Choose Your Words Closely

It’s not what you say, but how you say it that could determine how successful your crowdfunding campaign is, new research finds.

A study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago revealed that linguistic style, which is how one speaks, is critically important in crowdfunding campaigns, especially for social entrepreneurs.

The study’s authors found that how a pitch is voiced and worded is much more important for social entrepreneurs than it is for their commercial counterparts.

“Here, we show that the persuasiveness of entrepreneurs’ stylistic expressions is dependent on their category membership – that is, whether they are social or commercial entrepreneurs,” said Annaleena Parhankangas, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Chicago in a statement. For the study, researchers analyzed 656 Kickstarter campaigns between 2013 and 2014. They discovered that linguistic styles that made the campaigns and their founders more understandable and relatable to potential funders boosted the exposure and success of social campaigns. However, linguistic style made little impact for commercial endeavors.

 

“Early-stage entrepreneurs are increasingly involved in the theatrical pitching of their projects to various audiences at forums, such as accelerator demo days, pitch mixers, competitions and online crowdfunding sites,” Parhankangas said. “How they deliver the message matters – and, as a result, it is important to study how entrepreneurs’ language use affects their chances of raising funding.” The study was co-authored by Maija Renko, a UIC associate professor of entrepreneurship. The researchers said style doesn’t matter as much for commercial entrepreneurs. Instead, content is likely to be enough to persuade their audience to invest. While what’s being pitched is more important for commercial entrepreneurs, there are some phrases they can use in their pitches to increase their chances of success. – See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5766-kickstarter-phrases-to-use.html#sthash.w1B0hnAc.dpuf

Lending Right for Your Business

So, your company needs money that you currently don’t have. Maybe your business is just taking flight and is still lacking the necessary funds, or perhaps you have high aspirations with low profits at the moment.

If loans are your go-to choice for financing, you’ll need to decide between a traditional bank loan and an alternative lender. For the latter, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending might be a smart option if you’re looking for a smoother, faster borrowing process.

According to Investopedia, P2P lending lets individuals borrow and lend money without an official financial institution as the intermediary. Lenders collect income from interest, usually at a higher cost than with traditional loans, while borrowers access financing they may not have been approved for elsewhere.

“P2P loans can often offer higher approval rates and competitive interest rates — a stellar combination,” said Emily Bartz, a writer at NextAdvisor.com, which provides independent research and comparison tools for financial, tech and business products. “The beauty of P2P lending is that it offers borrowers a more personal experience by avoiding big banks and financial institutions. Plus, borrowers can rest easy knowing that their lender is accredited and provides legitimate loan support.”

Another upside, according to Bartz, is that P2P lending is flexible, allowing borrowers to complete the process in pieces.

Keep You from Getting a Small Business Loan

For many entrepreneurs, a small business loan is an essential way to finance a new business or expand existing operations. However, obtaining funding for your business is no easy task. Here are six barriers that can prevent you from getting the small business loan you need and a few tips on how to avoid these roadblocks. 1. Poor credit history Credit reports are one tool lenders use to determine a borrower’s credibility. If your credit report shows a lack of past diligence in paying back debts, you might be rejected when applying for a loan. Paul Steck, former president and CEO of the international franchise restaurant Saladworks, has worked with hundreds of small business franchisees, many of whom have bad personal credit as a result of illness, divorce or other extenuating circumstances. “Sometimes, very good people, for reasons beyond their control, have credit issues,” Steck said. “And, unfortunately, that’s a real barrier to entry in the world of small business.” People with bad credit should consider nontraditional financing options — which tend to place less emphasis on credit scores — before giving up on getting a loan.

Limited cash flow Cash flow — a measure of how much cash you have on hand to pay back a loan — is usually the first thing lenders look at when gauging the health of your business. Insufficient cash flow is a flaw that most lenders can’t afford to overlook. Therefore, it’s the first thing business owners should consider when determining if they can afford a loan. “Really thinking through that cash-flow equation is like preventative medicine for your business,” said Jay DesMarteau, head of regional commercial specialty segments for TD Bank. “You can either wait until [your business] gets sick, or you can do things to prevent it from getting sick.” One of the preventative measures DesMarteau recommends is to calculate cash flow at least quarterly. If business owners take that step, they may be able to optimize their cash flow before approaching potential lenders.

