TechCrunch Disrupt is one of the world’s premier startup conferences.
I was fortunate enough to attend the conference in New York City this week, where I mingled with techies and investors and heard pitches from dozens of early-stage startups.
TechCrunch events always draw plenty of venture capitalists and angel investors, because they’re a great way to meet high-quality companies. In the past, these were the only groups allowed to invest in private companies.
This year’s conference was different. The VCs and angels were still there, but the playing field was a bit more level.
Six of the startups that presented at Disrupt this year are currently raising money via equity crowdfunding.
TechCrunch Disrupt is the second major tech conference this year to incorporate equity crowdfunding. Last month, the LAUNCH Festival did the same thing. (See all the startups from LAUNCH here on SeedInvest.)
This is a big development. Private startups pitching at major tech conferences where anyone can invest in them!
Here’s a look at just a few of the startups I met at the show.
The Startups Using Equity Crowdfunding at TechCrunch Disrupt
VirZOOM makes a stationary bike that also serves as a “controller” for virtual reality systems. In other words, pedaling the bike moves you forward in the games. Other control buttons are positioned conveniently on the handlebars.
I tried it, and this thing is fun. And quite a workout too. One customer even said he lost 50 pounds using VirZOOM, as reported by CNBC.
Here’s a picture of your humble editor getting winded using VirZOOM.
This startup has one of the more unique business models I’ve seen (and it’s working).
CHRGR makes ad-sponsored mobile chargers. In other words, it gives away free charging devices that are branded as part of a marketing campaign. It works with major companies like Red Bull, Lyft, Facebook and others. Devices are distributed at concerts, festivals and other places where people are desperate for juice to power their phones.
The company was profitable in 2016 (just its second year of operations) and is growing fast.
CHRGR is currently raising up to $600,000 on SeedInvest at a $4 million valuation cap.
Zelgor is a mobile gaming startup. Its first game, Noob Tubez, allows players to battle over real-world locations, much like the classic board game Risk. The game is in development, and from what I’ve seen, it has gobs of potential.
Zelgor is raising up to $100,000 on Netcapital at a $2.2 million post-money valuation.
SpaceoutVR is a virtual reality development studio boasting more than 250,000 app downloads. The company is building one of the first social VR games, and it appears to have a sizable base of players. The app has more than 600 reviews in the Google Play Store, with an average rating of around four out of five stars.
SpaceoutVR is raising up to $100,000 on Netcapital at a $5.5 million post-money valuation.
Equity Crowdfunding Accelerates
Equity crowdfunding is going mainstream.
Almost everyone I talked with at Disrupt knew about equity crowdfunding, and around half of the startups I spoke with are now considering using it. Everyone was fired up about the idea and its massive implications.
This is a dramatic change from just months ago. Clearly, word is spreading within the startup ecosystem that there’s a new way to raise capital.
I can’t share everything I learned at Disrupt yet, but suffice it to say that very exciting deals are coming soon.
We’re about to see this market take off. Stay tuned.
Founder, Early Investing