O’Leary is joining StartEngine as a strategic advisor to help ensure startups and entrepreneurs are aware of the benefits of equity crowdfunding to raise capital during a time when access to funding is becoming more challenging for early-stage companies.
In addition to encouraging his own portfolio companies to raise funding through StartEngine, O’Leary will also give advice to StartEngine’s entrepreneur community and help spread StartEngine’s brand to his own community and followers.
“With the coronavirus pandemic causing economic uncertainty, startups and small businesses are having an incredibly hard time accessing capital, so you’re going to see a material increase in interest in crowdfunding companies like StartEngine that are solving that problem,” said O’Leary. “We’re going to look back on this period as the start of the rise of equity crowdfunding, and I think it’s an industry that StartEngine is going to win.”
As the largest equity crowdfunding platform in the United States, StartEngine brings startup investment opportunities to the crowd by allowing everyday people to buy shares and invest in early-stage companies and startups. StartEngine enables entrepreneurs and small businesses to raise capital directly from their own customers, as well as from the growing StartEngine community of over 235,000 investors. The platform has already helped hundreds of businesses raise over $135 million.
“We saw huge growth in crowdfunding during the last economic downturn when entrepreneurs needed to find alternative capital sources. We are similarly ready to provide a funding solution now, in what is shaping up to be another challenging period,” said Howard Marks, CEO of StartEngine. “With the high level of uncertainty, we’ve already seen venture capital and angel funding slow significantly. The opposite is true on StartEngine -- we’re seeing tremendous interest from everyday investors in the opportunities on our platform. Crowdfunding is unique in its ability to find large numbers of shareholders that are aligned with a company’s mission and goals and are not on compressed timetables -- a problem that currently plagues the traditional private equity and venture financial services industry.”
The partnership with O’Leary follows StartEngine closing an $8M funding round on March 11th on StartEngine’s own platform—the company puts on its clients’ shoes and raises capital via equity crowdfunding too. To date, StartEngine has raised over $18M and has over 9,000 shareholders on its cap table.
StartEngine was among the first equity crowdfunding platforms to launch in the U.S. in 2015 following the implementation of the JOBS Act, which was signed into law in 2012. Before the JOBS Act and the launch of StartEngine, most Americans could not invest in early-stage, private companies in this way. Only five percent of the population -- those known as “accredited investors” who earn more than $200,000 annually or have more than $1 million in assets -- could previously make equity investments in private companies.
StartEngine is the leading equity crowdfunding platform in the U.S., where everyday people can find and invest in early-growth companies and startups. StartEngine has helped more than 325 companies raise $135M+ from a community of over 235,000 prospective investors. Based in Los Angeles, the company was created in 2014 by Howard Marks, co-founder of Activision, and Ron Miller.
StartEngine is committed to revolutionizing the ways companies raise capital through the JOBS Act and helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc. is not a broker-dealer, funding portal or investment adviser. StartEngine Capital, LLC is a funding portal registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). StartEngine Primary LLC is a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and FINRA/SIPC.