Lacking a plan for the future Having a plan and sticking to it is much more attractive than spontaneity in the finance world.  “Banks require that business owners have an organized, detailed and quantitative business plan in order to move forward with the loan process,” said David Goldin, CEO, president and founder of Capify, an alternative small business lender. However, Goldin noted that it’s common for very small businesses to not have a formal business plan or any plan at all, for that matter. In these situations, he recommends that business owners at least forecast their future earnings before applying for a loan, so lenders will have an idea of your profitability. You should also be prepared to explain your plan for the money you want to borrow. “Lenders’ … biggest single complaint is that small business owners aren’t able to articulate very well how they’re going to use the capital that they’re looking for, how they’re going to make repayment and what impact they think [the loan] is going to have,” said Ty Kiisel, who writes about small business for online lender OnDeck. According to Kiisel, your pitch to lenders doesn’t need to be eloquent, but it must be straightforward. At the bare minimum, loan applicants should be prepared to explain why the want a loan and how they plan to repay it. 4. Disorganization When it comes to approaching potential lenders, business owners should have their act together. That means having all the paperwork you’ll need for your loan application on hand. “One of the things that can be a problem when applying for a loan is if [business owners] don’t have the documentation that the bank will require [such as] back tax returns,” Steck said.  There are plenty of resources that business owners can refer to when putting together their loan applications. The Small Business Administration, for example, provides a highly detailed loan application checklist for borrowers. Using these resources can decrease your likelihood of coming across as disorganized or unprepared.

How To Use Pay Day Loans Safely and securely And Thoroughly

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Let’s face the facts, when economic turmoil hits, you will need a speedy answer. The pressure from bills turning up with no strategy to shell out them is very painful. When you have been thinking of a payday advance, and if it fits your needs, please read on for many very helpful assistance about them.

One particular factor to remember about payday cash loans may be the fascination it is usually extremely high. It might be greater than 2 times exactly what the personal loan was worth. These loan providers travel interest boundaries by using loopholes.

It’s not uncommon for folks to consider applying for pay day loans to aid cover an urgent situation bill. If at all possible, usually do not obtain a pay day loan. Payday loans are a source of information you might like to think about when you’re in a fiscal combine.

Before you apply for the pay day loan have your forms to be able this will assist the financing organization, they will need proof of your wages, for them to evaluate your ability to spend the loan again. Take things like your W-2 type from work, alimony monthly payments or evidence you are getting Interpersonal Safety. Make the best scenario easy for oneself with suitable documents.

A terrific way to stay away from a hassle down the line using a pay day lender is usually to steer clear of a loan company with a roll-over clause in the commitment. This contributes to men and women paying every one of the charges without the need of possibly repaying the financing. It isn’t unheard of to pay for more than five times the loan volume.

Examine your credit score prior to look for a pay day loan. Customers having a healthier credit rating should be able to have more positive rates of interest and regards to settlement. If your credit track record is poor shape, you will probably pay interest rates that are greater, and you could not qualify for a lengthier bank loan phrase.

When determining if your payday loan fits your needs, you need to know that the sum most payday cash loans allows you to use is not really an excessive amount of. Typically, as much as possible you may get from your cash advance is approximately $one thousand. It could be even decrease in case your income is not too high.

When identifying if your pay day loan is right for you, you have to know that this amount most payday loans allows you to acquire will not be too much. Generally, as much as possible you can get coming from a payday advance is all about $1,000. It might be even decrease in case your earnings is not really too much.

Put together a long list of each financial debt you may have when receiving a cash advance. This can include your healthcare monthly bills, unpaid bills, mortgage repayments, plus more. Using this type of listing, it is possible to establish your month-to-month bills. Compare them to your month to month revenue. This should help you make sure that you get the best possible determination for repaying your debt.

Just before agreeing into a cash advance using a firm, make sure you research all you are able about them. Never ever say yes to nearly anything regardless of horrible your financial predicament is before you are totally conscious of all terminology. Obtain all the knowledge about the corporation since you can to help you make the correct selection.

Phone the payday advance organization if, you have a issue with the repayment schedule. Whatever you do, don’t vanish. These firms have reasonably aggressive collections departments, and can often be difficult to handle. Just before they take into account you delinquent in repayment, just refer to them as, and inform them what is happening.

