Investment crowdfunding platform StartEngine has announced a significant investment from SE Agoura Investment LLC, a company associated with Aubrey Chernick who is also the founder of NextGen Crowdfunding. According to the announcement, the new capital will be used to boost awareness and grow the equity crowdfunding site. StartEngine has recently launched several high-profile equity crowdfunding campaigns under Title IV, or Reg A+ of the JOBS Act. StartEngine is expected to incorporate Title III crowdfunding as soon as the new exemption becomes live in May of 2016.
Chernick is a recent participant in the booming internet finance sector having launched NextGen last year. But Chernick is no novice entrepreneur having created the highly successful software firm Candle Corporation. In 2003, Chernick was named Software CEO of the Year by the Technology Council of Southern California in recognition of his pioneering work in developing world-class, systems management software. Candle Corporation was acquired by IBM in 2004. At that time, it had more than 5000 customers in 60 different countries. Chernick is also a prominent philanthropist having supported diverse charities such as the Children Uniting Nations.
StartEngine is the creation of Ron Miller and Howard Marks. Miller is CEO of StartEngine and is described as an “entrepreneur’s entrepreneur” having founded 5 different companies. Marks is Executive Chairman of StartEngine and is the co-founder of ATV1 – a company with an $11 billion market cap.
“This investment is giving us the ability to scale rapidly and into forthcoming Title III [exemption]. This will also help us to scale geographically and we expect to set up shop in the Bay Area and the East Coast soon.”
Presently there are no international expansion plans.
Chernick released a statement on the investment;
“Equity crowdfunding is a game-changer in how startups and emerging businesses can be funded. It’s an exciting growth area, and I see StartEngine as an early and important entrant in this new space.”
StartEngine currently hosts campaigns through Title IV of the JOBS Act, which allows companies to secure up to $50M in equity crowdfunding. The platform will add Title III for issuers seeking a raise of $1 million or less later this year. Miller explained they were also considering adding Title II offers, mainly to provide a side-by-side capital raise with Title III as many companies are seeking funding beyond the million dollar cap.
“This investment confirms our belief that equity crowdfunding will play a vital role in the rebirth of the entrepreneurial boom,” stated Marks. “Equity crowdfunding will democratize access to capital, giving companies the ability to reach the funds necessary to continue to grow and be successful in the market.”