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Why An Equity Crowdfunding Site Could Become The Largest Marketplace In The World

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog and has been edited to bring it up to date

What do Airbnb, Etsy, OpenTable, Uber, and Kickstarter have in common? Well, to begin with, each of them are relatively young. Each of them also followed  the heavyweights Amazon and Ebay, and each of them share something else in common:

Their success stems from the simple fact that each one removed friction in a market by aggregating supply and demand in a user-friendly way. And there is something else: Each of these platforms have reaped the massive ...

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April 16, 2014

The Question Investors Must Ask Before Crowdfunding

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog

Equity crowdfunding has experienced dramatic growth in the past year, with platforms giving accredited investors the ability to explore potential investments online more quickly and easily than ever before. But all equity crowdfunding platforms aren’t built the same, and it’s important to assess a few factors before determining which platform you wish to use.

The number one question to ask is this: How are companies performing since they raised money on equity platform that you are considering using?

I would love to be able to ...

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March 31, 2014

10 Things An Investor Must Do Before Investing

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog

Investing in private companies is not easy. These are risky, illiquid, long-term investments, so you need to do a lot of work upfront to increase your odds of success. I’ve spent my entire career either investing into private companies or helping investors and companies connect through an online investing platform. In my experience, here are 10 things investors must to before investing:

1) Talk with the CEO.  When we first launched our equity crowdfunding platform, I was amazed that some online platforms were selling large chunks ...

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March 5, 2014

The Six Keys To Consumer Investing

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog

Every industry has its critical value drivers. These drivers are instrumental when attempting to assess whether or not a business is poised to be a roaring success or a colossal failure. The consumer products industry is no different. In the course of my current role as CEO of CircleUp, where we have evaluated thousands of early-stage consumer companies, and my experience as a consumer private equity investor, I have seen countless consumer successes and failures. Below are the six critical areas every investor needs to diligence when ...

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Feb. 26, 2014

5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.

With so much attention paid to innovations and disruptive business models in the venture capital and startup world, it can be easy to overlook the vital importance of great people.

I keep a quote from legendary venture capitalist Arthur Rock in mind when hiring: “What I’m interested in is investing in people.”

Of course, every company wants stellar employees who are impactful, high performers. Identifying those high performers, however, takes hard work in recruiting, screening resumes and interviewing.  

Here are five key attributes that CircleUp looks for in candidates ...

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Feb. 13, 2014

Why You Should Think About Investing in Beauty Instead of Bitcoin

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog.

Bitcoin is all the rage right now and is the latest tech trend to follow social-mobile-local.  There are reasons to be excited about bitcoin, to be sure, just as there were reasons to love all other tech trends of the past decade.  But bitcoin, and tech trends like bitcoin, tend to suck a disproportionate amount of oxygen out of the room when talking about investing.  An industry that gets a lot less attention, relative to its attractiveness, is consumer.  Investors, particularly those focused on tech, tend to ...

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Feb. 7, 2014

The Best Business Model

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog

When I heard in November that Toms co-founder Blake Mycoskie had launched The Marketplace, where consumers can buy from social entrepreneurs, I was reminded, once again, why I love marketplaces.

Mycoskie’s expansion of Toms’ One for One™ philosophy to create a larger socially-infused marketplace illustrates many of the compelling attributes of marketplaces that I love: their power to disrupt inefficient and fragmented markets; an ability to add potential value for both buyers and sellers; and their capacity to actually expand a market.  As Greylock Partners’ Simon ...

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Jan. 18, 2014

CircleUp Company Metrics

CircleUp Company Metrics

The team at CircleUp knows that raising money for a consumer or retail company is extraordinarily hard, and it’s not made any easier when you don’t know how you stack up to the rest of your industry or to investor expectations. It’s doubly hard when the investors themselves often don’t know what to expect.

Because we’ve had over a thousand companies apply to CircleUp, we’re in a unique place to help provide the data that entrepreneurs need to benchmark against their peers, raise money efficiently, and achieve their goals. Above we’ve provided median ...

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Jan. 10, 2014

Rick's Picks Artisan Pickles--Raising Funds on CircleUp

Rick's Picks Artisan Pickles--Raising Funds on CircleUp

Rick Field was recently featured as one of ten members of the 3000-member Specialty Food Association’s rebranding campaign launched at the 2013 Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York. The record-breaking crowd was greeted with a 30-foot poster of Rick right when they walked in.  We recently sat down with Rick Field of Rick's Picks. Below, Rick answers frequently asked investor questions.

CircleUp: What differentiates Rick’s Picks from the average jar of pickles?

Rick: Rick’s Picks has three attributes which make us unique: our distinctive product, our wide distribution, and our experience in ...

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Nov. 13, 2013

When Convertible Notes Make Sense for Consumer Companies

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan’s Forbes Blog and has been edited to bring it up to date. http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancaldbeck/

                Convertible notes seem to be all the rage for pre-revenue tech startups these days. Convertible notes (aka convertible debt or convertible loans) are a financing mechanism whereby a company raises debt capital from investors at time zero, with the ability for the investor to convert this debt into equity at a later date at a fixed conversion ratio. This funding tool is probably most prominent for early-stage (i.e. pre-revenue) tech ...

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Aug. 29, 2013

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