Shop around in relation to payday loan businesses. You could think that because you are in a big hurry, you don’t have time for research. Payday loans are obtained quickly. Occasionally, you can even get the dollars at the time which you sign up for the money! Before you sign on the dotted collection, you need to seek option sources of funds, look for lower cost paycheck loan providers, and appearance the lenders’ status with all the Better business bureau.

Everybody is quick for money at the same time or any other and requirements to find a way out. With a little luck this article has proven you some very beneficial ideas on how you will could use a payday loan for your personal existing scenario. Turning into a well informed consumer is the first task in solving any economic issue.

Bank Loans Still Pose Challenge for Small Businesses

While the ability of small businesses to obtain capital has improved in recent years, getting a traditional bank loan is still a tough obstacle, a new study finds.

Research from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet revealed that over the last four years, there has been a 13 percent increase in access to capital for small businesses. However, most are getting that money from personal assets and not banks or online lenders.

The study revealed that only 38 percent of small business respondents qualified for a bank loan within the last three months, compared with 70 percent of mid-size businesses. While that’s up from 30 percent in the first quarter of the year, it is down from a four-year high of 46 percent in the third quarter of 2014.

When it comes to alternative lenders, small businesses had the most success with merchant cash advances. The research found that 41 percent of the small businesses surveyed were able to obtain a merchant cash advance, compared with just 20 percent who were able to get a regular loan from an alternative lender.

Most small business owners are relying on their own personal assets to help fund their business. Specifically, more than 70 percent of those surveyed used personal savings, 45 percent used personal credit cards and 19 percent used cash from the sale of personal assets.

Crowdfunding is growing increasingly popular with small businesses. The research found that 19 percent of small businesses that sought financing in the past three months used crowdfunding as a funding source, compared with just 7 percent of mid-size businesses.

Jeff Stibel, vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, said when they began conducting these studies four years ago, small businesses were reeling from the effects of the Great Recession.

“Since then, we have seen steady progress for small businesses being able to acquire the capital they need, although the financing is still predominantly not coming through traditional lenders,” Stibel said in a statement. “It will be interesting to see how the new option of crowdfunding will affect small businesses, as our study has shown more eagerness to use that option as compared to their mid-sized counterparts.”

Although access to capital improved over the past three months, the number of small businesses needing it declined. Overall, demand for capital from small businesses dropped from 38 percent in the first quarter of the year, to 32 percent in the second quarter.

Of those the small businesses that didn’t try to access capital over the past three months, 49 percent said it was because they had enough cash flow in place, while 24 percent indicated they already had sufficient financing. However, 16 percent didn’t apply for financing because they were worried they would be rejected, 12 percent shied away because of the weak economy and 7 percent said they were holding out for cheaper financing rates.

“Business borrowing habits suggest owners may not see a need for an immediate infusion of capital,” said Craig Everett, an assistant professor of finance and director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. “However, these findings suggest business owners are still feeling the lasting impact of the recent recession and remain skittish about the future, as reflected in an abundance of caution when it comes to the economic environment.”

How Much Cash Will You Need

If you’re thinking about launching a new business, you may not know where to start with your finances. Of course, you’ll need a decent amount of cash flow to maintain your company. However, if you are organized and thorough, you can plan out your financing and keep your startup budget on track. Here’s how to figure out approximately how much you’ll need to launch your business. Start small You most likely have high expectations for your company. However, blind optimism may cause you to invest too much money too quickly. At the very beginning, it’s smart to keep an open mind and prepare for issues that may arise, experts say.

“A prospective business owner should start planning a small business by simply understanding the potential of the business idea,” McCahon told Business News Daily. “What this means is not assuming your idea will be successful.” The best approach is to test your idea in a small, inexpensive way that gives you a good indication of whether customers actually need your product and how much they’re willing to pay for it, McCahon said. If the test seems successful, then you can start planning your business based on what you learned.

