CLEVELAND — Businesses all over the nation are turning to modern sources to get their business off the ground utilizing crowdsource funding.
Saucy Brew Works in Cleveland raised more than $1 million using StartEngine. Unlike other fundraising efforts, with StartEngine, each person who contributed also owns a portion of the company. StartEngine's website says, "On StartEngine, people can invest in startups that they believe in. Equity crowdfunding allows startups and private companies to raise capital from the crowd through the sale of securities like equity, debt, revenue share and more."
"It's a great tool for private companies to raise capital," said Saucy Brew Works' co-founder Brian Zimmerman. "When your small private company, it's difficult usually raising money through friends and family, sometimes banks. But a lot of times those are not an option."
Zimmerman said shortly after their fundraising effort concluded, Michael Goldberg from Case Western Reserve University reached out asking about their campaign.
"He had said, 'Hey, we'd love to talk about crowdfunding in our class and notice that you guys have just done one. Could you would you basically teach a class for us?," Zimmerman said. "And I said, 'Yeah, happy to do it.'"
Goldberg is an entrepreneurial finance professor. He said he wanted to give his students a real-life example of unique financing.
"It was an awesome opportunity to share with the students the success of a local entrepreneur that took advantage of the crowdfunding platform to build his business," he said.
On Thursday, prior to their regularly scheduled class, Goldberg loaded up pizza and hand-delivered one to each student.
"Many of the entrepreneurs that we profiled in class have products and services that are not things that you can eat for dinner," he said. "So kind of combining sources, products with friends, discussion on crowdfunding, that it was really a fun combination.
Zimmerman said they plan to use the money raised to buy new equipment and prepare to open new locations.