Where should I invest in startups? Is it smart to invest in startups? These are two interesting and popular questions people ask online regarding startup investing. It is natural for people to search for the best investments on a popular and established equity crowdfunding platform such as StartEngine (OTCMKTS:STGC).
Here are the best startups to invest in in 2021. But, as always, further due diligence is suggested, as startup investing is both challenging and risky. For this list, I will highlight companies with active equity crowdfunding rounds that will close soon.
- Booksniffer, Inc.
- Liberty Access Technologies
- R3 Printing
- Zenus, Inc.
- Arc Footwear
- Called Higher Studios
Startup Investing: Booksniffer, Inc.
Reading is good in many ways, both online and offline. BookSniffer is a new mobile and web-based platform that connects readers and authors and with a bold vision to become a new leader in the book marketing industry. BookSniffer helps readers and authors connect on the mobile platform without relying solely on advertising, which is often expensive for authors to promote their ebooks.
There is a large numbers of authors — currently 1,600 — and more than three million books on the platform to choose from. But what are some reasons to invest in this startup?
BookSniffer, which launched one year ago in 2020, has already begun generating revenue. If you think that mobile apps today are a promising and lucrative industry, you are 100% correct. The mobile app market, estimated at $154 billion, is expected to continue having considerable growth, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% through 2027. Finally, the traditional book market, worth $122 billion, is experiencing a shift as more authors publish independently. This could mean disruption for the book marketing industry.
The company has raised $134,872 from 251 investors, and the minimum investment is set at $249.84, while the valuation is estimated to be at $18.4 million.
Liberty Access Technologies
Liberty makes electric vehicle (EV) charging systems specifically for workplaces and schools. It has a goal to transform and electrify school buses, which comprise the largest mass transit fleet in the U.S.
The company has its patented HYDRA-RX AC Fast Charger Controller, which produces quick charging times at a fraction of the cost of DC Fast Chargers, thus providing an incentive to schools to turn to electric school buses. The charger is also suitable for commercial purposes such as electric vans.
Some notable advantages of the HYDRA-RX AC Fast Charger are faster AC charge times, greater security, and cost-saving load management. For business and property owners, some of the main features of the Hydra are easy-to-access control, the availability of a mixed public/private use and flexible billing services.
What about traction? The HYDRA-RX was recently selected by California’s largest utility for a pilot program using the ultra-low-cost excess solar power to charge school buses and enhance the case of potentially replacing the normal diesel school buses that pollute the environment. Liberty Access Technologies is embracing renewable energy transportation and has managed to have hundreds of HYDRA systems in operation across the U.S. and Canada too.
It is already an oversubscribed crowdfunding round with $1.07 million raised from 1,899 investors. The minimum amount of investment is $300, and the valuation is at $19.2 million.
Startup Investing: R3 Printing
Is the future 3D-printed? And can manufacturing get personal? R3 Printing believes so, as the company’s product is R3 Printer, a high-performance 3D printer for manufacturing custom 3D-printed products at affordable prices that aims to compete with mass production. R3 Printing believes that the products in our lives should be personal, which is not a bad idea.
Why invest in R3 Printing? The company is targeting the almost $16 billion-dollar Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) market sector delivering custom 3D-printed products. Furthermore, industry growth is projected to be about $24 billion in revenue by 2022 and almost $36 billion by 2024.
The R3 printer is providing a solution to make mass production personal and being able to run a scalable on-demand manufacturing service, having the benefit of printing faster, bigger and without the annoying problem of a printer jam.
Traction is already present with one granted patent, four pending utility patents, four registered federal trademarks and two pending trademark applications, plus several testing partners. There is also a partnership potential with the United States Air Force (USAF) and the focus market, for now, is North America (both the U.S. and Canada), a market that leads the world in the adoption of 3D printing technology, with a market share of 37.1% of industrial 3D printer sales on a worldwide basis.
R3 printing has raised $1.63 million from 4,500 investors with a minimum investment amount of $100 and a valuation of $8 million.
Zenus, Inc., in a nutshell, is about video analysis on a massive scale, introducing a revolution in ethical facial analysis. It uses smart cameras that can help analyze consumer behavior and increase and optimize sales in the post-Covid era as consumers return to physical stores.
