends and family or from the general public, finding investors, setting terms of the funding, assigning equity and filing compliance documents is a challenge. Enter ProFounder, a stealth startup that launches today to ensure that all entrepreneurs and small businesses have access to an easy and simple fundraising platform.

ProFounder, which has been in private beta for the past year, offers entrepreneurs two ways to raise money on the site: through a private fundraising round, and/or a public fundraising round. The private fundraising rounds allow entrepreneurs to share a percentage of their revenues with investors (their friends, family, and community) over time. Essentially, this type of fundraising round is an offering of securities, and ProFounder helps facilitate compliance with state and federal laws related to this offering.

Public fundraising rounds allow entrepreneurs to share a percentage of revenues with both investors (anyone can participate – friends, family, community, and general public too) as well as a nonprofit organization. For both public and private fundraising rounds, ProFounder has a limit of $1 million raised.

Entrepreneurs can apply to Profounder, upload a pitch to offer to potential investors and then create a term sheet with Profounder’s templated forms and compliance sheets. As stated above, the term sheets are based on a revenue-share model. ProFounder then gives businesses a page where they can invite friends, family, and investors to a destination page that allows users to make contributions and investments directly on the site.

The bonus of using ProFounder is that the platform allows unaccredited investors (i.e. friends and family as opposed to a venture firm) to participate, so anyone can be an investor. And entrepreneurs can set their own investment terms and ProFounder facilitates all of the compliance, including tracking the number of investor seats in each state where each of their investors live, making sure entrepreneurs know which compliance documents they need to file, making sure entrepreneurs know which filing fees to pay, etc.

ProFounder, which was is the brainchild of Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley and fellow Stanford Business School alum Dana Mauriello, also manages payouts and will pull funds from the entrepreneur’s bank account every quarter to pay investors their share of the business’ revenues.

ProFounder makes money by charging a 5 percent fee (of a public raise) and/or a flat $1,000 fee for any private raises.

If a company pays out investors before the terms of the deal end, then founders can choose to donate the rest of the revenues to a non profit organization. For example, if you offer two percent of your revenues to investors over the next five years and within two years, everyone has been fully paid, then the next three years of two percent of your revenues will go to the nonprofit.

To date, ProFounder has facilitated 5 successful private fundraising rounds, raising a total of $155,000 and engaging a total of 108 investors. For example, Bronson Chang, a recent USC alumni moved back to his native Hawaii to help out with the family business—a candy shop in Honolulu. Bronson wanted to open another shop in the area and raised $54,000 from 19 community members including friends, family, and USC classmates. Bronson is also currently raising an additional $60,000 through a public investing round.

Another private beta tester, BucketFeet, is a start-up from two recent college grads that makes hand-painted sneakers. The fledgling entrepreneurs managed to raise $60,000 from 37 investors including friends, family, and classmates across the country.

ProFounder’s model is similar in some ways to Kiva’s microlending, which recently opened up its platform to American entrepreneurs. Other companies playing in the space include Kickstarter, and Prosper.

But Jackley and Mauriello say that with the 27 million new and existing small businesses in the U.S., there are plenty of opportunities to offer fundraising and investment platforms to this demographic. Eventually, ProFounder will include social networking integration and possibly a convertible debt option for term sheets, say Jackley and Mauriello. In the end, Mauriello says, it’s about making sure that small business entrepreneurs have access to much-needed resources in terms of raising money.

More TechCrunch

London-based fintech Vitesse has closed a $93 million Series C round of funding led by investment giant KKR.

Vitesse, a payments and treasury management platform for insurers, raises $93M to fuel US expansion

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

2 days ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses