The EarlyFive: Data-driven insights for the future of investing

EarlyShares_blog_EarlyFive_01.2As much as we enjoy communicating with our ‘EarlyShareholders’ electronically, we’d love to actually meet you in person. Over the busy few weeks ahead of us, we’ll have the opportunity to do that at some exciting and informative events. Check out the list here and let us know which events you’ll be attending.

In the meantime, please enjoy some new insights from the media on our favorite topics in this week’s EarlyFive roundup – featuring the latest data on angel investing and a new report on the rebounding real estate market. We hope you enjoy these articles (and that we get to see you soon)!

August 6, 2014
Angel Investing Heats Up in Q1 2014
The latest Halo Report from the Angel Resource Institute (ARI) and its partners finds investments and valuations climbing in 2014. As ARI’s Vice Chairman of Research put it, “opportunities are great for startups seeking funding today.” (Don’t miss the data-packed infographic) that accompanies the report.

August 17, 2014
In Silicon Valley, Mergers Must Meet the Toothbrush Test
David Gelles, The New York Times
According to this article, Google chief Larry Page evaluates each potential acquisition by asking whether the company’s product or service passes the “toothbrush test” – is it something you’ll use once or twice a day, and that makes your life better?

August 19, 2014
Think The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is Stupid? You’re Wrong.
Matthew Herper, Forbes
We know… you’re ready for your social media feed to go back to normal, but the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ is undeniably one of the most captivating marketing campaigns to ever capture the public’s attention. Use it as inspiration for helping your next fundraising or sales effort to ‘go viral.’

August 20, 2014
Where $1 Million Buys the Most and Least Real Estate in the U.S.
Camille Salama, AOL Real Estate
The size of a “typical” million-dollar property varies drastically from city to city, and can be an indicator of the positive or negative market forces at play in a given geographic region. One interesting data point: the median size of a million-dollar U.S. home today is just 2,629 square feet – down nearly 4 percent from 2,730 square feet in 2007.

August 22, 2014
Top 10 Tech Companies for Culture and Values
Kyli Singh, Mashable
Building a great business is about creating more than just an excellent product – it’s also about creating a rewarding and respectful corporate culture. Learn a few lessons from Facebook, Apple, Adobe, and others in this top list.

Join us at GCVCA’s ‘Meet the Angels’ on August 27

gold-coastEarlyShares’ colleagues at the Gold Coast Venture Capital Association – a non-profit committed to assisting the entrepreneurial community in South Florida – are hosting their first-ever ‘Meet the Angels’ event on August 27. The event will connect area entrepreneurs to various individuals and organizations that can help them grow, fund, and scale their businesses. 200 leaders from the regional business community are already registered to attend.

‘Meet the Angels’ will include panel discussions by prominent angel investors, entrepreneurs, and funding platforms from throughout the state of Florida. EarlyShares is sponsoring and exhibiting at the event and our CEO, Joanna Schwarz, will speak on a panel.

A number of entrepreneurs who are currently raising capital on EarlyShares will be in attendance at the event, making ‘Meet the Angels’ a valuable networking opportunity for investors who are interested in any of our current offerings. We hope you’ll join us!

Meet the Angels will take place Wednesday, August 27, 2014 from 5 to 8 pm ET at the Embassy Suites Boca Raton. Full event and registration information, as well as a list of confirmed panelists, is available here.

The EarlyFive: Private investing is ‘all about access’

EarlyShares_blog_EarlyFive_01.2Do you know the five ‘basics’ of private investing? EarlyShares is committed to helping investors understand their options, so we recently spotlighted the top things to know about the “equity crowdfunding” industry in a guest post for a major news outlet. (It’s the lead story in our weekly EarlyFive roundup, below.)

The key takeaway on private investing is that this new sector is all about access. The JOBS Act Title II regulations finally give the 8.7 million accredited investors in the U.S. – only 3 percent of whom have engaged in private investing – direct access to private opportunities. Check out our current live offerings to start incorporating new assets into your portfolio.

Aug. 7, 2014
Investing with sense in the new private IPO market
Joanna Schwartz, CNBC.com

We published this piece through the new CNBC-YPO ‘Chief Executive Network’ editorial partnership, which we’re excited to continue participating in. Use the post as your primer for capitalizing on “crowdfunding” opportunities.

July 28, 2014
Black Swan Seed Rounds
Sam Altman’s Blog

Before becoming full-time partner, then president, of Y Combinator, Sam Altman was an active seed-stage investor. In this blog post, he reflects on how the best-performing investments in his early-stage portfolio are the ones his colleagues failed to see as “hot” seed round opportunities.

