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iAngels named by Entrepreneur Magazine as a top 10 Finance company to watch

From funding to savings, these brilliant companies create solutions that move people and companies forward.

1. Danish Ventures has created a fund that targets design-focused but scalable companies solving some of the world’s biggest problems.

2. Users of Qapital, a personal savings app, set spending rules for themselves. When they break those rules, money is automatically placed into savings.

3. Aspiration makes investing accessible: For $500, invest in one of its funds. Its “pay what is fair” model gives customers the option to choose zero fees.

4. Online credit marketplace Fundera helps VC-less startups snag small investments from trusted enders. It takes a 1 to 3 percent fee from lenders (rather than tax borrowers) and has helped secure $140 million for more than 2,500 businesses.

5. Earnest helps refinance those dreaded student loans by using career and financial histories to determine a borrower’s ability to pay, and saves borrowers an average of $18,000 over 10 years.

6. Microfinance startup First Access uses prepaid mobile-phone payment histories to quickly and affordably predict credit risk for borrowers in developing markets.

7. iAngels, an Israel-based equity crowdfunding platform, helps international private investors access early-stage opportunities alongside Israel’s leading angels.

8. Painless1099 helps freelancers save for tax season, automatically putting away the proper amount before payments route to a checking account.

9. New to investing? Simply Wall St. turns stock data into simple, helpful graphics.

10. Fastacash, which recently closed a $15 million Series B round, wants to make sharing money with friends (and paying brands) as easy as texting.

 

This article originally appeared on Entreprenuer

About iAngels
iAngels is a leading Israel-based angel investment network, leveraging best-in-class due diligence to enable accredited investors around the world to gain access to the most-exclusive early-stage technology deals in the market. In less than three years, iAngels has raised over $50m, invested in over 60 Israeli startups, and built a full-service in-house investment team, led by founders Shelly Hod Moyal and Mor Assia. 

Israeli startups raised $3.6b in funding last year. This platform allows anyone to invest in them

Mor Assia and Shelly Hod-Moyal, founders of iAngels

Israel, also referred to as the “Startup Nation,” possesses one of the most active and innovative startup ecosystems globally. Not only does it have the most startups in the world on a per capita basis, its entrepreneurs are way ahead of the curve when it comes to building products that people need.

You may not know it, but every time you use an Apple product, utilize Google’s navigation tech, or even insert an innocuous USB drive into your laptop, you’re benefiting from technology developed in Israel. Little wonder that the ecosystem raised US$3.6 billion in funding last year, helping investors gain 50 percent on each dollar invested.

That’s the opportunity equity crowdfunding startup iAngels hopes to expand. The site is trying to equalize the playing field for global investors by helping them get a slice of the action and providing local Israeli startups better access to capital.

Built by experts

iAngels was founded by Mor Assia and Shelly Hod Moyal, both of whom have a finance and technology background. Mor graduated with an MBA from Columbia Business School and worked at IBM prior to launching the venture. Shelly’s a graduate of Northwestern, with previous jobs in Goldman Sachs and UBS. They believe their combined experience serves them well when it comes to building networks, scouring for the best deals, and building a product that resonates with angel investors worldwide.

“We were motivated by the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and investors worldwide,” explains Shelly. “We saw […] promising Israeli startups raising seed capital in Israel and then flying all over the world to find additional investors. We also saw investors […] wanting to invest in Israel but not having a professional vehicle […] and we felt there’s got to be a better way to connect the [two].”

Despite the robust investment space in Israel, Mor says there are still hurdles that prevent entrepreneurs from securing seed capital.

Angel investors in the country are usually entrepreneurs who have successfully exited from multiple startups, as well as high net-worth individuals who’ve made their riches in real estate, finance, or other verticals. There are also a number of ‘micro-VCs’ looking to invest anywhere between US$500,000 to $1 million in seed rounds.

But the traction needed to successfully close a seed round remains high. The startup must already be revenue positive, have customers, proven concept, or engaged in deeply futuristic tech that requires substantial amounts of capital to scale up.

“In general, the capital available for early-stage startups has increased, but this does not mean its easy to raise seed rounds,” Mor adds.

High quality deal flow

For investors looking to sign up to be a part of the network, the process is fairly simple and straight-forward. But that belies the frenetic work that takes place behind the scenes to ensure only the most promising startups are selected for investment.

The first stage in iAngel’s vetting process is its exclusive list of 30 ‘lead angels’ who refer companies back to it. The angels have been identified after research and analysis of all the mergers and acquisitions as well as IPOs that took place in Israel over the past decade. Shelly explains their research indicates that top quartile angels in Israel generated 80 percent of financial returns, hence presenting a “compelling opportunity” for a co-investment model.

