2 Top Hyper-Funding Sites and 4 Types of Peer-to-Peer Lending for Funding Your Business

Before writing today’s article, I needed to let you know I heard from the founders of Crowdtilt after a recent blog post I wrote regarding the Top 5 Crowd Funding sites.  They wanted to correct a small detail regarding their site.  They wanted you to know that they follow the All or Nothing (AoN) approach to crowd funding; in other words, unless the goal is met, credit cards are not charged. They wanted to be sure no one was surprised or disappointed if there was a misunderstanding.  Thank you, Marek, for clarifying this for us.

Now that you have an alphabet soup of hyper-funding sites to check into for funding your business, I want to provide some specifics on two of the top sites, as well as some insights into one more type of crowd funding…Peer-to-Peer Lending.


GrowVC –

Grow VC (which stands for Grow Venture Community) is based in Hong Kong and has offices in the UK, the US, and Finland.  Grow VC is a more complex site that allows startups to receive equity investments up to $1 million per year.

In addition to helping with monetary investments, the Grow VC site includes an “Experts” system.  Through this system, those who are “experts” with special abilities or knowledge can offer their “work investment” (in lieu of money) to a startup.  There are also beneficial tools on this site that can be used for assessing the value and reputation of a startup.

Another great perk on Grow VC is a “micro investment” model whereby investors can dedicate a monthly budget as low as $20; and Grow VC helps them by providing tools and profiles of startups, including their history.

The fee for Grow VC is 2.5 percent of raised capital, assessed only on successful projects.


CrowdFunder (Beta) –  

With CrowdFunder, backers can choose to invest for more than just straight equity.  Another option is they can buy a cut of the revenues based on time or a percentage of return.  For instance, an investor could “buy” 5% of a company’s revenue for three years or get 10% of revenues earned, capped at a 200% return on investment.

Normally, in traditional, equity-based financing, investors aren’t guaranteed a return on their investment unless the company is sold or offers dividends.  Crowd Funder’s differs in that, by buying a percentage of revenue, investors can get a guaranteed return and share in the incremental growth of a company.

Fees:  TBD


Peer-to-Peer Lending –

Also known as Person-to-Person Investing, Peer-to-Peer lenders are companies that leverage already-existing communities in online aggregating lending clubs.  They act as the middleman between the ‘Peers’ based on similarities in geographic locations, educational and professional backgrounds or social networks.  These Peer-to-Peer lenders handle the lending terms without a traditional financial institution.  This particular lending/funding option is targeted at for-profit activity.

The following are Peer-to-Peer Lending options:

  • Direct (one specific borrower) vs. indirect (pool) lending
  • Secured (collateral based) vs. unsecured (credit rating only) lending
  • Prior familiarity of lenders and borrowers (Family & Friends vs. Existing Community)
  • Services offered (Lending/Borrower Matching and/or Loan terms and documents)

The advantages of P2P Lending are:

  • Borrowers get better rates than at traditional banks (below10%)
  • Lenders gets better returns with a quicker turn around
  • Less requirements

The major disadvantage…there is more risk for lenders because of fewer borrower requirements.


LendingClub –  

Lending Club, the first Peer-to-Peer Lender to register its offerings as securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was founded in 2006. The Lending Club also offers loan trading.  As of April 2012, Lending Club has originated $600 million in loans and averages $1.5 million in daily loan originations.

Through Lending Club’s website, borrowers are able to create loan listings which supply details about themselves and their requested loans.  All of the loans are unsecured and personal, between $1,000 – $35,000.

Approvals for loans are based on the borrower’s credit score, credit history, desired loan amount, and the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio.  Loans are only available to U.S. residents in 42 states and can be prepaid any time without penalty.  The standard loan period is three years; but five-year loan periods are available if a borrower is willing to pay a higher interest rate and additional fees.


In subsequent blog posts, “Accelerators” and “Super Angels” will be a topic of discussion; and I’ll be sharing some tips for crowd funding and also how to find funders.  Finding a way to fund your business these days can be challenging…but exciting, too!