While every type of business has its own financing needs, there are some tips that can help you figure out how much cash you’ll require. Entrepreneur Drew Gerber, who started a technology company, a publicity firm and a financial planning company, estimates that an entrepreneur will need six months’ worth of fixed costs on hand at startup. “Have a plan to cover your expenses in the first month,” Gerber said. “Identify your customers before you open the door so you can have a way to start covering those expenses.” When planning your costs, don’t underestimate the expenses, and remember that they can rise as the business grows, Gerber said. It’s easy to overlook costs when you’re thinking about the big picture, but you should be more precise when planning for your fixed expenses, he added. Indeed, underestimating costs can decimate your company, McCahon said. “One of the main reasons most small businesses fail is that they simply run out of cash,” she said. “Writing a business plan without basing your forecasts on reality often leads to an unfortunate, and often unnecessary, business failure. Without the benefit of experience or actual historical financials, it’s easy to overestimate a new company’s revenue and underestimate costs.” Understand what types of costs you’ll have According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are various types of expenses to consider when starting your business. It’s important to differentiate these types of costs, in order to properly manage your business’s cash flow for the short and long term, said Eyal Shinar, CEO of Fundbox, a cash flow management company. Here are a few types of costs for new business owners to consider: 1. One-time versus ongoing costs. One-time expenses will be relevant mostly in the startup process, such as the expenses for incorporating a company. If there’s a month when you have to make a one-time equipment purchase, your money going out will likely be greater than the money coming in, Shinar said. This means your cash flow will be disrupted that month, and you will need to make up for it the following month. Ongoing costs, by contrast, are paid on a regular basis, and include expenses such as utilities. These generally do not fluctuate as much from month to month. 2. Essential versus optional costs. Essential costs are expenses that are absolutely necessary for the company’s growth and development. Optional purchases should be made only if the budget allows. “If you have an optional and nonurgent cost, it may be best to wait until you have enough cash reserves for that purchase,” Shinar said. 3. Fixed versus variable costs. Fixed expenses, such as rent, are consistent from month to month, whereas variable expenses depend on the direct sale of products or services. Shinar noted that fixed costs may eat up a high percentage of revenue in the early days, but as you scale up, their relative burden becomes negligible. – See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5-small-business-start-up-costs-options.html#sthash.VDy4CxmN.dpuf

Business Loan Myths Busted

You may be intimidated by the idea of obtaining a small-business loan. In fact, you may have heard that it’s nearly impossible to get approved for one. But you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. Business News Daily spoke with finance experts to debunk seven common myths about getting a business loan. Myth No. 1: Getting a small business loan is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. Obtaining a loan for your small business is no easy feat, but it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. Small business lending experts agree that the best way to avoid trouble is to prepare for the challenges that the application process may present. “A lot of the frustration around obtaining small business financing can be eased by doing your due diligence,” said Michael Adam, founder and CEO of Bankmybiz, a site that connects business owners with business funders. “Be prepared, and have all your documents ready to present to lenders.” [See Related Story: Small Business Financing Trends: What You Need to Know] Myth No. 2: You have to have perfect credit to get a small business loan. Although low credit scores might have precluded you from getting a loan in years past, today’s lending environment is more open to subpar credit ratings. “While traditional banks may be restrictive when it comes to obtaining credit, there are alternative options,” said Michael Kevitch, president and founder of Small Business Funding. Alternative lending sites such as Small Business Funding tend to base lending decisions on the financial realities of a business rather than the financial history of business owners. Specifically, Kevitch said, alternative lenders take a close look at business performance, industry type, time in business and cash flow before handing out a loan.

