In honour of our partnership with truCrowd, we sat down with Vincent to discuss the next chapter of equity crowdfunding, what the future holds and why this partnership matters to the industry.
What You Need to Know About DATI
Digital Arts Media Network (DATI) is the first company to utilize the Public Accelerator-Incubator (PAI) model, created by business management consulting firm, AJENE WATSON, LLC. The PAI model primarily focuses on accelerating capital formation for startups by expediting liquidity for angel and early stage investors. This while providing both microcap and disenfranchised investors access to those highly valued startup opportunities otherwise reserved for the affluent.
The PAI model gives DATI the ability to Accelerate, Incubate, Acquire and Spinout startups; taking them from conceptual projects, to plausibly unicorn status, to the public markets. DATI’s use of the PAI is specific to hi-tech ventures; providing the startup community with end-to-end service offerings which include: regulatory advisory, strategic advisory, technology and development, public relations and marketing, and expedited capital formation.
What You Need to Know About truCrowd
truCrowd is a user-friendly equity crowdfunding portal that connects startups and emerging businesses selling equity in exchange for capital, assisting non-accredited investors to participate in previously unattainable investments. Being 1 of only 38 Reg CF portals currently registered with FINRA, truCrowd leverages its expertise in the crowdfunding space, along with the portal’s current success in meeting capital targets. Built on the belief that not all businesses and investors are alike, truCrowd delivers a personalized and professional funding experience through industry-leading technology.
Why DATI and truCrowd’s Partnership Matters
truCrowd has executed an agreement to sell an equity stake of up to 39.89% percent to DATI, in an effort to grow the SEC registered, FINRA member crowdfunding portal. This partnership has generated unique synergies for both companies that will elevate the equity crowdfunding industry. Having the ability to appropriately leverage a FINRA-member crowdfunding portal gives DATI’s startups faster access to early capital, connections and specialized expertise.
The truCrowd portal offers DATI a new method to introduce a startup and its products to their marketplace while limiting DATI’s investment risk. By adding the truCrowd platform to DATI’s service offerings, the partnership can further the initiative to offer private, high-growth / high-valued, high-tech startup opportunities to both microcap and non-accredited investors that would normally be unavailable.
Until May 2016 when the legislation actually took effect, financial regulations supported a structure that restricted poor Americans (so, most of the US population) from investing. These barriers illustrate the need for equity crowdfunding to bring opportunities like Airbnb to average American investors. However, without DATI’s PAI model, typical equity crowdfunding portals are less likely to see SnapChat type of opportunities. “Smart Money” investors want and sometimes need early liquidity. DATI can provide investors the liquidity needed from their private investments within 24 months.
This unique combination is what gives the truCrowd DATI marriage its competitive advantage and makes it the perfect complement to accelerators and incubators around the world.
Value-Driven Investing: This Time It’s Personal
It’s a familiar financial story for many people: a potentially life-changing investment opportunity arrives, but the money isn’t lying around. Vincent Petrescu, CEO of truCrowd can relate, with a story from his past when he was unable to pull together capital to invest in a promising deal. The excellent opportunity came and went, but Vincent had changed. After the disappointment of being shut out of investing in the past, he found a productive channel for his passion: crowdfunding. Crowdfunding brings opportunities like investing in tech startups to everyday average Americans.
Vincent is the perfect force to join Ajene Watson (CEO of DATI) in this movement. This is due to their shared core belief that all people deserve an equal opportunity to invest in highly valued companies, through equity, during the early days of a businesses growth — where the ROI (return on investment) are conceivably at their highest. Not every startup is destined be a raving success like Facebook or Airbnb, but everyone should have a chance to invest alongside smart money investors, in future opportunities, regardless of their socio-economic status.
So, Why Equity Crowdfunding?
Ajene and Vincent are invested (ha!) in bringing financial opportunities to non-accredited investors, regardless of income or status. It’s a simple route to participate in startup investing because anyone can invest without overextending their budget. The minimum investment is $100, which reflects a more egalitarian approach to finance. Equity crowdfunding has tremendous benefits for both investors and startups:
- Minimize risk
- Portfolio diversification when a startup is very new
- Low barrier to entry
- Invest in passion projects
In fact, Vincent believes that crowdfunding capital is ‘loyal money’ because everyday investors are the evangelists who truly believe in a startup and passionately share it.
- Access to smart money
- Gain industry credibility
- Lower overhead costs
- Long-term engagement
- Maintain control
This partnership has the potential to change the landscape of equity crowdfunding by offering investors a simple, transparent funding method. truCrowd strengthens DATI’s ability to provide traditional and accelerated capital formation solutions in its end-to-end service offerings, improving the onboarding process and reduce the capital risk in initially funding client startups.
Note: The interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.
What are your short term and long term goals for this partnership?
“Our short term focus is to leverage crowdfunding as a possible bridge to SEC compliant ICO/TGE programs to expedite capital formation and substantially grow cash flow and equity holdings. We’re also looking to build an equity portfolio of viable startups consisting of at least 12 solid opportunities for 2018.
Long term we’d like to be one of the main players in the industry. There are 38 approved funding portals and we’ve been eight of twenty with the number of deals under our belt. Our partnership with DATI will allow for prefered deals, easier funding, more investors and an increase in cash flow. With DATI we can do something bigger than on our own.”
How do you see truCrowd evolving over the next two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
“Over the next two years I hope to steer truCrowd into being one of the top three portals in the industry. My role is centered around bringing on additional people and onboarding them. I want to share my expertise in tech and regulation so we can push forward as a team. We’ve got all the ingredients we need now with DATI.”
What audience is best served by truCrowd and DATI?
“Millennials – who are part of the group Ajene refers to as ‘disenfranchised investors’ – because they were left out of the last tech boom, in most cases are not classified as ‘accredited investors’ and don’t like existing financial structures. These systems haven’t changed since the fax machine was new technology; an update was desperately needed.
With regulation crowdfunding, Millennials now have a chance to invest in companies like Airbnb with $100. For a generation struggling to afford investing due to the Securities Act of 1933, we are best serving disenfranchised investors with a service that’s not their grandfather’s rigid investing structure. We offer flexibility, transparency and autonomy to our investors.”
What’s your strategy for approaching change?
“I welcome it! I have always been happy and comfortable with change; it’s an essential part of life. No use fearing it, everything changes regardless of you, so jump on board.”
If you weren’t working, what would you be doing?
“That’s easy – I would sleep for six months! I’ve got two toddlers at home, I’m not getting much rest. After a long sleep, I’d play a LOT of computer games. My record in college was playing Friday night non-stop until Monday morning. After that I stopped gaming for about four years!”
What is your proudest accomplishment?
“truCrowd! We made it into the industry’s top 10 using my expertise, and significantly less capital than our peers.”
Roundup: Two’s Better Than One
The truCrowd and Digital Arts Media Network partnership strengthens the team’s overall ability to improve onboarding, build an equity portfolio, secure capital, market and test startup viability, and support the upcoming launch of developed blockchain related projects.
This partnership has an additional layer of significance because Vincent and Ajene share a desire to kick open the inequitable doors of the financial industry. Their passion for democratizing investing stems from firsthand experience, and they recognize that it will become a powerful equalizer by serving microcap and Millennial investors. A necessary restructuring has ushered in a fresh wave of investors committed to making the markets work for them; Vincent is thrilled to provide the platform and services making this happen.
Cheers to a fruitful partnership between truCrowd and DATI as they take the equity crowdfunding markets by storm!
For more info on the truCrowd and Digital Arts Media Network partnership, click here.