Loan to Equity/Hyper Funding Sites A to Z

As promised, today’s blog post looks at something different than Money for Goods Crowd Funding.  Today I want to outline for you Loan to Equity (LtE) Crowd Funding (otherwise known as Hyper Funding) as a means of funding your business.


Loan  to  Equity (LtE) or Hyper Funding –

This form of Crowd Funding is based on equity ownership being given to contributors in exchange for their monetary investments.  The JOBS Act of 2012 (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) enables small investors (up to 2,000 shareholders) to become “venture capitalists” of sorts in a more informal, low scale way.

  • Loans – donors loan money to the entrepreneur, which is paid back later, generally with interest
  • Equity – donors are basically given some amount of equity in the business that is raising the funds


Hyper Funding Sites

40 Billion

AngelList:  Where startups meet investors; where startups meet talent

Bolstr:   We simplify the process of raising investment capital from your network and community with fair deal terms that work for you and your supporters.



ConfidentCrowd:  ConfidentCrowd is an equity-based crowd funding portal whose sponsoring members consist exclusively of registered Broker-Dealers.



EquityShack:  A crowd funding platform that allows you to invest in what you know and in what you care about; your community.


FundingLaunchPad :  FundingLaunchpad.com is a product of Vim Funding, a Boulder, Colorado company dedicated to helping startups and small businesses successfully navigate the confusing world of fundraising via expert educational tools, a directory of vetted resources, and this platform.

Gambitious:  Support independent game developers and publishers in attracting the funding they need to complete projects AND bring them to market.



Hedgeable:  Hedgeable is changing the way Americans invest, one investor at a time. Join the revolution.


Initial Crowd Offering:  Goals are to provide funds to our country’s starving small and emerging businesses, provide the opportunity for regular people to invest in emerging businesses, and  provide a forum for our members to find and support their community.

Investfashion:  An innovative and sustainable platform, geared towards uniting the general public and fashion lovers who want to be financially and emotionally linked to the development of a new generation of creative designers.


Lending Club:  Lending Club is an online financial community that brings together creditworthy borrowers and savvy investors so that both can benefit financially. We replace the high cost and complexity of bank lending with a faster, smarter way to borrow and invest.

Microventures:  MicroVentures is an investment bank for startups. We conduct due diligence on startups and then if approved we help them raise capital from angel investors.



People’s VC


ProjectPowerup:  Focused on the idea that anyone with a new product or service would benefit from running a crowd funding presales campaign to prove that there are people interested in buying the product or service if it existed.

Prosper Marketplace


Return on Change:  Our mission is to provide an online medium by which start-up companies and bright entrepreneurs will be able to pool capital through crowd sourcing, while creating a community of advice and collaboration.







TinyLightbulbs:  The next step for crowd funded and independently funded products whether from startups or simply individuals with a vision; a marketplace for tomorrow’s biggest ideas

US Crowdfunding Exchange

Wahooly      At Wahooly, we’re making it possible for online influencers to invest in emerging businesses with social capital. At the same time, we’re helping to solve one of the biggest challenges that young companies face today — traction.


Zopa:  Voted Moneywise’s ‘Most Trusted Personal Lender three years running, Zopa is licensed by the Office of Fair Trading and backed by the same investors that backed eBay, Betfair and Skype.


There is so much to digest and choose from.  Later in the week, I’ll talk about a couple other hyper-funding sites and then also outline peer-to-peer lending…yet another option for funding your business.

Here are 5 of the Top Crowd Funding Sites for Helping Fund Your Business, Cause or Creativity

Crowd Funding…one of the most exciting new concepts for business and cause funding…can be a real boon to entrepreneurs, startups, creatives and not-for-profits.

If you read my last article, you saw that there are is a long list of options for pursuing Crowd Funding; and today I want to review a few of the top Crowd Funding sites that are well worth looking into.



