As crowdfunding becomes an increasingly popular path to raising funds for a project. Crowdfunding investment in startups appears to be one of the next logical steps, but regulatory barriers have closed this door to non-accredited investors (in the U.S., one must earn at least $200,000 annually for the previous two years or have a net worth of $1 million to become accredited). Nonetheless, platforms like Israel-based iAngels have launched in attempts to deliver investment opportunities to the masses.
At the moment, the iAngels website lists 12 projects that have received funding, with another 3 curated projects currently seeking funding. The startup is upfront about which professional investors have chosen to participate, listing lead angel(s) for each project, and how much of the money raised by the project comes from iAngels itself. Clicking on each project profile takes the user to a page that includes a demo video, biographies of the founders and lead investors, and general information about the company. In order invest, users wire their desired amount to an escrow account until the company raises the goal amount, at which time it will receive the investor’s commitment. If the projects do not reach their funding goal, investors are repaid in full.
One of the nicer aspects of the platform is that it is free to become a member, with users not required to pay management fees. Users who opt to take shares in startups will end up forking over 5% of the money invested for administrative expenses, as well as 15% in carried interest on profits upon exit. iAngels states that accredited investors receive full access to the platform, while non-accredited investors are still able to provide funds, albeit in a more limited setting.
To date, iAngels tells me that they have attracted 1,000 users since they launched early last year and facilitated $5.5 million in investment for 15 companies in the process (including iAngels itself).