Traditional lending institutions have been a mainstay of small business funding for many decades, and still are in some industries. But they are not the only sources of financing. For business owners looking to borrow a relatively small sum (between $5,000 and $250,000), getting a bank loan is likely to be more trouble than it’s worth, Kevitch said. However, he noted that bank loans may still be appropriate for business owners who need to borrow a large amount of cash, over a long period, and still get a low interest rate. Kevitch advised business owners to make sure they fall under those categories before applying through a bank. Kevitch noted that alternative lending sources often provide faster approvals; sometimes, businesses can obtain access to the funds in as little as seven days, he said. Myth No. 4: The worst way to obtain a loan for your business is through a bank. Bank loans may not be the best option for every small business, but they’re far from the worst funding option out there. In fact, for established businesses looking to grow at a moderate rate, traditional bank funding is generally a great option, Adam said. It’s when a business doesn’t fit those criteria that business owners should consider shopping around. “If you are a younger company, pre-revenue or low revenue — but plan to grow very quickly due to the industry that you’re in (e.g., health care, IT or software consulting) — then a traditional bank loan may actually limit your growth,” Adam said. To decide whether a bank loan is right for your business, research both traditional loans and alternative funding sources. It’s also important to know your business inside and out. “If you anticipate steady growth over the next few years, then a traditional bank may be best,” Adam said. “If you are growing like crazy and you know you will need to keep increasing your loan size by large increments each quarter, then entertain a nonbank lending partner, as banks may not be able to keep up with your needs.” Myth No. 5: The more money you ask for, the less likely you are to be approved for a small business loan. You may find this myth floating around online forums and perhaps even hear it from well-meaning friends and family members. It’s all right to ask for money, nonexperts will tell you; just don’t ask for too much. While this might be reasonable advice in personal circumstances, there’s not much truth to it in the business world. According to Jess Harris, content and social manager of business lender Kabbage, a working paper from Harvard Business School revealed that banks actually prefer lending larger amounts because they make more profit from large loans in the long run. In turn, banks are cutting back on smaller loans. Evan Singer, general manager at online Small Business Administration loan program SmartBiz Loans, said a business should apply for the amount it needs — no more and no less. He recommends considering both how much money you really need to grow your business, and how much money you can afford to pay back every month. “Make sure that you have cash flow to make your loan payments,” Singer said. “That’s the biggest thing that a [lender] is going to check — that [the business owner] can actually afford to make their loan payments.” Myth No. 6: The most important thing you need in order to obtain a small business loan is a good business plan. There are multiple perspectives on whether a traditional business plan still has a place in the loan application process. Some funding experts believe that the method of using a business plan to measure the likely success and fundability of a business is a bit outdated. Singer said that although traditional banks might still require business plans during the loan application process, online lenders typically don’t look for it. And although Adam agrees that most lenders won’t require a full-fledged business plan, he does think that having a plan at the ready is always a good idea. “Every business should have some sort of business plan,” Adam said. “It’s just a good practice to anticipate growth, set milestones and keep yourself accountable. If you don’t have one, create one. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.”

 

Alternative Financing Methods for Startups

Many aspiring entrepreneurs have an idea for their business but lack the capital to actually start it. Brand-new businesses are often turned down for bank loans, and even if your business is established, funds can still be tough to secure. Loans funded by the Small Business Administration are usually more accessible, but they are becoming increasingly competitive. So what options are left for someone aspiring to be a small business owner? Here are six options beyond bank loans for financing your startup.  Online lending Online lenders have become a popular alternative to traditional business loans. These platforms have the advantage of speed, as an application takes only about an hour to complete, and the decision and accompanying funds can be issued within days. Because of the ease and quickness of online lending, economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said at the 2015 Lend It conference that he expects online lenders to eventually reach more than 70 percent of small businesses.

Angel investors Angel investors invest in early-stage or startup companies in exchange for a 20 to 25 percent return on their investment. They have helped to start up many prominent companies, including Google and Costco. Mark DiSalvo, CEO of private equity fund provider Semaphore said, “You are likely to get an investor who has strategic experience, so they can provide tactical benefit to the company they are investing in.” Find out what makes angel investors fund a business here. Venture capitalists Venture capital is money that is given to help build new startups that are considered to have both high-growth and high-risk potential. Fast-growth companies with an exit strategy already in place can gain up to tens of millions of dollars that can be used to invest, network and grow their company frequently. Brian Haughey, assistant professor of finance and director of the investment center at Marist College, said that because venture capitalists focus on specific industries, they can generally offer advice to entrepreneurs on whether the product will be successful or what they need to do to bring it to market. However, venture capitalists have a short leash when it comes to company loyalty and often look to recover their investment within a three- to five-year time window, he said. Learn more about venture capital here. Factoring/invoice advances Through this process, a service provider will front you the money on invoices that have been billed out, which you then pay back once the customer has settled the bill. This way, the business can grow by providing the funds necessary to keep it going while waiting for customers to pay for outstanding invoices. Eyal Shinar, CEO of small business cash flow management company Fundbox, says these advances allow companies to close the pay gap between billed work and payments to suppliers and contractors. “By closing the pay gap, companies can accept new projects more quickly,” Shinar told Business News Daily. “Our goal is to help business owners grow their businesses and hire new workers by ensuring steady cash flow.”

Stretch Your Startup Dollars

Initial startup costs are some of the biggest expenses a new business owner will have to encounter. Before you turn a profit, there are many parts of the business that need to be covered up front, and entrepreneurs don’t always anticipate some of these expenses.