Kickstarter was founded in 2008.  In 2012 alone, they are on the path to raising at least $300 million.  Kickstarter’s funding focus is on creative projects, so it is not the place to look if you want to promote a charity or what is called a “fund-my-life” project.  In order to get approved on Kickstarter, one must:

  • Be a U.S. resident
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a U.S. bank account
  • Have a driver’s license
  • Have a credit card

Other important details regarding Kickstarter are:

  • All or Nothing (AoN) – You must meet your goal or you get nothing
  • Fees are 5% if you meet your goal; no fee if your goal is not met
  • Monies collected go through Amazon Payments, which charges a 3-5% processing fee
  • If you are an investor, you are not guaranteed that the project will be completed or that the money will even be used to implement it.



The “birth” of IndieGogo  actually took place at the Sundance Film Festival in the same year as Kickstarter…2008.  This site has been responsible for generating more than 100,000 campaigns covering everything from films to small businesses.  Most of its campaigns are for-profit projects.  IndieGogo is available worldwide to anyone with a specific dream or idea.

Further details about IndieGogo include:

  • It offers effective integration into social media and websites
  • Your progress can be tracked with its excellent analytics tools
  • No guarantees that goals will be met
  • Two funding plans  –
    1. Flexible – 4% if goal is met/9% if goal is not met; Keep it All plan (KiA)
    2. Fixed – 4% if goal is met/no fees if goal is not met; All or Nothing (AoN) plan with contributors donations returned if goal isn’t met



This is a very new site, originating in January of this year.  Although it will help fund any kind of project, a heavy emphasis thus far has been on artistic campaigns.  RocketHub also has a couple of “perks” for its fundraisers:

  1. Badges that can be earned  through voting to gain further exposure
  2. “LaunchPad Opportunities” – where fundraisers can be awarded extra resources depending on their campaigns’ popularity and expert evaluations

In addition, campaign details are:

  • Keep it All (KiA) – no fees for submitting projects and then 4% of the amount funded
  • LaunchPad Opportunities – free for successful campaigns or $5 for anyone else



One appeal of this site for those who choose to donate is that they can participate in a profit sharing benefit for a pre-determined amount of time.  With 33needs, the main focus is on social entrepreneurs and business startups that must first go through an application process in order to run a campaign.

When an application is accepted, the details for campaigns are:

  • 5% fees for successfully funded campaigns, in addition to transaction fees.
  • All or Nothing (AoN) – your financial goal needs to be reached within a specific time frame, otherwise contributors’ debit or credit cards are not charged.



This funding site targets personal/private campaigns within groups of people who already know one another.  This option enables friends to join together and raise money for a shared goal, such as a vacation trip or community project.

If you use Crowdtilt, the details are:

  • Fees of 2.5% if your campaign is successful and a 2.5% credit card processing fee
  • Whether the goal is met or not, you get to keep any funds that are collected.


Now that we have gotten familiar with Money for Goods Crowd Funding and sites, my next blog post will move on to HyperFunding…Loan to Equity (LtE)…details and pertinent sites.  If, after reviewing my last couple articles you haven’t found what fits your particular business funding needs, maybe HyperFunding will be the answer.


Where to Begin with Crowd Funding? How About These 27 Sites for Crowd Funding Your Start-Up Business

As promised, with this blog post I’m going to dig a little deeper into a business funding option that is very exciting and innovative…Crowd Funding.

Crowd Funding is a fantastic place for startups to investigate raising money for their product, service or cause.  It can be broken down into two broad categories:

  1. Money for Goods – this option is when money is given in return for actual goods or services
  2. Hyper-Funding – this option deals with interest bearing loans or investment with equity

Below is a brief explanation of the two types of Money for Goods “plans”, followed by a list of Crowd Funding sites (many accompanied by descriptions taken from the website).


Money for Goods (MfG) –

  • All or Nothing (AoN) – With this plan, when the pre-determined fundraising period is over, the money is only transferred from the contributors to the entrepreneur if his or her specific goal is met.  If the goal is not met, then contributions are automatically refunded.
  • Keep it All (KiA) – This funding choice stipulates that whether the project goal is met or not, all of the monies collected (minus the site’s commission) are handed over to the entrepreneur.  If the funds raised are insufficient to meet the goal of the startup, then the recipient is responsible for refunding contributions. 


