Crowdfunding has exploded as a great way to raise money on the internet for many different causes and projects. It basically allows anyone to share their project or cause and appeal to the masses for financial backing. It has recently been adopted (thanks to the JOBS Act) by various businesses as a new an innovative way for them to raise capital by selling equity or debt in their project or business venture. This has evolved to create a new asset class for investors allowing “the crowd” to participate in funding start-ups, real-estate developments, or large income producing properties in return for equity or interest payments. In general I would categorize the offers available in to three groups:
Start-up businesses offer equity to investors and although this is highly speculative the returns can be huge as well. These companies may only be an innovated idea or a company with a prototype of a product. They have no revenue or past performance to base their projections on. More about funding start-ups here.
Private early stage companies are small private companies which are already selling a product or service and have already generated revenue. These companies are looking for financing to increase production or expand their businesses. These investments are more stable as they have a business model which is already producing revenue although they may not yet be profitable. The returns can be forecasted with much better accuracy and the company value is easier to determine. Some of our favorite platforms offering these type of investments are Circleup.com, Seedinvest.com and crowdfunder.com. Make sure to read our full circleup reviews , seedinvest reviews and crowdfunder reviews as well for more info.
Real Estate companies offer a number of options as well. They may sell debt, offer equity or a combination of both. These offerings may range from development projects of high-rise apartment buildings or single family homes to income producing properties such as elderly care facilities, hotels or commercial real estate. Some of our favorite options for real estate investing are fundrise.com, realcrowd.com, realtyshares.com and realtymogul.com click to see our thoughts and reviews.