In addition to the recommended companies, the iAngels team also keeps a close eye on emerging startups by attending community meetups, trade shows, accelerator demo days, and other networking events. On average, they analyze between 100-120 deals every month, and accept only two for investment. That’s a rejection rate of over 98 percent.

Investors also have to meet one specific criterion, although it’s not nearly as exacting as the ones portfolio companies are subjected to. Individuals seeking to co-invest have to be accredited investors in the country they’re based out of. For example, in the US, this means they must have US$200,000 in annual income or US$1 million in investable assets. Exact standards vary by country, but there is no other requirement.

Most investment activity has originated from the US, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Germany, and Australia.

To ensure there’s maximum value for both investors and founders, iAngels deploys two models in parallel. The first one is the ‘portfolio model,’ where investors commit a certain amount of capital that will be assigned automatically once a startup has been approved by the investment committee. After that round, the startup extends the deal to the rest of its network of investors, who then evaluate the offer on their own metrics and decide whether to invest or not.

The minimum amount of individual investment for each deal is US$10,000.

Delivering returns

Since launch two and a half years ago, iAngels has facilitated 50 investments and deployed nearly US$17.5 million in investor capital. Two of its portfolio companies have already been acquired by bigger players. Big Blue Parrot, a social poker application, was bought by online gaming giant Playtika, and MyRoll, an intelligent photo organizer, was acquired by AVG.

Mor adds that they haven’t had to write off any investment yet either.

The startup itself raised US$14 million in series B funding led by Australia-based Thorney Investment Group in March. It doesn’t take any fees from entrepreneurs but does charge investors a 5 percent ‘administrative fee’ after each round closes, along with additional costs based on performance.

The investor community is spread across 40 countries.

Every investor has access to a personal dashboard which contains a comprehensive profile on their investments as well as updated information on how portfolio companies are performing.

Shelly explains that they’re in the process of building a ‘secondary market,’ where existing investors and portfolio company employees can sell their shares within the iAngels community.

In some ways, iAngels also strives to act as a business accelerator. All portfolio companies go through monthly feedback sessions where topics like strategy, fundraising, and customer acquisition are discussed. Furthermore, because its investor network is made up of over 4,000 people in 40 different countries, iAngels is able to leverage these numbers to help entrepreneurs.

Shelly does predict eventual consolidation in the equity crowdfunding space, mainly due to a ‘proliferation of platforms,’ but says iAngels is well-positioned to weather the storm. She says only those startups that are able to deliver value to investors will prevail.

“This is why we chose to create a platform that looks after the investors interests, provides high quality deal flow, reporting, and transparency. Standardizing these processes and creating best practices in angel investing is a big part of our mission.”

 

This article originally appeared on Techinasia

About iAngels
iAngels is a leading Israel-based angel investment network, leveraging best-in-class due diligence to enable accredited investors around the world to gain access to the most-exclusive early-stage technology deals in the market. In less than three years, iAngels has raised over $50m, invested in over 60 Israeli startups, and built a full-service in-house investment team, led by founders Shelly Hod Moyal and Mor Assia. 

Starting May 16, Entrepreneurs Can Raise Money in a Whole New Way. Here’s What You Need to Know

Monday, May 16, 2016, will be a very big day in the world of crowdfunding.

More people will be able to invest in entrepreneurs through crowdfunding than they were just the day before. And that means that more entrepreneurs with more innovative ideas will be able to launch more businesses.

“The implications of legalizing equity-based crowdfunding are both significant and far reaching. Crowdfunding has the power to help democratize the capital raising process by giving entrepreneurs, for the first time, direct access to tens of millions of prospective investors,” says Brian Burt, the chair of the emerging business group and the law firm Snell & Wilmer, in an email with Entrepreneur. “In their search for startup or growth capital, entrepreneurs will no longer be constrained by the size of their personal Rolodex or the absence of pre-existing relationships with angel groups and venture capital funds.”

So what’s changing?
In April 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act into law. Called the JOBS Act, the goal of the multi-pronged piece of legislation was to make it easier and faster for small businesses to get access to capital.

The third piece of the JOBS Act, Title 3, opened up equity crowdfunding for unaccredited investors. “For the first time, anyone can become an investor in a business and be able to share in its profits and growth regardless of income, net worth or level of financial sophistication, and this will open up a new source of potential financing for entrepreneurs, which could be a game changer,” says Ellen Grady, an attorney and corporate governance specialist at the law firm Cozen O’Connor, in an email with Entrepreneur.