The technology uses monitors for easy tracking of occupancy levels and real-time monitoring of physical distancing to protect both customers and workers. The company offers the business solution of safe data capturing of consumer behavior for the dollar in-store retail market, estimated to be a $21.7 trillion market.
The proprietary technology developed produces heatmaps and also measures engagement but without the risk of data theft or personal identification.
Reasons to invest in this startup? First, the artificial intelligence market is experiencing fast growth. Additionally, Zenus’s smart camera is highly efficient as it can track over 12 high-level metrics, covering areas up to 15,000 square feet. And it is capable of reducing data transmission by 64,000 times.
Zenus has several customers in over 20 countries. The business applications are promising, with the possibility of creating safer environments and helping companies obtain ethically sourced analytics. The company estimates that the total business opportunity in several markets such as retail analytics, experiential marketing and video analytics is about $80 billion, and each market is quickly growing at a CAGR close to 20%.
The company has raised $432,049 from 657 investors, with a valuation of $9.99 million. The minimum investment is $199.98.
Startup Investing: Arc Footwear
I must admit that merging blockchain and fashion has never crossed my mind. This is what Arc Footwear is trying to achieve: to fill in the gap between footwear brands and blockchain technology. Sounds interesting.
Arc Footwear is bringing innovative footwear brands to market with a physical product and soon-to-be-released digital collectible non-fungible token (NFT) gaming assets and what is considered to be a groundbreaking marketplace. Furthermore, the concept is to create a fashion metaverse for social engagement and commerce.
The Arc Footwear team develops brands internally to reduce overhead costs. This year, the SNKR project is expected to launch its blockchain component, with smart contracts providing customers and creators the opportunity to create value with the trade of these assets.
The future of the footwear industry is changing so fast and so radically. Arc Footwear believes that it is shaping the future of this industry. The company is targeting the streetwear market, which is estimated to be a $185 billion market expected to grow significantly in the next five years. With the combination of gaming and NFT markets, the business opportunity is even bigger.
Arc Footwear has raised $48,381 from 179 investors, with a valuation of $8 million. The minimum investment is $200.
The second company related to blockchain technology is LaneAxis. The main concept is to create a blockchain-powered direct freight network. There is an interesting focus on two major large markets, the $12 trillion global supply chain and the $1 trillion U.S. freight industry.
LaneAxis has created the first brokerless shipper-to-carrier direct freight network that is powered by blockchain technology and the AXIS utility token. The vision set by the company is bold. It is to transform what is considered to be an outdated supply chain into a worldwide digital network and transportation marketplace, providing a business solution to the freight industry and Web 3.0.
The Covid-19 crisis created many business problems but an emerging opportunity seems to be present. A massive market that is expected to evolve and grow at a rapid pace, especially during the global pandemic. To face the increasing demand, there will need to be a next-generation technology for the freight industry solving problems such as detention times, disputed payments and freight lane analytics.
The use of artificial intelligence can maximize capacity and efficiency in the freight industry. The business model is a B2B subscription model, that is engineered for scalability.
LaneAxis has raised $3.158 million from 3,390 investors having a valuation of $32.7 million. The minimum amount of investment is $298.10.
Startup Investing: Called Higher Studios
Can there be both faith and entertainment? The answer is yes, as Called Higher Studios is a movie studio that allows individual investors to invest in family-based productions. The fact that faith-driven consumers spend approximately $2 trillion per year seems too important to ignore.
Is there traction already? The answer is yes as Higher Studio’s founders have produced or worked on feature films that have been distributed by Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and the founder of Called Higher Studio’s founder, Ash Greyson, has worked on campaigns that have helped generate over $1 billion in worldwide box office receipts. So there is a proven team that has a track record of success.
The business model is to create and distribute quality entertainment that is Christ-centered. Also important to mention is the potential to add multiple revenue streams. This includes the ability to grow influencers and brands and sell company-branded merchandise.
If you want to invest in a company built on traditional family values, then you should know that Called Higher Studios has raised $754,000 from 1,528 investors, with a valuation of $10.3 million. The minimum investment is set at $99.36.
On the date of publication, Stavros Georgiadis, CFA did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
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.