Money for Goods Sites –

All or Nothing (AoN)



Fundageek  (crowd funding platform for commercial projects based on technology, scientific research projects at universities and research institutions, inventions, education, outreach and community support)

FundedByMe  (great way for entrepreneurs, artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers, and others to bring their projects, concepts, ideas and dreams to life)

Funding4Learning  (crowd funding platform that helps students raise financial resources enabling them to pursue their studies and achieve success)


Loudsauce  (lets people raise funds to amplify videos on national TV and online to create tangible impact)

Microryza  (online platform that let’s you discover new research, support the research you think is important, and then connect with scientists)

Mobcaster  (gives aspiring and experienced TV makers a platform to fund, broadcast and monetize their TV shows)


PleaseFund.Us  (a risk free way for people to raise money to fund their creative projects and ideas)

Pozible  (developed for artists, musicians, filmmakers, journalists, designers, social change makers, entrepreneurs, inventors, event organizers, software developers and all creative minded people to raise funds, realize their aspirations and make a great things possible)


START.ac  (crowd funding to make a home for gadgets, startup businesses and technology products; makes crowd funding for creative projects and great ideas more fun)


Keep it All (KiA)

ArtistShare (a platform that connects creative artists with fans in order to share the creative process and fund the creation of new artistic works)


Fondomat (Czech)



Gogetfunding (launch your personal fundraising website and accept donations for any cause, project, event or charity)

Kapipal (raise money for projects, presents, group purchases, charity, and any other dream)

Peerbackers (an online funding platform that allows business owners to raise capital from their “peers” – in small increments – in exchange for tangible rewards to those who contribute)

PledgeMusic (takes a direct-to-fan approach, inviting fans behind the scenes and into the intimate process of making and releasing new music)

Rock The Post

RocketHub (a destination for emerging artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and those who wish to discover and support innovative work)





I hope you’ll take some time to investigate appropriate sites from this list that might be viable for helping with the funding of your business, and let me know if you decide to set up a fundraising campaign with any.  In my next post, I’ll talk more about some of the other top crowd funding sites.


How Crowds of People on the Internet and the JOBS Act H.R. 3606 Can Lead to Business Funding Success

In my most recent articles regarding the many options for funding your business, I began to shed a little light on the many faces of seed funding.  With this and subsequent posts, I want to shine a spotlight on one option I committed to delving into earlier…Crowd Funding.


Jumpstart Our Business Startups –

In April of this year, a very significant law was enacted in the U.S. entitled the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act H.R. 3606).  Its intention…to loosen up many of the regulations in place for funding small businesses in the hopes of encouraging more of it (funding, that is).

What this means to the main focus of this blog post is that “crowd funding” can be done (utilizing the internet) to raise up to $1 million with the stipulation that each investment not exceed the lesser of $10,000 or 10% of an investor’s annual income.  If audited financial statements can be provided to the investors, the $1 million goal can be increased to $2 million.


Crowd Funding –

Crowd Funding (otherwise known as crowd financing or equity crowd funding) could be the answer to your prayers (and your business or creative project’s monetary goals).  Funding your business or project with Crowd Funding is generally done with donations received as a result of being promoted through an online portal (website).  Crowd Funding is taking social media to another level by giving you an outlet for sharing your plans and goals for your business or project and also offering some kind of perk to those who would like to be counted as your supporters. In most instances, those lending their funds are “non-accredited” lenders (their net worth is under $1 million and/or a household income under $200 thousand for the past two years).

Some of these funds are set up to assist not-for-profits (funds such as Fundraise.com, CauseVox, and Fundly).

You cannot minimize the possibilities of Crowd Funding. Even though the bulk of the pledges offered up may be small, there is power in numbers.  There is always a chance, as well, that  your business venture or creative project could garner some press coverage or attract others who would like to collaborate.

A word of caution, the monies you bring in could possibly be considered taxable as personal income or profits for your business.  Check with your tax accountant for IRS guidelines.