Aug. 14, 2014
Peer-to-Peer Lending Poised for More Growth: Fed
Michelle A. Samaad, CreditUnionTimes

We see peer-to-peer lending as private investing’s older cousin: it’s been around a little longer, so it’s already widely embraced by the investing public. This article not only spotlights P2P lending’s rapid growth (84% per quarter since 2007), but projects its continued expansion – a trend that will help equity crowdfunding to grow alongside it.

Aug. 14, 2014
Top 30 Cities for Green Real Estate
Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

As interest in sustainability initiatives grows nationwide, so does the “green” real estate movement. Minneapolis/St. Paul clocks in at the top of this list, compiled by CBRE, with nearly 30 percent of its buildings qualifying as green.

Aug. 10, 2014
Which tech exec did the best job on the Colbert Report? The complete ranking
Paul Carr, Pando

To add some humor to your day, here’s a “listicle” complete with clips of tech’s biggest names – Bill Gates, Steve Case, Sheryl Sandberg, and others – sitting down with the inimitable Stephen Colbert. Our favorite moment? When Stephen asks Elon Musk where he finds the time for his “secret identity as Batman.”

EarlyShares CEO explains the new ‘private IPO market’ on CNBC.com

cnbc-250-25years“Equity crowdfunding” – or, as we at EarlyShares prefer to call it, “online private investing” – is modernizing the private finance market by giving accredited investors public access to private investment opportunities. Investors can leverage this new sector to diversify their portfolios in a diverse array of alternative assets… but they can’t do that until they get educated about this new investing field.

To equip investors with the intel to understand equity crowdfunding, EarlyShares CEO Joanna Schwartz recently shared a guest post on ‘Investing with sense in the new private IPO market’ with CNBC.com. In the piece, which was published in partnership with the CNBC-YPO ‘Chief Executive Network’ editorial partnership, Joanna details the top five things investors need to know to get started in private investing.

Click here to read the piece. Once you know the basics on private investing, check out the current investment offerings on EarlyShares to start incorporating alternative assets into your portfolio.

The EarlyFive: Maximizing your network effect

EarlyShares_blog_EarlyFive_01.2At EarlyShares, it’s our goal to make capital raising and investing more efficient, engaging, and user-friendly. To do that, we recently deployed new features to help entrepreneurs motivate their networks to support them. If you’re currently raising funds for a business or project, you’ll find new “Share Your Offering” and “Invite Investors” tools in the Offerings tab of your EarlyShares dashboard.

As the first item in this week’s EarlyFive will remind you, your network is crucial to your success – no matter your profession. We hope our newest tools make it easier for issuers to leverage their networks to full advantage.

Aug. 1, 2014
Joshua Klein: Invest in Your Network & Your Network Will Invest in You
99u

More than ever, your network is your most valuable asset. In this engaging talk, technology expert Joshua Klein explains to investors and entrepreneurs how the internet is being optimized for relationships… and how you should “humanize” your work to help networking happen naturally.

Aug. 2, 2014
Turning growth into traction: 7 tactics top growth teams use to engineer their growth
Ken Zi Wang & Granger Tripp, VentureBeat

There is an increasingly large distinction between “growth” and “traction” and – as this piece points out – traction attracts capital. Learn the three steps to engineer your growth (acquisition, action, and retention) and some successful entrepreneurs’ favorite ways to convert them into traction.

Aug. 6, 2014
Is Miami the Next Silicon Valley?
MSNBC

Following on the heels of the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and others, MSNBC is the latest major news outlet to turn its attention to our community’s high-potential entrepreneurial ecosystem. We’re thrilled to contribute to this growing startup hub!

Aug. 3, 2014
Crowdfunded real estate: Tips for small investors
Lew Sichelman, LA Times

By moving the investing process online, real estate crowdfunding gives investors greater access to deals than ever before. As with all real estate investments, potential “crowd” investors should research a property’s market conditions, financials, and legal docs prior to investing.

Aug. 7, 2014
15 Surprisingly Inspirational Business Takeaways from ‘Moneyball’
Jeff Haden, Inc.

Whether or not you’re well acquainted with the excellent film Moneyball (or the non-fiction best-seller it was based on), you’ll appreciate the poignant lessons the movie has to offer entrepreneurs and other business leaders.

EarlyShares Hits The Road: Catch Us at Upcoming Events

earlyshares-eventsAs the summer season winds down, “EarlyShares Event Season” is just heating up. We’re looking forward to speaking and exhibiting at a bunch of exciting conferences, expos, and other events around the country in coming months.

