Startengine (OTCMKTS:STGC) is an equity crowdfunding platform where you can now find over 100 investment opportunities. These companies range across several sectors, which can add diversification benefits to your portfolio. Additionally, with a new trade feature launched, you can now buy and exchange shares with other investors on the platform if you like. This helps solve one of the main problems with investing in startups: liquidity concerns.
So, with that addressed, are you now interested in some of the best startups to buy? Like I said, there is a wide selection of companies on Startengine that could fit your needs. For this article, though, I chose seven names based on three criteria. The companies needed to 1) make for a diverse list across industries and have 2) active fundraising rounds 3) that would end soon.
These pieces in mind, let’s now dive into these seven diverse startups to buy. As always, though, consider the good and the bad here. Startups possess inherent risk, so it is of the utmost importance to perform your due diligence.
- Arc Footwear
- The OLLO Group
- Island Brands USA
- La Fayette Franchise
Best Startups to Buy: iPill
According to its Startengine page, iPill is “a pill dispenser with a smartphone application, designed to directly address and combat the opioid crisis.” Controlled through the app, this dispenser lets out the prescription amount only, with a 10-second interval between pills. If tampered with, the device can also destroy the remaining pills inside it in order to combat addiction. Basically, this seems to be revolutionary technology for secure opioid dispensing.
Stats on this company’s Startengine page show that over 50,000 people die from opioids each year. But what are opioids?
According to Johns Hopkins, “Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant and that work in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including the relief of pain with many of these drugs […] Opioids can be prescription medications often referred to as painkillers, or they can be so-called street drugs, such as heroin.”
iPill is still currently in development and not yet available on the market. That said, the platform has received FDA Class I registration and can get insurance coverage. Plus, the addressable market here is some $10 billion annually, according to the company’s page.
As of today, this name has raised a little over $30,000 from 23 investors, with a $399 minimum investment. The company also has a pre-money valuation of $7.5 million.
Agwiki is a startup company that focuses on “solving world food problems socially.” Essentially, the company is seeking to combat world hunger through online human connection and idea sharing. In theory, this sounds very interesting, but in practice it could be even better.
According to the company, approximately 28% of the global workforce is working in agriculture but 815 million people are malnourished worldwide, with hunger being a leading cause of death. With this problem in mind — as well as this huge potential user base — Agwiki developed a platform to connect farmers and food producers “to share and seek information while building relationships with their industry peers.”
Basically, Agwiki believes that the answer to the fight against global hunger could be found in active engagement between producers, farmers and sustainability experts. It’s about helping farmers find better ways to feed the world.
This kind of investment could be great for ESG (environmental, social and governance) investors — people who are interested in social good. However, the platform is also interesting for its very large potential user base and its address of an increasingly relevant issue.
So far, Agwiki has raised a little over $134,000 from 216 investors, with a $200 minimum investment. The company has a $20.1 million valuation.
Best Startups to Buy: Arc Footwear
Building shoe brands for every niche of the footwear space can be a profitable business. Arc Footwear is in that business, focusing on a mix of three main characteristics for its shoe products. The company is centered on “bringing digitally native, highly innovative, and unique footwear brands to market.”
Basically, this company develops multiple standout shoe brands through “pooled resources,” which helps speed up growth, reduce costs and maintain the individuality of each brand under the Arc umbrella.
So far, the company sports three brands: SNKR Project, Ovni and Mayvn. The first of these has raked in $3.5 million in sales since it started in 2017. Meanwhile, the other two brands are still in the “pre-launch stage” but have very interesting features.
For example, Mayvn will focus on foot health with a subscription-based business, offering interchangeable insoles to “‘revive’ the comfort and support” of the shoe and ultimately make it last longer. Ovni, on the other hand, is designed to be the “longest-lasting and most comfortable skate shoe in the market.”
All in all, Arc Footwear addresses intriguing niches in the shoe market and puts a smart emphasis on branding. For that reason, you may want to add it to your list.
As of this writing, this company has raised nearly $48,000 from 181 investors. The minimum investment here is $100. The current valuation of Arc Footwear is $8 million.
The OLLO Group
Like Arc Footwear, the OLLO Group is another company focused on niche footwear. However, this name is focused on just one niche: high-performance sneakers.