Be sure to read my next post for more specific details on Crowd Funding, along with sites where you can begin your business funding search.


Three Ways to Fund Your Business You Probably Haven’t Considered – How Non-Traditional Funding Options Can Save Equity

After discussing how to fund your business with more traditional options in my past few articles, this post is a quick review of a couple of non-traditional ways you might choose to take your business to the next level.


Pre-Paid Sales –

This funding option lets you receive payment ahead of time for your services or product development from one or more key customers who already have faith in you and are betting on you to succeed.  For pre-paid sales, you would give your customers an attractive discount for their “funding”.

Obviously, this is a low risk way of getting started or forging ahead through the early phases of your business growth.  The caution here is that you not “give away” more than you can deliver or afford to do.

This is a short-term opportunity and shouldn’t be looked at as something that you can count on for an indiscriminate amount of time.


Vendor Share Revenues or Royalties –

If you are looking for a way to get to your breakeven point sooner than later and want to control your development costs, this is a very viable funding option.  Revenue sharing is offered to companies whose services you may need in the beginning phases of your business.  These companies may be willing to do the work for you for a small fixed fee each month in addition to a small percentage of your future business income.

The beautiful part of this option is that you don’t have to give away any part of the ownership of your company.  You do, however, give up some of your early profit margin for a limited amount of time in the early phase of your business. This is an option that is becoming more and more popular.


Work Now – Pay Later 

With this last option, you (the entrepreneur) can consider working with other businesses whose services you need using an agreement whereby you pay them a small amount or no money down with the understanding that you will pay them double at a pre-determined date down the road.

Again, the benefits of this method for funding your business is that you keep your initial costs down, you can reach your breakeven point more quickly, and you’re not sharing any ownership in your company.

Also, once again, the risk you are taking is that your profit margin…short-term…is diminished.


As you can see from the above examples, these days the methods for funding a business are limited only by the imaginations of entrepreneurs involved.  There is no one particular way nowadays of funding your business.  Learning to play with others in the entrepreneurial world can benefit all parties if you are willing to put your ideas out there and see who else wants to get in the sandbox with you.

Coming up in future blog posts, I will go into further detail about Crowd Funding and Crowd Funding sites, as well as Peer-to-Peer Lending, Accelerators, and Super Angels.  These are exciting and promising funding options you’ll want to read about.



Funding Your Business with the Help of the SBA and Micro-Lenders

I have covered a lot of ground over the past month in relation to funding your business.  It may seem rather overwhelming when you start to consider all the options…

  • Seed Funding
  • Venture Capitalists
  • Angel Investors

…and then consider all the options within those options.  I hope that with each new post I make things will begin to crystalize more and more so you can focus on where you need to go to get the help you’re wanting for your business.


There are other kinds of loans I’ve already discussed recently, but in this article I want to mention…


SBA-Backed Bank Loans – 

The SBA (Small Business Association) does not actually loan the money, but guarantees the loans through the banks and SBA mediators.

There are three common types of SBA-backed loans:

  1.  7(a) – a guaranteed small business loan
  2. 504 – a loan based on fixed assets
  3. 503 – a loan targeted for expansion or growth structuring

The great thing about these loans is that they can give the borrower improved cash flow with longer terms:

  • Up to 10 years for working capital
  • 10 years for equipment
  • 25 years for real estate

Some entrepreneurs will shy away from applying for these loans, because of the involved application requirements, including the more lengthy business plan.  There needs to be more do diligence and prep work for these loans in order to stack things in your favor.  It definitely warrants getting some help.

These loans are harder to get as a start-up, because they usually require some kind of a track record. It’s best to have been in business a couple of years and already generating cash flow.  These loans are often sold in the secondary markets, which leads to re-structuring and variable rates down the road.  What you start out with and end up with can be different, but these loans are still well worth looking into.

See local banks regarding these loans or go to SBA.gov for local mediators who can help with the process.  SBA.gov does a great job of explaining these options.


