Investing in startups lets you support new visions and bold business plans and allows you to diversify your portfolio. Equity crowdfunding has little correlation with how traditional investments work. Compared to buying stocks listed on a major stock exchange, there is far greater risk due to liquidity issues and the fact that you’re investing in an unknown, unestablished business.
Most equity crowdfunding opportunities won’t offer impressive returns, but that doesn’t mean that these companies don’t have the potential to become future leaders in their sectors. I’ll be going over seven promising startups listed on the equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine (OTCMKTS:STGC). Today I’m focusing on some of the most-funded businesses on the platform.
Here are seven highly-funded startups worth looking into:
- Solutions Vending International
- Waverly Labs
- IX Water
- Honeybee Burger
Equity Crowdfunding: Solutions Vending International
What is the future of retail? Solutions Vending International believes it is self-service and automation. The company has developed an automated retail technology platform for vending machines and kiosks that allows retailers to engage and understand customers. Retailers can sell more products and learn from big data.
Automation and self-service are booming, but a lot of valuable data is being lost on machines that don’t collect data. This presents an opportunity for Solutions Vending International to dominate.
The company’s PopShop Kiosks are designed to be affordable to any company, from small businesses to Fortune 500 brands. These Kiosks provide important consumer insights to retailers and can help them analyze their target demographic.
The revenue model is based on monthly SaaS (software as a service) revenue, transaction fees and ad revenue. Solutions Vending International has raised $2,064,054 from 3,440 investors with a minimum investment of $250.25. The valuation is $26.3 million.
Piestro is about the future of artisanal pizza. It is a robotic pizza shop with a goal to deliver high-quality artisanal pizzas within 3 minutes.
Piestro’s fully automated machines are being designed with multiple goals: zero contact food preparation, zero food waste, consistent quality and much lower cost of operation. The U.S. pizza market is expected to reach $53.8 billion by 2023.
Full-service pizzerias combine slim margins with high costs. Piestro provides a high-quality artisanal pizza experience and reduces the cost of labor and real estate. The company is backed by a venture capital fund that has a proven track record of investing in robotics companies.
An automated robotic pizza shop capable of working 24/7 seems like a great idea. The company plans to sell directly to customers via its machines and develop white-label partnerships with existing pizza companies.
Piestro has raised $1,245,951 from 604 investors and $1,060,983 from a previous crowdfunded campaign. The minimum investment is $1,000, and the valuation is $12 million.
Equity Crowdfunding: Waverly Labs
One of the biggest problems when traveling abroad is the language barrier. What if you had easy access to an interpreter right next to your ear?
This is what Waverly Labs is all about. The company makes the Ambassador Interpreter, a wearable interpreter earpiece. Professional interpreters are very costly; right now the amount being spent on interpreters is estimated at $57 billion.
The Ambassador Interpreter provides a cheap, readily available, high-quality translation solution that aims to disrupt the spoken interpreter market. The high sophisticated technology uses speech recognition, neural networks, machine translation and machine learning with minimal lag.
Waverly Labs has tens of thousands of customers and has sold over 40,000 units worldwide, generating $9.4 million in gross revenues. The company has also formed partnerships with well-established companies. The business model is based on hardware and recurring revenues with an optional subscription service.
Waverly Labs has raised $1,213,518 from 893 investors and $1,067,051 from a previous crowdfunded campaign. The minimum investment is $496.16, and the valuation is $40 million.
The global chip shortage has made it clear that everything we do today involves some kind of semiconductor. Rayton wants to evolve the semiconductor industry. The company makes engineered wafers using patented particle accelerator-based technology. The company’s work has applications in multiple industries such as automotive, aerospace, 5G, LED and solar power.
Rayton has developed a unique technology with the potential to reduce the price point for next-generation electronics by up to 25 percent, lowering the supply costs and improving manufacturing efficiency. The company plans to use its fundraising round to advance its beta phase production of its wafers. It then plans to finalize sales agreements and start making revenue. The company plans to develop a full proof-of-concept and begin marketing the product.
Rayton has raised $1,100,006 from 1,144 investors and $6,571,485 from a previous crowdfunded campaign. The minimum investment is $500.94, and the valuation is $50.9 million.
Equity Crowdfunding: IX Water
IX Water is worth considering for ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing. The company is using a revolutionary water recycling technology to convert industrially contaminated water into an asset. The company promises to create usable water at half the cost of current methods.
Oil and gas recovery produces a lot of unusable water, which is expensive and also difficult to dispose of. There is a $75 billion market for the treatment of this water.
IX Water has several patents and has received its first three purchases. The business plan targets gas and oil service companies as customers and the potential price per order is $12 million. Additional revenue can come from from the sale of replacement products and maintenance of the machines.
IX Water has raised $1,069,900 from 2,191 investors with a minimum investment of $250. The valuation is $13.1 million.
“Saving the planet one plant-based burger at a time.” That’s a nice motto that reveals exactly what Honeybee Burger is about. The company makes 100% plant-based food with a bold vision to become an iconic national fast food brand. It’s a bold mission.
I must admit I’ve never tried a plant-based burger. But plant-based food can solve many problems. According to the company, beef consumption and traditional burger restaurants cause three major problems. They destroy our planet, use up our water and contribute to animal cruelty.
Despite the growth in demand, vegan options at fast food restaurants are often lacking and unappealing. Honeybee wants to solve this problem by providing cruelty-free, environmentally conscious, delicious food.
Plant-based food is popular among millennial and Gen Z consumers. The company estimates that the plant-based food market is on track to be worth $74.2 billion by 2027.
Honeybee Burger has raised $1,061,164 from 1,959 investors and has a valuation of $12 million. The minimum investment is $240.
Equity Crowdfunding: Whipr
You can’t have an entire gym in your house, but Whipr, a portable erg (short for ergometer) machine designed to simulate paddling, rowing, skiing, swimming and more, gets pretty close. Pre-sales from over 11,500 customers since August 2020 exceed $5.7 million. The company plans to continue its growth with new products, VR compatibility and a subscription service.
Whipr offers a full-sized workout from a portable machine. Cardio machines are expensive, bulky and non-portable. Whipr is a portable, multifunctional machine that is also cost-effective.
The fitness equipment market is valued at $11.5 billion and is expected to reach $15.2 billion by 2027, a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3.5% from 2020 to 2027.
The company has a DTC (direct-to-consumer) sales model with products available online via the company’s website. Wholesale distributor relationships are also being established with signed deals for Australia and New Zealand. The company has also begun medical trials.
Whipr has raised $916,922 from 825 investors and has a minimum investment of $250.70. The valuation is $20 million.
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.