Prior to this rule change, only accredited investors — an individual whose net worth, or joint net worth with that person’s spouse, exceeds $1 million, as defined by the SEC — were able to invest in startups through equity crowdfunding in the U.S. (For the purposes of this calculation, an individual’s primary residence is not included in the tally of net worth.) Alternatively, an accredited investor is an individual who had income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years with reasonable expectation of earning just as much in the current year. Both members of a couple are considered accredited investors if they have joint income of more than $300,000 per year with reasonable expectation to earn a similar income in the current year.

The new equity crowdfunding regulations are updating the eight-decade old Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. “Companies across the United States, for the first time since 1933, will be able to seek investments from ordinary Americans without having to go through the expense and rigor of a full-public stock offering,” says Richard Swart, the chief strategy officer of the equity crowdfunding event coordinator NextGen Crowdfunding, in an email with Entrepreneur.

In essence, equity crowdfunding was only available to sufficiently wealthy individuals. As of May 16, all individuals will be able to invest through equity crowdfunding.

We’re not talking about tote-bag-for-a-donation Kickstarter-style crowdfunding here. What is equity crowdfunding?
Kickstarter made crowdfunding a nearly household idea. On Kickstarter, artists and entrepreneurs raise money to fund their projects by soliciting donations in exchange for token gifts, experiences or some sort of recognition.

These new rule changes are not dealing with Kickstarter-variety crowdfunding. They are expanding access to equity crowdfunding, wherein an investor gives an entrepreneur cash in exchange for a piece of his or her business.

“Now entrepreneurs can raise money and use it on any part of the business they think will help their business grow, without needing to offer some perk or commit to giving a pre-order for a product,” says Aaron McDaniel, the CEO of Access Investors Network, mobile aggregator of hundreds of equity crowdfunding deals, in an email with Entrepreneur.

The new rules also open the door for a new variety of crowdfunding platforms.

“These portals will be similar to Kickstarter — companies will post videos and information about their offerings, and if you like what you see, you can invest,” say Jeff Annison and Paul Scanlan, co-founders of Legion M, an equity crowdfunding studio for the entertainment industry, in an email with Entrepreneur. “The difference is that while Kickstarter is strictly rewards based (i.e. your money is essentially a donation in exchange for a reward or a pre-sale version of the product), the companies on these new platforms will be selling equity or debt financing. If these companies are successful, you stand to make money.”

OK, that’s cool. But why does it matter?
Most crucially, expanding access to crowdfunding will expand the amount of money being invested in startups.

“This means more capital for entrepreneurs. While the number of startups will stay the same, the amount of money available to deploy into this asset class will grow. Therefore, the rule change will have a profound shift on the early-stage investment industry and the economy as a whole,” says Shelly Hod Moyal, a co-founder of angel investment network iAngels, in an email with Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs will be able to raise more money in a shorter period of time, especially those running startups that can grab the curiosity of everyday investors online, says Hod Moyal. “Title III will shorten the time and expand the scope of fundraising cycles, especially for B2C companies that can easily convey their value proposition if they create compelling digital media to support their company’s narrative, and distribute that media effectively through relevant platforms.”

Taken together, equity crowdfunding from unaccredited investors could bring a couple of billion dollars of additional capital into startups each year in the U.S., once the industry has a chance to grow into and adjust to the new regulations, says Mat Dellorso, the co-founder and CEO of private placement technology company WealthForge, in an email with Entrepreneur.

In addition to making more money available to entrepreneurs, the new equity crowdfunding rules will make more capital available to a wider range of entrepreneurs. Venture capital and angel investor dollars tend to flow to companies based in Silicon Valley and New York City, skipping over entrepreneurs across the country, points out Swart.

“Venture capitalists and angel investors focus on companies with home-run potential. You might have a great little profitable company with dedicated customers, but if you don’t have the potential for a billion-dollar IPO or acquisition, a VC or angel isn’t likely to be interested. That said, your community of customers might be very receptive to investing,” say Annison and Scanlan of Legion M. “The same goes for companies built around a social cause. Large investors are very focused on optimizing the bottom line. Smaller investors may be fine with a lower financial return if they also feel like they are having a positive impact on the world.”

Your grandmother, sister and friend’s brother invest for different reasons than venture capitalists. And that’s great. That will increase the diversity of the kinds of entrepreneurs who get capital investments to build their businesses.

“It’s pretty cool that for the first time in 80 plus years, normal people will be able to invest as little as $100 in a startup or small business that they love,” says Nick Tommarello, co-founder and CEO of the equity crowdfunding platform Wefunder, in an email with Entrepreneur. “You’ll know that whenever you walk into that cafe, you helped make it happen.”

