How to Invest in Startups Without Being Wealthy￼
You hear stories of how a startup company made it big and generated great wealth for its investors. Investing in companies while they’re still young can make you really wealthy.
But according to many people, only the wealthy can invest in startups. It doesn’t seem like an investment for the average citizen.
However, in 2012, the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act was passed, making it easier for the average investor to get into startup investing. It relaxed a few federal securities regulations, making it possible for companies to get investments via crowdfunding. In 2016, the Securities Exchange Commission voted to allow regulations that made it even easier to crowdfund.
Investing in Startups: Basics
Don’t get all excited and invest in any startup you can find. You should know that many of them fail and investors are left with nothing. Like any other high-reward investment, it comes with high risks.
In some cases, you are guaranteed to get your funds back if the business doesn’t succeed in raising enough funds—that is, if they promise to return the money.
Note: with startup investing, the shares are not tradeable. You have to hold onto them until the company is acquired or goes public.
Even though regulations have been relaxed, rules have not been completely eliminated. Because of the involved risks, there’s a limit to the amount you can invest in a 12-month period. This limitation is set by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). The limit is dependent on your net worth and income. So it could be $107,000 or $2,200 or anything in between.
If you have limited funds but would like to invest in startups, here are platforms that can help you.
This crowdfunding platform lets people invest in pre-screened companies that show potential. It is not easy for early-stage companies to get accepted into SeedInvest. In fact, they only accept less than 1% of the requests.
As of now, they claim to have funded over 150 companies successfully and they say that they have over 250,000 investors.
After signing up, you will get a list of startups that are seeking funds. Most of them accept any investor but some only allow accredited investors.
Wefunder aims to fund over 20,000 early-stage companies by 2029. To make this goal possible, they accept little investments– $100.
The average investor can now invest in a wide range of businesses with Wefunder.
Investors are allowed to buy stocks on the platform, with or without dividends. They can also purchase debt and convertible notes.
The money you invest is put in escrow. If the startup raises enough funds, they get the money. If not, you get the money back.
Republic, you can invest as little as $10. They employ a four-step screening process to assess the proof of growth, mission, product and founders of a firm. It also has a platform where investors can discuss.
In MicroVentures you can get started with $100. They have a wide range of companies that you can invest in. They are very selective about the companies they accept.