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Crowdfunding firm makes buy

By   /   Monday, September 30th, 2013  /   Comments Off on Crowdfunding firm makes buy

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InvestedIn, the crowdfunding technology platform founded by Conejo Valley entrepreneur Alon Goren, has acquired MyNewFinancialAdvisor, a Santa Barbara startup.

Together, the firms have created InvestedIn Alpha, which aims to give affluent-but-not-elite investors the chance to buy directly into private-equity funds, hedge funds, venture-capital funds and other vehicles where the minimum investment has often started at $1 million. Now, so-called accredited investors can get into alternative investments for as little as $25,000.

The founders of both firms say the deal was a near perfect fit. InvestedIn supplies technology to make crowdfunding possible, selling it to other companies who actually operate crowdfunding companies. As a result, Goren has looked at scores of crowdfunding companies and spotted a common problems: The average investor sees lots of appeals for cash but precious few good deals.

“The problem is weeding out all of the bad deals and finding the really good opportunities,” Goren told the Business Times. “The next big problem is finding that core group of accredited investors.”

That’s where MyNewFinancialAdvisor, or MNFA, comes in. Using unique-phone-number and call screening technology, MNFA developed a method for capturing the interest of affluent baby boomers with a site called FreeRetirementReport.com and then funneling them to a nearby wealth manager from its network of 70,000 financial advisors across the country.

Frank Troise, founder of MFNA, said that wealth managers loved the stream of new clients. But by tapping InvestedIn’s crowdfunding technology, the MFNA wealth managers a product to sell to those clients. Think domestic equities are sluggish and can tolerate more risk? You can buy a piece of a leveraged-buyout firm.

“Prior to us, there was no way to get into these funds, period,” Troise said. “More importantly, you as a consumer can now make the decision of whether you’re going to do it directly, yourself, or you can talk to your advisor about it.”

The catch: At the moment, customers still need to be so-called accredited investors, generally meaning they have assets, excluding their home, worth more than $1 million. While those investors are still affluent by any stretch of the imagination, Goren still said the platform represents a radical opening of the playing field.

“We can actually get the returns that are normally only available to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and bring that to the masses,” Goren said.

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