Crowdfunding in the Context of Portfolio Management

iAngels’ Founding Partner, Shelly Hod Moyal, recently published a white paper that explains how crowdfunding fits into the context of portfolio management.  Below is the introduction of the piece.  You can download the full version here
 
With interest rates at zero and the introduction of crowdfunding-based financial innovations, investors are seeking both alpha and diversification in a new class of alternative assets: start-ups, consumer loans, private equities, and real estate projects.
While investors have deployed capital into venture capital and private equity funds, credit funds, and REITs for quite some time, “alternative alternatives” or “A2 “, represent the possibility of investing in specific securities within each of these alternative asset classes. Just like the public invests in and lends to public companies through individual stocks and bonds — not just mutual funds, the investing public can now invest in and lend to private companies and individuals through crowdfunding.
Yet, although start-up investments have a low correlation with traditional assets and can complement an investment portfolio, start-up investing is not suitable for all investors. Due to their small size, start-up investments are both illiquid and highly volatile. (For more on whether start-up investing is right for you click here).

This white paper discusses the risk/return profile of A2 with respect to diversification, a changing investment landscape, strategic asset allocation, and the prospects of A2 investing – specifically start-ups– as part of a broader investment strategy.

iAngels Expands Investment Opportunities with NFX Guild Partnership

Among the new accelerator programs launching in 2015 in Silicon Valley was NFX Guild. Focused on marketplace and digital network startups, NFX Guild was founded by James Currier and Stan Chudnovsky who had previously worked together and invested in startups through their Ooga Labs venture. Also part of the founding team with NFX is Israeli angel investor, Gigi Levy-Weiss.

Among NFX’s differentiators is that it is an invite only accelerator, with company ‘scouts’ reviewing for possible candidates for the three month program. With the founder’s roots in both Israel and Silicon Valley, the program includes startups from both regions.

Having completed their Summer 2015 class earlier in the year, NFX is starting its Winter 2016 program. Participants are provided $120,000 in equity based funding. In addition, for the Winter 2016 round, NFX Guild has partnered with Israeli based equity crowdfunding platform, iAngels, to allow their customers to invest in the class.

Speaking with Mor Assia, Founding Partner at iAngels, she provided more information to Finance Magnates about the partnership. Assia explained that iAngels will be investing in the entire portfolio of companies participating in the round and use similar valuations to those of NFX when valuing the $120,000 in funding they provide. Open to their members, the minimum investment size to participate in the portfolio is $50,000.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision to open up investment opportunities beyond just those on their platform, Assia stated that iAngels believes it is “a unique opportunity for investors”, offering “access into deals that have been vetted by NFX partners” in one investment.

Speaking with Assia, she also addressed some of the transparency concerns brought up in a Fintech Spotlight column published earlier this month. Among the issues with the industry cited in the article are crowdfunding platforms that announce that their portfolio companies have achieved exits, but withhold details of the returns.

Assia explained that for them as well as other crowdfunding platforms, details of individual exits can be difficult to provide due to the companies involved requesting privacy in these matters. She added that the same applies when startups get funded, with very few firms ever publicizing the valuations of those deals.

In terms of their own platform, Assia explained that iAngels takes a portfolio approach, and marks to market their portfolio of companies that have raised money on the platform and provides updates of the overall valuation and return. Assia added that the goal is to be “a good investor” which is revealed through an entire portfolio and not individual exits.

 

This article was originally published on Finance Magnates

iAngels Becomes First Equity Crowdfunding Platform to Create Early Liquidity for Employee Stock Options

We are happy to announce our most recent offering: secondary sales, and are proud to be the first crowdfunding platform to offer such opportunities.

Providing liquidity for employee owned shares will give our investor community the unique opportunity to invest in later stage startups while simultaneously allowing us to help solve an issue in the startup ecosystem – the liquidity of employee owned shares.

Learn more about our newest feature in the articles below

Finance Magnates

CrowdFundInsider

MarketWatch

iAngels on the Dealflow.com Blog

I got word of all the Citizen.vc activity when I was in Tel Aviv, meeting with Mor Assia, the sharp 33 year old founder of Israel-based iAngels. When our conversation turned to how everyone in the industry wants to see faster — and let’s be honest, more liberal — regulatory action, Mor seemed a lot more optimistic than yours truly. I told her, “When the Tinder generation is in power, we’ll see faster progress. In the meantime, let’s just be thankful for whatever guidance we get.

 

Read the full article here