August and September are jam-packed for EarlyShares – and that’s just the beginning. Browse this list of our next events and let us know which ones you’re attending!

Wednesday, August 27
GCVCA: Meet the Angels
Boca Raton, FL

This event, hosted by our colleagues at the Gold Coast Venture Capital Association, is designed to help connect South Florida angel groups and other investors with local entrepreneurs. Not only will the EarlyShares team be in attendance, but several CEOs from our issuing companies will there too – making this an excellent networking opportunity for investors from the EarlyShares community.

Friday, August 29 to Sunday, August 31
Miami New Construction Show
Miami Beach, FL

Lucky for us, this huge real estate expo is taking place in our own backyard. MNCS 2014 will give condo developers a unique opportunity to pitch their projects to a crowd and give buyers, sellers, and service providers a marketplace for networking. We’ll be exhibiting as well as participating in the education track with a speaking engagement by our CEO Joanna Schwartz.

Tuesday, September 2
GrowFL: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Crowdfunding Today
Orlando, FL

GrowFL, an economic development program focused on assisting growth-stage companies in Florida, is bringing the state’s leading entrepreneurship and capital-formation experts together to educate the business community on new investing and fundraising opportunities. Sign up here for just $15.

Friday, September 5
FIU Lunch & Learn Workshop: Equity Crowdfunding 101
Miami, FL

The Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center at Florida International University hosts a regular Entrepreneurship Workshop Series to deliver real world knowledge and tools to both experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs. This session featuring our CSO Heather Schwarz-Lopes will provide a broad overview to private investing and capital-raising through equity crowdfunding.

Monday, September 8 & Tuesday, September 9
IMN: The Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate
Santa Monica, CA

We’re traveling approximately 2,800 miles to take part in this huge event from the Information Management Network, a premier organizer of institutional finance and investment conferences. The Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate will bring together 45 renowned speakers – including our CEO Joanna Schwartz and CSO Heather Schwarz-Lopes – to expose real estate project operators, sponsors, investors, and registered investment advisors to the huge potential of the growing real estate crowdfunding industry.

The EarlyFive: Educating Investors & Entrepreneurs

EarlyShares_blog_EarlyFive_01.2Somehow, August is already here. With back to school just around the corner, we have education on the brain at EarlyShares. How are you learning more about investing and capital raising?

We’re happy to share a few new lessons in the EarlyFive, our weekly collection of insightful content around the web. And we hope our informative EarlyShareholder blog is your go-to educational resource. For some weekend reading, check our posts on passionate investing, fundraising, and understanding traction.

July 31, 2014
Here’s The Most Important Investing Lesson From ‘Think Like A Freak’
Libby Kane, Business Insider
The latest book by the best-selling authors of Freakonomics contains a key takeaway for private investors: “acknowledge what you don’t know.”

Aug. 1, 2014
5 Social Media Myths for Startups
Adam Fridman, Inc.
Misconceptions abound when it comes to social media, especially among entrepreneurs who don’t want to invest funds into seemingly “free” social services. Improve your social media strategy by banishing these myths from your business.

July 31, 2014
5 Reasons Real Estate Is, Once Again, a Prudent Investment
Brenton Hayden, Entrepreneur
Though the author of this article is focused on active real estate investing through property purchases, his five reasons apply just as well to passive real estate investing through crowdfunding. Given today’s affordable property prices, soaring rental prices, and accessible capital, real estate investors are in an optimal position to earn returns.

July 31, 2014
The Run Rate Trap
Sean Byrnes, AlleyWatch
Run rate is an increasingly popular data point discussed by founders and investors, but if you’re unfamiliar it can sound like “a magic bean stalk that everyone knows about except for you.” Get the basics on run rate and learn the pitfalls around the concept.

July 31, 2014
5 Foolproof Tips for Landing Funding (Trust Me)
Chris Heivly, Inc.
Are you different enough from your peers to truly stand out? Follow this investor’s advice to separate your venture from the competition.

The EarlyFive: Optimizing early-stage ROI

EarlyShares_blog_EarlyFive_01.2

Private investing under Title II of the JOBS Act is a relatively new field – one for which many investors are still developing and honing their investment strategies. Results-driven data in this sector can be hard to come by, so we’re pleased to share the findings of a recent study in the latest EarlyFive, our weekly feature on insightful content around the web.

