NEW YORK (MainStreet) Some 97% of the 8.5 million accredited investors in the U.S. do not have access to investing in startup companies, according to the Kaufman Institute. But Vincent Bradley and Brian Park aim to change that with FlashFunders.com, where accredited investors can purchase direct equity in startups with no fees attached.
"Raising capital is no longer a Silicon Valley-centric world," Bradley told MainStreet. "Our online platform levels the playing field for entrepreneurs and investors from Los Angeles to London and beyond."
That challenge to accredited investors looking to invest in tech startups had been that they didn't have access to early stage companies, said Mark Dyne, former seed investor in Skype and founder of Europlay, a seed and early-stage investor in technology companies.
The 26-year-old Bradley and 29-year-old Park are just another example of Millennials out to change the world.
“I want to reinvent the startup road show by creating a new industry standard that’s more inclusive,” Bradley said.
Toward that end, the investment and legal team behind Skype helped the Millennial co-founders devise Flash Seed Preferred documents and e-Signature technology.
“We provide entrepreneurs and investors a secure, SEC-compliant user experience with e-Signature technology and document management capabilities backed by a team of FINRA-registered representatives to help ensure successful offerings on the platform,” said Dyne, who is chairman of FlashFunders.
The site reduces the cost of raising money for startups by eliminating legal fees.
“You spend six months and $23,000 on legal fees to raise capital,” Bradley said. “Through our site we offer entrepreneurs templatized documents created by one of the top startup law firms.”
That law firm is Stubbs Alderton & Markiles.
“FlashFunders receives an ongoing right to invest a limited amount under the same terms as all other investors if a startup is successful in getting funded on the platform,” said Scott Alderton, managing partner with Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, which has provided business legal services to the likes of LinkedIn, Beats by Dre and others.
While platforms like Ameritrade and eTrade are focused on public companies, FlashFunders is raising $500,000 to $1.5 million in seed capital. There’s no guarantee that any entrepreneur on FlashFunders will receive funding, and if a startup raised $1 million, FlashFunders would have the right to purchase $250,000 of the company to acquire 20% of the round.
“We have thousands of investors through our law firm, venture firm, my network and the co-founder's network,” said Bradley.
The site went live on October 16 with ten start ups that included Swapt, an apartment review site in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Another startup making its debut through FlashFunders is the Minnesota-based iGovern, an app that provides updates when a bill hits the Congress floor.
“You receive a notification that summarizes the bill and details how your elected official voted on the bill,” Bradley said.
—Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet