Another crowd funding startup has entered the mix, and is announcing funding today (which was raised via its own platform, of course). Crowd investing startup Wefunder is announcing a $530,000 seed round from just under 60 investors, over half of whom are unaccredited. Nihal Mehta, Jim Pallotta, Dharmesh Shah, and Bill Warner also participated in the round.
Similar to other crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Wefunder aims to help unaccredited investors put money into startups and ideas they are interested in. Founded by MIT Sloan and Techstars alumni Mike Norman, Nick Tomarrello and Greg Belote; Wefunded actually helped craft the Crowdfunding portion of the JOBS Act that President Obama signed into law on April 5th, and watched him do so in person at the White House. The JOBS act opened up equity crowdfunding’s limitations, and expanded the ability for unaccredited investors to put money into startups with limited regulation from the SEC.
The company’s founders acknowledge that the crowdfunding space is ‘crowded;’ but where Wefunder hopes to differ from competitors is in the actual follow through from an investment. Wefunder actually encourages investors to build relationships with entrepreneurs, and help startups beyond the funding moment. Investors are required to help with product feedback, connections, and evangelism. As Norman explains, the site really wants to place the emphasis on building long term relationships between founders and investors.
To celebrate the implementation of a part of the JOBS Act called general solicitation, which allows startups to publicly advertise the opportunity to invest in their company through social media or news publications, Wefunder is also launching a Startup of The Month program.
Entrepreneurs that apply to the program will go through an initial selection process after which a panel of angels including Brad Feld, Nihal Mehta, Bill Warner and others will interview 5 different startups about their businesses in a Google hangout. The winner is guaranteed a $25,000 investment and hands on help from Wefunder designing a public launch.