Chicago, Illinois, United States: Network of crowdfunding platforms
Randy Shipley, Chief Executive Officer
Vincent Pitetti, Chief Technology Officer
CrowdFund Connect has launched several sites, on a one-industry-per-platform system, aimed at connecting investors and their “champions” with entrepreneurs. One of these sites is CannaFundr, crowdsourcing the marijuana industry, which has been up and running since October 2014.
Revenue Driver: CrowdFund Connect is paid to provide shareholder management, plus legal and accounting services, to the issuers and funds.
Competitors: There are numerous competitors in the white label software business, but there is no competitor yet in the marijuana industry that provides equity-based funding via the syndication of accredited investors.
Competitive Advantage: The proven ability to connect to leading software programs (SalesForce, DocuSign, LexisNexis) for cost-effective management of the investor onboarding and management for issuers.
Business Model: Investors syndicate with investor champions (“Canna Champions” in the case of CannaFundr) who curate and lead investment opportunities, while they provide mentorship and coaching for the top growth companies in the industry.
Funding: Raised $450,000 in its seed round, now closed. It is the company’s goal to grow with their current model without further funding needed, but they haven’t closed a door to further funding if it may assist expansion/expedite growth.
Sales/Marketing Strategy: Social media, word of mouth, its own websites, and the investor conferences it runs.
Customers: Several platforms are in place, each with its own distinctive participants: HealthiosXchange; Alchemy Global; CannaFundr; Social Gravity; Silver Portal. They target respectively the healthcare space, sports & entertainment worlds, marijuana industry, non-profits, and professionally managed real estate investments. The company is seeking a joint venture partner for another site, AlumFundr, which will enable participants to raise money from friends, family, and fellow alumni.
Target Market: In the case of CannaFundr, accredited investors working through the platform participate in a fund, or syndicate, that will receive preferential equity deal terms. The champions who lead the syndicates have worked in the hedge fund, private equity or venture capital spaces.
Products: Shareholder management, legal and accounting services, pursuant to the established and anticipated platforms.
Customer Problem: CrowdFund Connect anticipates that it will have to continue to provide value to the issuers and investors with quality engagement.
Randy Shipley, CEO, was formerly an officer for Carrier Access Corporation in charge of revenue attainment from pre-IPO to a $2 billion Nasdaq traded company.
Vincent Pitetti, CTO, studied Applied Physics & Mathematics at East Carolina University.
Cynthia Salarizadeh, PR Director, was previously with The Harbour Group, U.S. Department of Defense and the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia.
Thomas Coke, head of compliance, was formerly a securities examiner for the state of Michigan and a respected speaker in the crowdfunding world. He received his JD from Michigan State University College of Law.