Just have a look at how many sneakers there are on the market. Tons, right? But high-performance ones?
More specifically, OLLO makes high-performance footwear for parkour and movement sports, designing shoes that need to function reliably under very demanding conditions. Since its inception, OLLO has also partnered with several parkour, ninja warrior and freerunning athletes.
OLLO Group released its first style of shoe back in 2012. Now, though, its two new styles — the Alpha and Sapien X — are scheduled to be released some time in 2021.
All told, this business opportunity is addressing a “rapidly growing” sport. The market is gaining more and more traction by the day. According to the company, parkour and ninja warrior sports are even being considered as additions to the Olympics.
So far, OLLO Group has raised $120,707 from some 184 investors. The minimum investment is $270 and the valuation is currently $4.5 million. Plus, if you invest early, you get a free pair of sneakers.
Best Startups to Buy: Island Brands USA
Island Brands markets itself as “Crisp. Clean. Crushable.” According to its Startengine page, this beer company is focused on delivering “clean, better for you, super premium beer, set at a competitive price point to fill the gap between factory beer corporations and craft breweries.”
Of course, at this point, you may already be sold. However, there are other reasons you might want to consider an investment in this pick of the best startups to buy.
Mainly, Island Brands is interesting because the domestic beer market is huge, currently estimated at $116 billion on this name’s Startengine page. Plus, Island Brands is actually focused on a regional niche, the Southeast United States. According to the company, “total beer consumption is up 10%” in the region where Island sells.
On top of that, Island Brands is focused on providing a product that is as health-conscious as beer can be. This means its beers have no artificial flavors, fillers or preservatives. The company even has a new low-calorie beer called “Island Active.”
Today, Island Brands has already raised $1.9 million from nearly 1,900 investors. The minimum investment here is about $250. The company also has a current valuation of $65.7 million.
Hundy is an application that helps facilitate P2P (peer-to-peer) microloans, enabling middle class America to acquire “loans and deposit advances of up to a few hundred dollars from the people around them using a mobile-only app.” Basically, the company makes microfinancing a viable business model. Hundy elaborates further on its Startengine page:
“What makes Hundy unique is the loyal community it has built around those who share and celebrate their good character, a key component of creditworthiness that has been lost in the age of FICO.”
Of course, the feeling of being tight on money and unable to get a loan is both stressful and unpleasant. Hundy is trying to help alleviate that issue. It supports investing in people. All in all, Hundy’s platform seems to be about emphasizing social good in finance, but there are other reasons to invest in this microloan company.
For starters, Hundy was made available in 18 states as of January of this year and it is actively adding more states, too. The app itself has also been “consistently ranked by Apple in the App Store’s top 200 Finance apps.”
So far, Hundy has raised almost $92,000 from 145 investors. Today, it has a valuation of $5.75 million. Appropriately enough, the minimum investment is $100.
Best Startups to Buy: La Fayette Franchise
Last up on this list of best startups to buy is La Fayette Franchise.
Do you love croissants? If you do, chances are that the idea of bringing French-style baked goods to the rest of North America might interest you. Of course, though, if you’re on a diet, watching this company’s promo video may not be a good idea.
But seriously — it seems like La Fayette has some serious chops. This bakery company has some 20 locations in Canada and has “streamlined the baking process” without sacrificing quality. Now, the company plans to expand into the United States.
The franchise model here has plenty of advantages, too, one of which is scalability. On top of that, La Fayette was even rated as the top bakery in Quebec in 2019. So, popularity shouldn’t be an issue here once the brand manages to establish a foothold in the States.
This company has also been sufficient revenue-wise, having recently made 12 million CAD ($9.88 million) in annual sales. All in all, the business has promising prospects and will be addressing an $11 billion U.S. market that’s growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 5%.
As of this writing, La Fayette Franchise has raised over $270,000 from 431 investors. The current valuation is $5 million and the minimum investment is set at $200.
On the date of publication, Stavros Georgiadis, CFA, did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Stavros Georgiadis is a CFA charter holder, an Equity Research Analyst, and an Economist. He focuses on U.S. stocks and has his own stock market blog at thestockmarketontheinternet.com/. He has written in the past various articles for other publications and can be reached on Twitter and on LinkedIn.