There is one of the Peer to Peer lenders and investing platforms that calls itself the primary source for startup funding and angel investors. You could call this a crowdfunding P2P company and service for investors with even more money than simply accredited investors. As it has been around nearly a decade, it is worth considering as a place to invest in both existing businesses and start up ventures.
Funded Intro & Background
Entrepreneurs have been taking their funding needs straight to Funded.com since 2007. Here they have found that they could be matched up with angel investors, private equity partners, private individual investors, venture capitalists, and business funding partners of all types. Funded is different from many of the other P2P sites in that it is not only for those who have an existing business and need capital. It is also a place where people who are launching a startup can turn for funding from crowdfunders, venture capitalists, and P2P lenders and investors.
Funded claims to be the largest platform for connecting investors with funding sources and to have the biggest network of accredited investors anywhere. We signed up to investigate and found out that investors are indeed heavily pre-screened on their site. Testimonials on the site claim it is a goldmine for entrepreneurs of all kinds who require significant financial backing in the form of equity investments or microloans to get their business to the next level or to get their startup from conceptual to launched stage.
Funded Founder and Management Team
Mark Favre is the CEO and founder of Funded. He has been involved with angel investors and venture capitalists for more than a decade. The site does not offer much information about him or any names of additional board members. Other third party websites, like the Better Business Bureau, only mention Mark Favre in connection with Funded as well.
Funded provides several different types of loans and funding. It offers equity investments through venture capitalists, crowdfunders, angel investors, and other equity providers. The platform also offers micro business loans.
How Funded Works
We like that Funded provides several ways for businesses and investors of different types to get together. Businesses interested in receiving funding sign up and put together a pitch and business plan. Funded then provides a listing for the business looking for funding, the sophistication of which depends heavily on the level of membership for which the business is paying. Investors next contact the businesses that they browse through, view, and find interesting. Investors choose the businesses in which they want to invest, contact them directly, and the businesses and investors reach terms on an equity investment.
With microloans, the process is similar, only an interest rate, payment amount, and term of loan have to be worked out between the business and the investors in question instead of an ownership stake. There are numerous angel investors, crowdfunders, and venture capitalists who are registered with the site to work with businesses on these loans and equity investments.
• Help creating business plans – they design 30 pages and up business plans. You have to buy a package specifically for these plans to get one made.
• Free Business Plan Executive Summary – Every level of membership comes with a free executive summary for your business plan.
• Variety of Investor Types – The platform provides equity investors, venture capitalists, angel investors, and micro loan providers.
• Mailbox – Every business seeking funding and all investors who are screened and qualified receive a mailbox. For businesses, these come with unlimited inbox replies from investors.
• Postings and Listings – Different packages deliver various types of postings and business listings. Funded provides very visible premier postings that include a specially customized linked page to help businesses and entrepreneurs to attract the investors who are specifically best for their needs.
• Dashboard – this is the command center from which investors can search through the various businesses and entrepreneurs' business plans and funding requests.
Funded has an office only in the U.S., though it advertises that it brings investors to the table from both Great Britain and Canada. Their headquarters is found at 1405 Silver Lake Rd NW Ste 8, Saint Paul, MN 55112-9311.
Funded Interface Screenshots
Funded is sketchy on some of the details of their service, but they do not hide or neglect the safety issue. They use both third parties and special processing companies for credit cards to ensure that security is sound on their platform, database, server, and site. They utilize standard 128 Bit SSL security for all transactions and transmissions of data to and from their site to your computer browser as well. All personal information and credit card information is encrypted for your protection.
Funded promises to not share or sell any information on their investors' and businesses' information, profile, proforma data, business plans, or other personal information to any third party, non-affiliated company, or affiliated companies without your permission or request.
Funded Complaints and Ratings
Funded touts many awards and recognitions for its ongoing support of both existing businesses and start up companies. The Better Business Bureau ranks them with their highest approval level of A+. This enviable rating is based on a number of criteria including:
- Amount of time Funded has been in business
- Number of complaints filed with a company of their size
- Funded's response to the 6 complaints filed against them
- Their resolving of the complaints they received
Funded has received a total of 6 complaints in the past three years. All of these have been resolved over the past 36 months, while four of them were resolved within the prior 12 months.
Besides this excellent rating with the BBB, Funding boasts receiving the SBCA Small Business Commerce Association's Best of Business Awards in the category of Non-commercial site and business service for both St. Paul, MN and San Francisco, CA.
Funded Customer Support
Funded's customer support starts with its list of over 6,600 funding providers and investors. They show off their business plan writers, who are comprised of a professional staff, and who put together high quality business plans which are specifically targeted to and ready for investors to bring in the right sets of eyes to the start up project or business. Besides this, Funded brags about its customer service team and how excellent they are at giving help for support and navigation through the website and platform.
We noted with some concern that there was not an email address listed anywhere on their site, nor any live chat customer help available. They do provide customer support and investor help phone numbers for both the U.S./Canada and also Great Britain.
Funded Costs & Fees
Businesses looking for funding pay one of three tiered monthly plans to join. $99 per month is the basic plan, $149 per month is gold, and $299 per month is the platinum service pack. The platform also provides a premier level of membership for $1,198 that includes a full business plan plus three months of the platinum level of membership.
The gold plan includes all basic features plus:
- An option for social media postings
- Your own web page link
- Ability to view investor profiles and rankings
- Capability of searching for and messaging investors to connect with them
The platinum plan includes all of the gold and basic features plus:
- Complete template for an effective business plan
- Complete review of your business plan
- The assistance of Funded's Concierge Manager
- A gold star citation beside your listing/posting
The business plan package is payable in two installments of $599 each.
It appears that investors do not pay anything to join, browse, and invest in projects with the businesses and entrepreneurs on the site, though we were unable to be 100% sure of this. The information on the site is sketchy in this regard and several others. We do understand that Funded is running itself on sales of subscription packages from those seeking funding, not on the investors like you looking to invest funds.
Final Words on Funded
Funded makes many astounding claims with regards to its premier ranking in the world of P2P investing and crowdfunding. It claims to be the largest network of accredited investors and the biggest and most impressive site for connecting those with funds to invest with those businesses and start-ups who need funds invested. Verifying these claims is difficult, as they are guarded with the amount of information that they provide on their website. We might be incredulous about these boasts, except for the number of years that they have been in business, their rankings with the BBB, and their SBCA Best of Business Awards. As it is, you should do as much of your own due diligence with this opportunity before investing as you would with any other platform and site.
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Pros of Funded Review
- Investors do not appear to pay anything to participate with the platform.
- Site claims to have over 6,600 different accredited investors on the site.
- Opportunities to invest as either equity stakes or make micro-loans.
- Company is award-winning and A+ rated by the BBB.
Cons of Funded Review
- The platform is sketchy on details and specifics for investors.
- Every funding opportunity must be customized and agreed on with the various businesses and entrepreneurs regarding terms, ownership stake, and interest rate.
- Information on the founder and CEO, along with any board members, is lacking.
Funded Review Review Summary
Funded claims to be the largest network of accredited investors and venture capital providers in the world, with a network of private investors that includes British and Canadian investors along with Americans. Their website is decidedly short on details and alarmingly lacks transparency, but they have SBAC Best of the Business awards and an A+ rating from the BBB to back up their claims.