There Are Now 1 Million Users On StartEngine – Here’s How We Got There
This week, we reached one million users on StartEngine. Wow. That’s a million people who are interested in diversifying their investments into startups and other alternative assets. Sometimes, as the founder, it’s hard to wrap my mind around how far we’ve come since launching in 2015. And even though equity crowdfunding is still in its infancy – it’s true, we’ve crossed a lot of milestones in a short time.
So let me take you back into our brief history of how we grew from an idea into the largest equity crowdfunding platform by revenue in 2021, to a one-million-strong investor community in 2022.
Before equity crowdfunding, ordinary investors could buy shares of publicly traded companies, mutual funds, and ETFs. But their rich neighbor could buy things like Uber before its IPO. Why? Well, the rich neighbor had something called accreditation. Basically, certain albeit risky assets, like startups, were only available to the ultra-wealthy.
This all changed with the advent of the JOBS Act, which was voted into law in 2012 and mostly implemented by 2016. So what exactly did the JOBS Act change? Now everyone can own shares of startups and privately held companies. That means everyday people can decide for themselves if they want to take on the risk – and massive potential upside – of startup investing.
We started with a bang in 2015. Our first offering raised close to $17 million under Regulation A+ (the first rule enacted under the JOBS Act allowing equity crowdfunding). A little less than a year later in May 2016, we launched our first offers under Regulation Crowdfunding, which offered a lower barrier to entry for startups but with lower funding limits.
It felt like StartEngine was getting ready to hit the big time, as we also launched our OWN funding round on equity crowdfunding – around here, we like to say that we eat our own dog food. And by January 2018, an investor purchased the one-millionth share of our OWN raise.
We never looked back. Fast-forward to October 2019, and we passed $100 million raised for startups on our platform. Two years later, we’ve increased that number by more than 6x to $650 million invested on StartEngine as of this October.
So, how to explain such rapid growth?
As I said, equity crowdfunding is still in its infancy. But in my experience, when something works, it works right away. And if all these statistics demonstrate one thing – it’s that this form of capital raise is not going away. In fact, it’s thriving.
Yes, it’s still hard for me to believe what we’ve accomplished. And while no one knows for sure, I suspect it will take a lot less than seven years to reach our next million users.