Vincent Petrescu wanted to give people the ability to invest in cannabis startups without over-extending their own budget.
Petrescu says he’d been approached by many people proposing investment opportunities, all with a $10,000 minimum outlay.
“I’d say I like the deal, I’ll invest $500 easily without thinking,” he says. “But a minimum of $10,000? I could not understand why anyone would want to take that deal.”
Petrescu, a CPA and civil engineer with an MBA and a master’s degree in strategic management, has a vast amount of experience in the crowdfunding field. He’s also the CEO of Equidam and truCrowd, Inc.
His latest venture, Fundanna Crowdfunding, is like Kickstarter for marijuana companies.
“The big difference is that you, the person that gives the money, you don’t get a T-shirt,” he says. “You get shares in that company. And many people think that is a big difference.”
Fundanna allows people to support startups at an approachable level.
“Anyone can invest and the minimum is usually $100,” Petrescu says.
Participating companies pay $3,500 up front, and Fundanna takes a percentage of the final dollar amount raised. As a crowdfunding platform, Fundanna is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission and although meeting federal requirements caused a slight delay in the site’s official launch, it is now fully operational, Petrescu says.
Petrescu says crowdfunding also gives cannabis businesses a way to legally advertise their funding campaign.
“What is interesting in this type of raising money, the company is allowed to advertise and solicit investments,” Petrescu says. “That is a unique thing in the industry. There are not many ways a seller can advertise. This is one of them. Plus, you get the ambassador angle. Those people who invest will talk about you. They want you to be successful. They will do whatever they can to help you.”
The Fundanna website features a catalog of startup businesses along with photos and information about the products, where the project is based and who is developing the idea.
The stock price varies for each investment opportunity, but Petrescu says it’s usually around $2 per share.
The platform has a built-in 48-hour notice before an event closes, allowing the investor a final opportunity to either pull out or promote the startup. Investors with Fundanna can pull their pledges at any moment. If a company fails to reach its goal, the money goes back to the investors without any fees. Petrescu is planning a marketing push to popularize the platform and the startup businesses it represents.
“It doesn’t matter how good a product is if people out there do not know about it,” Petrescu says.