Photo: Nick Tommarello, Facebook profile
AngelList democratized the funding of startups.But a new platform launched today called Wefunder wants to open up the funding process to the masses — as long as a critical bill passes Congress.
Wefunder will take a Kickstarter approach to crowdsource funding. The plan is to pick one company per week. First, accredited investors will do due diligence and put in $25,000. At that point, anyone will be able to invest $100 to $1,000 in the startup of the week.
“I’d love to give a small portion of my income to entrepreneurs changing the world, rather than blowing it in Vegas, or investing in GE,” Tommerello said. “I want to invest in start-ups, and I’m frustrated that I can’t. I think I can add some wisdom to go along with my $5,000/year, and get the feeling that I am helping startups change the world.”
If the bill, Democratizing Access to Capital Act of 2011, is passed in favour of crowdfunding, then startups wil be able to raise up to $1 million a year from small investors. It already passed the House and is now in the Senate.
“We’re meeting Senators in DC soon, and we’re told that we’ll be able to help influence the debate if we can show that people actually want to do this,” Tommarello said. So far, through Wefunder, more than 400 founders have signed a petition to pledge more than $1 million if the bill passes.
It looks like this is becoming a trend. The tech guys know how to use online persuasion to influence policy in DC. It worked with SOPA. Now, thousands of others are putting their money where their mouth is. If the bill goes through, this could give more power to entrepreneurs and founders who want to invest in other startups, and change the climate of early stage venture capital.
“There won’t be a Wefunder if the bill doesn’t pass. So we’re putting our focus 100% on the petition. But if the bill passes, our goal is help everyone invest in high quality start-ups,” Tommarello said.