Incubator chief Peter Relan is using crowdfunding to raise the final round of funding for his 9plus incubator.
The funding will test whether Relan’s startups are popular, as well as whether it’s feasible to raise a large amount of money from accredited investors via crowdfunding.
Relan told VentureBeat that he is raising $3 million in a second round of funding for 9plus, which incubates startups for more than nine months. So far, Relan has raised about $1.7 million of the $2 million to $3 million round on Venovate, a marketplace for alternative investing that was part of the 9plus program.
Previously, Menlo Park, Calif.-based 9plus raised $4.5 million. If it completes the latest round, total funding will hit $7.5 million. The crowdfunding campaign was made possible by changes in the law via the federal JOBS Act, which made various types of crowdfunding legal.
“We’re now able to say we are raising a round, we are about halfway done,” Relan said. “In this case, we’re going to use one of our own startups to complete the crowdfunding.”
While Relan’s YouWeb incubator focused on mobile social gaming, the 9plus incubator is focused on on-demand marketplaces, mobile commerce, wearables, and the Internet of Things (or making everyday objects smart and connected). Relan wants to complete the final round by the end of March, either directly through accredited investors or through the Venovate marketplace for accredited investments.
To date, Relan’s startups have raised over $90 million in venture funding and have seen over $120 million in exits. YouWeb’s mobile social gaming program has generated a 4.5X net cash-on-cash multiple for its investors, Relan said.
“We’re doing rolling admissions of about two companies per quarter now,” Relan said.
Startups that have already gone through the 9plus program include GotIt!, an on-demand marketplace; SmartCloud, which makes services for monitoring safety with on-demand transportation; Coffee, an intelligent messenger for smart watches; OneFold, which provides big data warehouse analytics for mobile apps and commerce; mobile gaming firm Hammer & Chisel; and Gamoz, creator of InstaPoker, an app for recruiting poker players.
Relan has been working with Silicon Valley incubators since starting YouWeb in 2007. He started 9plus in 2012.