According to findings from one private investment marketplace, companies that raise $2-to-$3 million are providing the highest return on capital to their investors, followed by those that raised less than $2 million.

We think that’s great news for investors on EarlyShares, since we specialize in selecting emerging-growth issuers that are raising $3 million or less. (Learn more about the study in the first EarlyFive article below.)

3 Tips to Finding Small Companies With Huge Potential
Matthew Milner, Daily Reckoning

Following the guidelines recommended by Milner, Founder of crowd-investing education site Crowdability.org, may help you optimize your return on capital.

Eric Ries’ Top Tips on Being Lean
Madeleine Lewis, Virgin Unite

Ries, founder of the Lean Startup movement, here advises entrepreneurs to experiment, plan for the pivot, and pay attention to accounting.

Condo Builders Fuel Land Rush in Miami
Robbie Whelan & Arian Campo-Flores, Wall Street Journal

Another week, another major headline on the resurgent real estate environment in our Miami headquarters. We’re pleased to see the rapid progress in our local market and to help investors get in on action around the U.S. through our real estate investing vertical.

When You Should Delegate, and When You Shouldn’t
Sara McCord, Mashable

Delegating can be scary – especially if you know exactly how you like things done – but it’s a critical aspect of effective management. Learn when to let go in this helpful article.

9 Hall of Fame Leadership Lessons
Steve Cody, Inc.

It’s the perfect time of year for baseball-themed business inspiration. Check out this collection of quotes for leadership advice from the 2014 inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

EarlyShares CSO interviewed for MarketWatch News Break

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 6.42.37 PMThe emerging industry EarlyShares operates in is known by a lot of names. We prefer to call it General Solicitation or online private investing, but the prevailing moniker, “equity crowdfunding,” isn’t going anywhere. With that term comes the inevitable question: “How does this differ from other kinds of crowdfunding?”

If you’re wondering that yourself, check out our CSO Heather Schwarz-Lopes’ excellent new interview for MarketWatch News Break. In the audio podcast, Heather explains how equity crowdfunding enables accredited investors to achieve long-term alignment with a fundraising company and share in its economic returns. She also shines a spotlight on how companies can use the EarlyShares platform to simplify and amplify their capital raising efforts. Click here to listen.

 

The EarlyFive: Making investing less ‘invisible’

EarlyShares_blog_EarlyFive_01.2

My favorite selection from this week’s EarlyFive, our weekly collection of insightful content from around the web, was a reminder to entrepreneurs on the behind-the-scenes efforts (the “Invisible Game”) required to successfully raise capital.

Investors have to play an “Invisible Game,” too, when considering a private investment opportunity: researching the company and industry; checking out the business owner’s track record; getting comfortable with investment terms and exit timelines. Traditionally, the documents and resources investors need to make decisions have been housed in disparate places, so a lack of transparency has long plagued the private investing process.

Online platforms like EarlyShares, however, are finally providing investors with the tools and features to bring their “Invisible Game” out of the shadows. Learn more in the Benefits section of our site, and enjoy this week’s EarlyFive below.

July 14, 2014
It’s crowdfunding, but this isn’t Kickstarter
MarketWatch 
Our CSO Heather Schwarz-Lopes gives newcomers a terrific introduction to equity crowdfunding in this audio interview for MarketWatch News Break, sharing how new regulations are enabling investors to long-term alignment (and shared economic returns) with private companies.

July 17, 2014
5 Ways Big Data is Changing Real Estate
James O’Brien, Mashable
Like virtually every other industry, technology is transforming real estate. Big data, in particular, is injecting new intelligence into the real estate market and changing the way buyers, sellers, investors, and banks think about transactions involving property.

July 17, 2014
The Invisible Game
Brandon Gadoci, Disruption Corporation
This data-packed piece offers a hard-earned lesson every entrepreneur should take to heart: when you’re fundraising, there are two games being played – one you can see and one you can’t. Hustling hard on the “invisible game” can make it easier to earn investor funding.

July 13, 2014
How Can This Be a Billion Dollar Company?
Brad Feld, Feld Thoughts
In this provocative blog post, massively successful VC investor Brad Feld argues that many major seed investors are too focused on finding “unicorn” companies. Feld’s approach to early-stage investing, especially in regards to finding young companies with founders he believes in, is right in line with EarlyShares.

July 16, 2014
6 Ways to Connect With Really Important People
Peter Economy, Inc.
Building and growing your network is critical to your success, whether you’re an investor, entrepreneur, small business owner, executive, or any other professional. Check out these tips on connecting to the kinds of people who can help open new doors in your business life.