To reduce your startup costs and stretch your dollars a little farther, follow these tips.

 

Have a budget, and stick to it

A simple way to save money as a new business owner is to set spending and expense limits. However, a surprising number of business owners don’t have a formal budget, said Carissa Reiniger, founder of small business support community Thank You Small Business.

“There is so much power in knowing what is going on in your business, for better or for worse,” Reiniger told Business News Daily. “Managing the finances of my business is not something I naturally enjoy, so I’ve put rules in place to help me stay on track. I advise setting up a standard time every week or month for reviewing and managing your budget.”

Angie Segal, an ActionCOACH business coach, advised entrepreneurs to factor their own salary into the budget as soon as possible.

“When you don’t pay yourself, you take money out of the business elsewhere to cover your own expenses,” Segal said. “Giving yourself a salary forces you to make everything in your budget work.”

Thatcher Spring, CEO of GearLaunch, said entrepreneurs should always do as much as possible with what they have before they add more fixed costs.

“At my company, we only hire when there is too much for the current staff to reasonably accomplish without additional help,” he said. “I’ve also found that hiring less-experienced, smart, adaptable employees, instead of only those that are senior and highly experienced, can help keep salaries under control.”

 

Be flexible

When you created your business plan, you might have envisioned all of the latest office equipment, lavish holiday parties and enough staff to take on big projects. However, not all of those business luxuries are guaranteed.

Office Evolution founder and CEO Mark Hemmeter said small business owners can suffer from a lack of flexibility in their grand plans.

“Your ego and vanity can get in the way,” he said. “You want that car or that perfect sign, but it just isn’t a good fit for the core of the business.

Hemmeter recommended looking into short-term solutions, like using shared office spaces and hiring freelance workers, until you can afford to make long-term commitments such as acquiring private office suites and hiring full-time employees.

Spring added that business owners should always plan for every effort to take longer than expected, whether it’s launching a new website, signing up customers, sourcing new products or hiring employees.

“Make sure you always set aggressive goals, but realize that there will be unexpected terrain on the pathway to success,” he said.

A Funding Match Made in Heaven

Equity crowdfunding, a method of raising capital from small-dollar investors implemented by Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, came online nearly a year ago. The measure was touted as an alternative way to finance both early-stage and local companies that might have trouble securing a loan or attracting more conventional investors. By its nature, equity crowdfunding is a horizontal endeavor; companies soliciting small investments register with the SEC through an intermediary platform and begin to build capital toward their goal. If they reach that goal, they receive the funding and the investors officially become shareholders. One intermediary platform, GrowthFountain, saw an opportunity to merge the concept of equity crowdfunding with another kind of horizontal institution: the credit union. Credit unions are financial institutions similar to banks, except for one major difference: Credit unions are not for-profit entities, but rather cooperatives. Each account holder in a credit union is a part owner that retains a democratic stake in the institution and receives dividends in the form of more favorable interest rates, whether it’s on deposits or loans. Marrying equity crowdfunding with credit unions was a no-brainer, said Ken Staut, CEO of GrowthFountain.

“When we formed GrowthFountain and thought about crowdfunding, a lightbulb kind of went off over my head,” Staut told Business News Daily. “Our mission has so many similarities with a credit union’s. We’re both focused on people helping people and community development.” The intersection of equity crowdfunding and credit unions After Staut realized equity crowdfunding and credit unions should go together, he reached out to Callahan & Associates, a prominent credit union think tank, to gauge some of the unions’ interest in offering access to GrowthFountain’s equity crowdfunding platform. It turned out interest was immense, Staut said. Although the company is still early in the process, it already has three credit union partners: Digital Credit Union, a top 10 credit union with 620,000 members across 50 states; Massachusetts-based Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union with 85,000 members; and Oregon-based Rivermark Community Credit Union, also with 85,000 members. About a dozen more contracts are in the works, and Staut estimates that when the ink is dry, GrowthFountain’s equity crowdfunding platform will be available to roughly 3 million credit union members nationwide. Each credit union leverages GrowthFountain’s platform, but the branding and imagery is all unique to the credit union that’s offering it to members. The foremost businesses displayed on each site are unique to the geographic region in which the credit union operates as well, meaning members can invest in local companies – maybe even ones they visit and patronize.