Jonathan Cohen, founder, CEO and president, 20/20 GeneSystems, says his company, which develops bio-testing and cancer diagnostic tools, is a big fan of crowdfunding.
“We've raised now over $10 million in equity crowdfunding,” Cohen says. “Currently we're raising through StartEngine, one of the leading platforms. So we've been a leader in equity crowdfunding. I'm a huge believer of this type of financing for companies in all areas of technology.”
For the past two or three years, crowdfunding has represented close to 100 percent of the company’s funding.
“We have had a few institutional or family office type investors in the mix, but generally this is what we're doing,” he says.
Being a consumer-facing enterprise, Cohen says the company felt crowdfunding would enable it to grow the business while it raised capital. Unlike venture capital or even angel investing, crowdfunding let the company kill two birds with one stone. That’s because raising capital through crowdfunding is set up in such a way that CEOs can sell their product or services while they pitch individual investors.
“Once you have your regulatory filings in place and you have your company adequately profiled on the platform and your digital marketing materials are ready to go, it's actually quite easy,” he says. “You don't have to have endless meetings. You don't have to travel. You don't have to answer disparate questions from various individuals. All the questions are done online, so when you're asking one person's questions you're very often answering hundreds of people's. So it actually allows the CEO and the management team to focus on their business and that's not as true with some of the other forms of capital raising. I'm actually a very big fan of this of this type of fundraising and I do think it's going to grow in popularity in the years to come.”
Cohen, speaking at the Baltimore Smart Business Dealmakers Conference, shared best practices for effective crowdfunding as well as how to prepare pitches for different investor audiences. Hit play on the video above to catch the full conversation.