We’re back! Three years ago we launched SparkMarket 1.0 and introduced the United States to true investment based crowdfunding. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to crowdfunding community finance. For the past few months, we’ve been hard at work, completely overhauling our services to make it easier for businesses to access local capital. Now, we’re happy to announce our return, with an all new website and a debt-based financing tool that empowers local entrepreneurs to tap into their local networks for funding - all on their own terms.
Our new approach is different from our first crowdfunding model in two key ways:
1. Invest Button
Instead of driving investors to a third-party website, we developed a toolbox that will let a business embed an “Invest” button to launch a crowdfunding campaign from its own website, Facebook page, or email newsletter. This way, a business can connect directly with your own crowd on your own terms and control the look, feel and traffic that is driven to your campaign. One of the things we learned from operating a “traditional” crowdfunding portal was that the vast majority of successful campaigns are funded by a business’s existing network of friends, family, neighbors, followers, customers and affinity groups. So there’s no need to pay an expensive “listing fee” to a traditional crowdfunding portal in the hopes that random web traffic may ‘drift by’ and invest in you. You’ve worked hard to build relationships in your community, and you should capitalize on that good will without an expensive middle man standing in your way. For a small subscription fee ($100 for a limited time only), you can use all of SparkMarket’s tools to build and publish your campaign.
2. Debt-Based Funding
We’re also starting with a different funding model. Instead of helping businesses sell stock, we’re helping businesses crowdfund loans, so you can simply borrow money from local residents on terms everyone can understand. This way, investors aren’t left with stock they can’t sell for an indefinite period, and businesses aren’t left with a large number of owners to deal with. Our process makes it easy for you to pick your ideal loan terms (maturity date, interest rate, term) to present to investors on your campaign page. Then, when your campaign has reached its minimum funding goal, we take care of the closing work - create and distribute closing documents, collect signatures, collect payments and aggregate investor data.
Despite these exciting changes, our core mission remains the same as it has been since the beginning of our journey: to provide safe and reliable tools to small businesses to access community based capital. We think you’re going to like our new approach, and we invite everyone to join in and support the process.
If you are a small business looking for start-up or growth capital, start a campaign. If you are a customer or a fan of one of these businesses, or if you live or work nearby, and you care about supporting growth and stability in your community, consider making a loan to a local business. Together, we can remake the way our small businesses are funded by supporting community ownership.
Thanks for Your Continued Support,
The SparkMarket Team