Nov 302010
Image representing ProFounder as depicted in C...
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Raising funds for a small business can be a daunting task for any fledgeling entrepreneur. Whether it be from friends and family or from the general public, finding investors, setting terms of the funding, assigning equity and filing compliance documents is a challenge. Enter ProFounder, a stealth startup that launches today to ensure that all entrepreneurs and small businesses have access to an easy and simple fundraising platform.

ProFounder, which has been in private beta for the past year, offers entrepreneurs two ways to raise money on the site: through a private fundraising round, and/or a public fundraising round. The private fundraising rounds allow entrepreneurs to share a percentage of their revenues with investors (their friends, family, and community) over time. Essentially, this type of fundraising round is an offering of securities, and ProFounder helps facilitate compliance with state and federal laws related to this offering.

Public fundraising rounds allow entrepreneurs to share a percentage of revenues with both investors (anyone can participate – friends, family, community, and general public too) as well as a nonprofit organization. For both public and private fundraising rounds, ProFounder has a limit of $1 million raised.

Entrepreneurs can apply to Profounder, upload a pitch to offer to potential investors and then create a term sheet with Profounder’s templated forms and compliance sheets. As stated above, the term sheets are based on a revenue-share model. ProFounder then gives businesses a page where they can invite friends, family, and investors to a destination page that allows users to make contributions and investments directly on the site.

The bonus of using ProFounder is that the platform allows unaccredited investors (i.e. friends and family as opposed to a venture firm) to participate, so anyone can be an investor. And entrepreneurs can set their own investment terms and ProFounder facilitates all of the compliance, including tracking the number of investor seats in each state where each of their investors live, making sure entrepreneurs know which compliance documents they need to file, making sure entrepreneurs know which filing fees to pay, etc.

ProFounder, which was is the brainchild of Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley and fellow Stanford Business School alum Dana Mauriello, also manages payouts and will pull funds from the entrepreneur’s bank account every quarter to pay investors their share of the business’ revenues.

ProFounder makes money by charging a 5 percent fee (of a public raise) and/or a flat $1,000 fee for any private raises.

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