Adam Draper, carrying on his family’s multi-generation venture capital legacy, recently launched BoostFunder, an online marketplace where startups and investors can meet to facilitate the investment process. Now that the company is off and running, it has divulged its first list of featured companies to VentureBeat:
Dareme.to is Kickstarter for “Dares.” Want a friend of yours to do something? Motivate them with some crowd-sourced cash.
iCrumz is a free cloud-based personal bookmarking platform where you can easily organize 100+ bookmarks on a single page without being crowded. Available from any computer, mobile phone or tablet.
Sofulo is a mobile application startup that is focused on future location social networking, answering the question “Where are my friends going to be later?”
Hitch Radio is a social media platform for global real-time broadcast radio airwave search.
Invested.in sees itself as a technology leader in crowdfunding; it partnered with BoostFunder to help power the site.
Vergence Labs is re-inventing the future of the human-computer paradigm as a stylish pair of glasses with a computer inside. The computer can record, share, and augment your reality.
Uncorkd is a SaaS platform that allows restaurants to create and manage interactive iPad menus.
Phone Halo creates software that keeps track of your valuables. Its products are Cobra Tag and Headset Trackr.
Mobber.net creates a social bomb based on hundreds of aggregated tweets and Facebook messages.
MoPix is giving content creators a framework for creating, distributing, and monetizing video.
Bottlenose is a new way to search and keep up with social networks.
Fancorps is a word-of-mouth marketing and brand-advocacy technology solution for consumer brands and organizations.
These startups are currently using Boostfunder’s platform to apply and raise up to a million dollars. Before they can be featured on the site, the BoostFunder team must approve the application. Once selected, accredited investors can check out the profile pages and reach out if they are interested in pledging investment. With all the uncertainty regarding the JOBS Act, no transactions actually occur; rather the site acts as a place where vetted startups and investors can size each other up.
Draper decided to create BoostFunder after witnessing how challenging it could be for fledgling companies to close deals with older, established investors. As someone fully immersed in the investment world, he wanted to lend a helping hand.
“When a startup begins, it often has no idea how to raise capital,” he said in an interview. “There is a big gap between a verbal agreement and the actual signing of paper. BoostFunder is a way to bridge that gap by providing a place to pledge investment immediately. It creates social pressure to follow up.”
Social pressure can be a powerful force. Dareme.to, one of the featured companies, combines social pressure with crowdfunding. By contributing small amounts of money into a pool, friends can motivate each other to carry out dares. The dares can be something silly, like walking into a business meeting wearing boxer shorts, or more constructive.
Founder Marc Chambers shared the example of his friend who liked a girl but was too afraid to ask her out. His friends said if he shored up his courage and invited her on a date, they would pay for it. They each threw $20 into the pot, and then he had financial as well as social incentive to go through with it.
Draper said he was drawn to Dareme.to because it was a fun product that he would use himself. Both he and Chambers were excited by the opportunity to get it off the ground.
“On BoostFunder, I am connected to a community of investors looking for cool ideas,” Chambers said. “When they say they are in, I can ask them right there what the terms are. Offline, this is very uncomfortable. You don’t know how to talk about it or if you should ask for money. On BoostFunder, it is easy to communicate.”
Asking for money is never easy, particularly if you’re looking for massive amounts of it. BoostFunder strives to take the awkward out of fundraising and turn verbal commitments into actual paperwork. So far, around $400,000 in pledges have been made.