The last of the “final four” in the traditional funding chain is…


Micro Lenders/SBA Intermediaries –  

Micro-lenders are non-profit and government agencies that have access to a small pool of investors or SBA-backed funds offering loans for lesser amounts to those who can’t qualify for traditional loans. These lenders work with the economically deprived, minorities, and others who may be struggling to find money.

The third largest micro-lender and SBA intermediary in the United States just happens to be Justine Petersen.org who is in our backyard here in St. Louis and offers SBA-backed loans under 20K at low interest for up to 72 months.

A couple of cautions regarding these types of loans:

  • Often these types of loans require 100% collateral
  • They can be sold to secondary markets, which means re-structuring and variable terms at that point


That brings me to the end of the “Traditional Funding Chain” of options.  With my next post, I will touch on the “Non-Traditional Funding Chain” and its choices for funding your business; and perhaps you will see how one link or more in that chain may work in your favor.

Fund Your Business with a Grant and Set Up House in an Incubator

We’ve finally reached the final four…the last in my list of traditional options for funding your business, especially as a start-up entrepreneur.  I’ve covered the more frequently thought of methods, such as family and friends and using your retirement funds.  Using an aggregated line of credit was another choice discussed, as well as options, such as factoring and invoice advancement.

In this article, I first want to discuss…

Business Grants –

With this funding choice, government agencies, corporate and non-profit organizations award businesses various amounts of money based on certain qualifying criteria.  The money provided is not considered a loan nor does it have to be paid back.

Just to be clear, Not-For-Profits can be funded by for-profit companies; and if your mission and vision is for the greater good of the community, it broadens the way your entity can receive much-needed financial help.

Obviously, the biggest advantage to grants is you don’t have to pay them back.  There isn’t added debt for your company to overcome, and there is usually some community advantage being provided for by those receiving the grant.  Look for industry- and community-specific grants.

Things that you need to be aware of with the grant option is that the process can be tedious, long, and sometimes difficult to maneuver through when you aren’t familiar with it.  Because of this challenge, I would definitely recommend hiring a professional grant writer to help you. Note that a grant writer cannot be paid from the grant funds obtained, so if you need money with which to pay this person, you may need to use some other seed funding method to accomplish that.

There are many places to look for help with grants. The most important step toward being successful with this funding avenue is checking out websites and organizations that are looking to help.  Look at www.businessgrant.org or www.grants.gov  for an extensive list of small business grants that are available from government agencies, private corporations and non-profit organizations.

Another caveat is getting to know about the people involved with the organizations lending the money through due diligence, board member interaction, and relationship building.  It is, indeed, about relationships, relationships, relationships.  The more relationship building you do, the higher percentage of funding you can end up getting.  Because of the economy right now, pools of funding dollars are dwindling, meaning there is less and less opportunities, so these relationships are key.

Another really great option to consider is…

Startup Incubators & Entrepreneur Programs –

Business incubators generally provide free or discounted office space, business services, and business advisors for a specified period of time to start-up companies who show promise and meet their qualifications.

Incubators are often set up in areas looking for economic development or sometimes on university campuses.  They promote and offer workshops, mentorship, and help in finding discounted loans.  Ideally, you want to find one where those in charge encourage collaboration among the start-ups within the incubator.  This is a real advantage for start-up businesses, learning from other passionate entrepreneurs and “playing” together as you work at growing your businesses.

Incubators and entrepreneur programs have great advantages:

  • Saving start-up costs
  • Lowering initial seed funding costs
  • Providing access to supportive resources

Sometimes the qualifying requirements can be daunting to new entrepreneurs, and you really need to be focused on your mission and vision in get in.  Incubators want to feel confident you will be successful.  There is also the issue of the time limit for occupying space in an incubator.  Depending on the incubator, it can vary between one and three years; and sometimes the time may run out before profitability occurs.


Take some time visiting the websites suggested and check to see where there might be an incubator in your area.  If you had experience with either of these business-funding options, comment back and share what you learned.  In my next post, I’ll review a little about loan resources that can help fund your business.