Leverage PR, a well known marketing firm in the alternative finance sector, has announced a new crowdfunding consulting service said to be driven by ongoing demand from corporate customers. Leverage said this new consulting group would utilize both in-house expertise and high-profile industry partners.
“We talk to people on a nearly weekly basis within the financial services industry that are trying to figure out how online lending and crowdfunding might play into their existing business lines. From an outside perspective, the industry seems opaque and complex.”
Schoffler stated there are a growing number of banks, especially within the community banking sector, that are attempting to better understand how online lending and investment crowdfunding may play a role in the future of their business.
“From an outside perspective, the industry seems opaque and complex when in reality, there are platforms devoted strictly to the banking industry and lots of examples to point them to for help in understanding this from their viewpoint. But Banking is just one example,” shared Schoffler. “There are so many business models emerging in this space to solve complex problems. We launched this consultancy to educate people looking to explore this industry, helping them to understand the nuances of the space.”
The use of electronic platforms to make investments into private offerings is another excellent and fast emerging example. Schoffler believes this is an opportunity that should not be missed;
“People are getting more and more comfortable investing online, just look at the growth of robo-advising. To think that this trend won’t impact investing in private offerings, especially at a time when confidence in the stock market is at an all time low, is naïve.”
While much of popular media focuses on rewards-based crowdfunding or Title III retail crowdfunding, the opportunity and challenge is far larger. All forms of finance will inevitably move online. Schoffler indicates her company was already receiving outreach from both major financial institutions and smaller firms. Each is striving to better understand how to better serve the crowd online. Schoffler believes their new suite of services will allow established companies to “skip the headache and get a clear picture of the potential market opportunity from the experts that understand it the most”.
The consultancy will include various services structured similar to other consulting firms. Leverage will provide hourly consulting, go-to-market strategy consultations, assumption validations and creation of custom training and reports designed to educate companies on the diverse emerging markets. Leverage has worked within the crowdfunding sector since its inception and thus has great access to a multitude of industry participants. Externally, the Leverage stable of consultants is said to include several former executives of top crowdfunding platforms, a former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) committee member, academics, portal operators and other industry professionals that can offer unparalleled insights saving organizations looking to enter the crowdfunding space time and money.
Former SEC Small Business Advisory committee member D.J. Paul, a current consultant with Leverage and CFIRA co-chair, believes getting professional advice is crucial to success in the crowdfunding industry.
“Companies can save themselves a good deal of time and money and future frustration by setting their businesses up correctly from the start,” says Paul. “While technology is enabling these securities transactions, it is still a securities business.”
Schoffler recognizes the fact that traditional finance has several options. Basically it is buy, partner, or create. Of course, they could do nothing and sit back and watch but that is never a good strategy. Leverage seeks to become a valued counselor as part of the process of evolution for established firms.
“We have consultants that have been a part of some of the biggest platforms on the market that can save companies a great deal of time and money by avoiding common mistakes,” states Schoffler.