Eqcelerating capital raises for Canadian startups and small businesses.
Why are we here?
Have you ever encountered a start-up with a good idea or a local business with a product you really love? Have you ever been the first to buy a new product or back a Kickstarter campaign? Have you ever wished that you could do more to support a company than simply purchase their products? If you are anything like us, you are probably intrigued at the prospect of supporting innovation, buying local, and making an impact – no matter how small it might be.
Start-ups and small businesses have strong potential for growth, but for the most part, retail investors can only support them as consumers, leaving founders and business owners to manage capital financing needs. Small business owners are stuck navigating the sometimes opaque, uncertain, and at times even borderline-predatory world of small business loans. At the same time, entrepreneurs may find themselves with a solid idea for a product and a strong business plan to match it, but simply don’t have the capital to bootstrap it, and feel intimidated or shut out by the fundraising options that exist. If you are anything like us, you are probably intrigued at the prospect of building a portfolio with small bets in local companies you believe in, and if you are an entrepreneur you are likely dreaming of the ability to raise the seed capital you need without having to take out a loan, tap-out family and friends, or somehow find that miracle venture capitalist who wants to give you money. So why not connect start-ups and small businesses with potential consumers and investors, and give them an opportunity to buy-in and support the company?
Eqcelerate does exactly that. Canada – and most notably Ontario – has recently opened the door to allow start-ups and small businesses to raise capital by crowdsourcing investments from everyday Canadians, in turn issuing them equity. The marketplace of fundraising has shifted drastically in a very short period of time, and platforms that enable content creators to fundraise via crowdsourcing have become very popular, as have crowdsourced charity platforms. We think there is every reason to have a similar platform to connect start-ups and small businesses with consumers and investors – some of which are the same – who are eager to put capital into something they believe in. And we just figured as two supporters and investors, that we could also help facilitate and drive this forward.
Why equity crowdfunding?
We want to move capital to where it needs to be.
Sometimes all a start-up or small business needs to grow is a bit of a push in the form of capital. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has significantly impacted the local business ecosystem, and many small businesses across Canada are finding it difficult to manoeuvre. Businesses cannot simply rely on short-term government benefits. And although interest rates are still at an all time low in 2021, small businesses aren’t seeing the benefit or ROI on traditional loans without being able to truly drive market engagement. We created Eqcelerate to connect investors with entrepreneurs and business owners so that companies can get the boost they need in a simple, quick way.
We want to link entrepreneurs with their market.
Who believes in a company more than the people who are already their customers? There are no bigger fans than those who have already made a purchase and put their money where their mouth is. We believe that flesh and blood, loyal customers with a thirst to invest small amounts of seed capital into projects they are already passionate about will form sustainable engagement and a strong bond with entrepreneurs and small businesses. Investors/customers, or investomers as we like to call them, can help the businesses in which they are now stakeholders by being the first to test new products, providing direct feedback, engaging with the founders, and driving word of mouth.
We want to democratize the investment process.
Beyond simply buying securities to steadily grow savings into real wealth, investors today want to be a part of something – they want to make an impact. Demand for high profile IPOs has skyrocketed in recent years, as everyone wants to be on the ground floor of the next Silicon Valley unicorn. We thought it would be great to enable investors to connect with entrepreneurs who they believe in at the local level here in Canada, to give them the opportunity to inject capital into something with which they have first hand experience, and to make this process more simple and more accessible than just trying to get in on the next Facebook or Tesla. We think adding this degree of accessibility will truly impact Canadian investing at the grassroot level.
Supply and Demand
We firmly believe that consumer-driven market forces are the best solution to the challenges of our times. While government programs have been invaluable lifelines to small business during this pandemic, we think that a more tenable and permanent solution to the problem of fundraising for start-ups and local business will be found by letting the marketplace of investors and consumers direct and inject capital to where it has the potential to create real value. Consumers are the decision makers and they want to invest in their communities.
Technology has reached a point where this idea is truly viable. There are a range of crowdfunding platforms that provide capital to those who need it, and many of those platforms only provide the incentive of a one-time product or service. People are willing to use online crowdfunding platforms to give to causes they think are worthy or in need, purely for the sake of charity and good will – once again to make an impact. We believe that when given the opportunity to invest with online crowdfunding and receive shareholder equity in return, many modern investors will participate and support local entrepreneurs and business owners.
Investing is a very different world than it was a decade ago. Younger demographics are opting for robo-advisers, trading apps, and rapid short squeeze pump-and-dumps into retail video game companies rather than more traditional financial advisors and long-term positions. At the same time, the global economy is evolving thanks to start-ups with big ideas but small pocketbooks. Modern fundraising should have a method that matches the evolving needs of investors and start-ups alike, and we believe Eqcerelate can be one alternative method.
Keep it Simple
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and we think Eqcelerate follows this principle to its greatest conclusions. Investors can make simple, meaningful choices to place modest amounts of capital with entrepreneurs and business owners who are delivering a product they already believe in and receive a share of equity in return. Entrepreneurs can use the untapped potential capital of their own hard-earned customer base to kick-start their operations into the next level. We believe this is customer engagement at its finest. And all of this can be done seamlessly and simply through a modern, easy to use online platform. If you would like to know more, please continue to read on the website.
We started Eqcelerate because we wanted to support domestic growth beyond just buying local. Instead, we wanted to invest in Canadian founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners and drive sustainable domestic growth within our communities.–Eqcelerate Founding Team