- What is Wefunder?
- How is Wefunder different from the stock market?
- Wait… How is this legal?
- Why should I invest in startups?
- Any tips for a first-time investor on Wefunder?
- What kind of companies are on Wefunder?
- After I invest, how often should I expect updates?
- Is Wefunder regulated?
- Where does my money go after I invest?
- Do you recommend good investments?
- Why did you create Wefunder?
We help everyone invest as little as $100 in the startups they love.
You can think of us like “Kickstarter for investing”.
Unlike Kickstarter, you are not buying a product or donating to an artist. Instead, you are investing in a business with the hope of earning a return.
You decide which companies are worthy of funding. If the business does well, you may make money. If it doesn’t do well, you lose all your money.
Either way, you join a community of other investors who seek to help the startup succeed. You sometimes get neat perks from the companies too.
Startups on Wefunder are much earlier-stage than companies listed on the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange. Here are a few big differences:
Starting in May of 2016, thanks to a new law called Regulation Crowdfunding, it became legal for everyone to invest small amounts of money in the startups they believed in.
From 1933 to 2016, it was illegal to make an investment in a private company unless you were an “accredited investor” (i.e., rich).
We started Wefunder to fix that, because we weren’t rich, and we wanted to invest in our friends. The first thing we had to do was convince Congress to change the law. We managed to do that, and here we are today!
It shouldn't be to make lots of money! This isn't the stock market. Startups are much riskier and more likely to fail. Greed is a bad reason to invest.
Of course, if you invest wisely, you can make money. Our advice? Invest only in what you understand (and preferably love). If you are a customer and love the product, then it’s more likely it’s a good investment. If you don’t understand it, it may be a bad idea to invest.
Our opinion is that investing should not be solely about earning a return. To invest in something as risky as a startup, you should feel something extra, beyond just the business model. For us, that “something extra” is the personal fulfillment we get from helping a founder take “their shot” at making our world a slightly better place. We also think it’s pretty cool to learn about different industries when we get updates from the founder.
Our advice? Start off slow.
Expect to lose it all. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
Only invest in what you understand. Preferably, a product or mission that you love.
Do your research. You also can ask the founders a question on their company profile.
Diversify. It’s better to make multiple small investments rather than one large one. Plus, it’ll help you learn more.
- Look at the Lead Investor. Has a more experienced investor invested in the company, under the same terms as you? Why are they investing?
Want more tips? Head over to Startup Investor School– an entire video series of tips from the world's best startup investor, Y Combinator.
- Expect to lose it all. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
As we like to say, nearly the entire American economy! That’s the fun part!
We’ve funded tens of millions of dollars in startups like:
- Moonshots like flying cars, space telescopes, and fusion reactors
- Neighborhood businesses like café’s , restaurants, and breweries
- Software like mobile apps and online education
- Biotechnology like glowing plants and researching cancer cures
- Entertainment like Hollywood studios and immersive theater
- And more…
The one commonality? All of the companies on Wefunder that succeed at their fundraising have a community of people who love them.
Wefunder recommends that founders send out an update to their investor at least once a quarter, but you can also ask the founders for an update by posting on the Q&A section of their campaign page, which is all the way at the bottom under the Interview section.
Most companies are also legally required to issue an Annual Report 120 days after the end of their fiscal year. The annual report is a more comprehensive update with their latest financials, board members, new financings, and more. In some circumstances, an issuer may no longer be required to file this information, though we encourage them to do so, anyways. Most companies have their fiscal year end on December 31st, and their annual reports come out on April 30th.
Wefunder is prohibited by law from touching your money.
When you invest, your funds are transferred to an escrow account, in custody of Boston Private Bank. If the fundraise succeeds, your money will be released to the startup. Otherwise, it will be refunded to you.
No! It’s illegal for us to endorse or recommend any company.
But even if it wasn’t illegal, we don’t want Wefunder to be a “gatekeeper” that picks and chooses which ideas are worthy of funding. That’s for you to decide.
No company on Wefunder – no matter where it appears on our web site – is endorsed by us. Also, while we may sometimes help companies “make their profiles look pretty”, all of this information is provided and fact-checked as true by the companies, not us.
While we don’t vet ideas, we do our best to screen for fraud, such as researching the founders and verifying that the documents they’ve provided comply with the law.
Initially, we created it for ourselves. We wanted to invest in our friends. We also wanted to support causes we cared about with our dollars, like revitalizing American manufacturing or researching cancer. We see every startup as a social movement to change the world in one specific way. We wanted to join more of those movements, and help where we could.
That’s also why we became a Public Benefit Corporation. We aim to make capitalism work better, by sprinkling the Silicon Valley fairy dust across the rest of America. We want to help thousands more potential founders get off the ground and take their shot.
Please join us!