SOUTHFIELD — Southeast Michigan now has a crowdfunding website of its very own.
Four local entrepreneurs have banded together to crearte Funderbuilt.com, which combines earlier forms of crowdfunding — donations and contributions in exchange for a reward — with actual equity investments made legal under the recently passed federal JOBS Act.
Funderbuilt.com allows people to make donations to business ideas and charitable causes. It also allows reward-based contributions, which was the original crowdfunding concept — fund a business or a creative endeavor, and get some kind of prize in return.
And, Funderbuilt also allows for equity investments in new businesses and products.
Funderbuilt also features a low-cost fundraising platform. Funderbuilt’s fee is straightfoward — 5 percent of the total funds raised or $250, whichever is less. Most crowdfunding platforms take a percentage of a project owner’s raised funds with no upper limit.
The portal also provides a feature called FunderFactor, a quick and easy way to gauge a project’s progress and the efforts of the project owner. Once a project is launched, the portal recommends that fundraisers make use of the Funderbuilt Toolbox and To-Do list to continue building support for their project.
“Our goal is to attract the best projects and the best funding sources and put those two groups together — that’s where the magic happens,” said David Moncur, Funderbuilt chief marketing officer. “Our flat fee pricing model is revolutionary to the industry and we go all out to help project owners be successful with their projects. Our platform has systematized the entire process so it’s easy to upload a project, then learn exactly what you need to do on each day of your crowdfunding campaign to maximize the likelihood of success.”
Moncur is the founder of Southfield-based Moncur Associates, a web and social media consulting firm. Other Funderbuilt founders are Jim Akori, a veteran entrepreneur; Michael Melfi, an intellectual property attorney and social media expert; and Jean Chidiac, a turnaround specialist.
Funderbuilt has also set up a relationship with Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, which has pledged to refer business opportunities to Funderbuilt that may not fit traditional bank lending requirements but which have solid business plans and management.
“The exciting thing about crowdfunding is that it provides much easier access to capital for smaller entrepreneurs, and I believe that it may well revolutionize the formation of new businesses, providing badly needed positive momentum for our economy,” said Mark Morrison, vice president and team lead of the commercial middle market at Fifth Third Bank. “As a banker, one of the most important factors for lending is cash flow and crowdfunding could help fund the gap until an entrepreneurial business establishes the cash flow necessary to qualify them for a loan. We look forward to working with Funderbuilt as a referral source for start ups and small businesses who don’t meet lending requirements.”
For more information, visit www.funderbuilt.com.