Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

CircleUp Raises $7.5M Led by Union Square Ventures

CircleUp — a company we’ve covered closely, given that it is one of the only crowdfunding platforms so far that legally helps people make equity investments in startups — has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding.

CircleUpThe round was led by Union Square Ventures, and also included Google Ventures, Rose Park Investors and Maveron.

In its first year, CircleUp helped companies that make physical consumer products raise $10 million, ahead of the approved-but-still-not-yet-implemented JOBS Act, which would expand equity crowdfunding to a broader range of investors.

One notable aspect of the CircleUp investment is that lead investor Union Square Ventures has assembled an unusually dense portfolio around similar businesses that you might think would overlap too much. Other USV investments include Kickstarter, Lending Club, Funding Circle and Science Exchange.

“We like those models in almost every flavor they come in,” said Andy Weissman, the USV partner who led the investment and joined CircleUp’s board.

Which models, exactly? “It’s a peer marketplace matching up two sides of a transaction,” Weissman said. “It takes something very hard — raising money for consumer companies — and makes it more transparent and more liquid. That’s interesting regardless of the JOBS Act.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work