Round Here is the newest, FINRA regulated funding portal to launch to offer securities crowdfunding.
A funding portal is a new entity created by the JOBS Act of 2021 that lists regulated securities from firms in need of growth capital. Funding portals will mostly raise money under Regulation Crowdfunding or Reg CF but may use other exemptions to help firms raise money.
Round Here was co-founded by Christopher Gatewood, a Richmond, Virginia attorney who specializes in startups, venture capital, and technology law. Gatewood commented on the launch:
“Crowdfunding levels the playing field for companies and founders who do not have easy access to initial seed money that is typically needed to prove out the viability of their products in the marketplace. So we created Round Here to serve as a community-based rich uncle or aunt. Round Here is a powerful and much-needed supplement to bootstrapping by founders and to other traditional fundraising methods, which are more available to some teams than to others — especially underrepresented founders.”
Gatewood has partnered with Michael Lamberson, a software developer, to launch Round Here. The company states that the two have collaborated for several years on other products, and they saw a need for early-stage founders to access early-stage investments.
Lamberson said that any business can be financed by its own community, whatever the community is like:
“Round Here exists to enable that kind of investment and help smaller-scale investors support companies that have the potential for real growth.”
Under the Reg CF securities exemption, issuers may raise up to $5 million from both accredited and non-accredited investors. Round Here has launched with two initial securities offerings: equalityMD and Team Excel.
Team Excel is described as a platform “using teamwork and competition to increase motivation and improve student outcomes. The company’s “reverse fantasy sports” model lets student teams earn points and compete based on metrics such as academics, attendance, community service hours, and more. Team Excel also incorporates social-emotional learning, career exploration, service-learning, and mentoring.”
Team Excel is a matching platform for LGBTQ+ patients with “culturally competent mental health providers who deliver inclusive, personalized care.”
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