About the Client
The client is an innovation lab at a large US brokerage. Its mission is to help investors identify revenue growth opportunities and solve some of their most pressing needs.
The client discovered there was a high and growing interest in private equity among retail investors. Private equity was seen as an opportunity to diversify their portfolios with more tangible assets and generate higher returns than in traditional markets.
As of December 2020, over 50 unique funding portals and intermediaries offer investors opportunities to put their money in private equity. The client explored the concept of a “marketplace of marketplaces”, which would aggregate data from all these platforms and offer clients options to invest in real estate, wine, peer-to-peer lending companies, and so on.
The client set out to find a credentialed software vendor who could build a prototype to validate its product-market fit.
The client required an agile software development company experienced in delivering scalable solutions. One of the main requisites for landing the project was having an understanding that requirements and specifications may evolve as a result of the target audience’s feedback. The client chose Devexperts to work on the project as it has a considerable proven track record.
The first stage of the project involved testing the client’s early assumptions. To do so, Devexperts created a prototype of the portal with aggregated offerings.
After it was validated, subsequent iterations required additional functionality. In the project’s second stage, Devexperts developed a light-weight marketplace.
When the second stage proved successful, Devexperts implemented the features required for the release and the product was launched.
The Project Core
The idea was to aggregate various investment opportunities across multiple intermediaries, which are crowdfunding companies helping startups. The final concept was to help retail investors identify investment opportunities and engage them via the portal.
Devexperts developed functionality that aggregates information from crowdfunding platforms and stores it in a database. The client then processes the data from the database. For this purpose, Devexperts created a back-office admin application.
The processed aggregate investment opportunities are displayed on the client’s website. Devexperts also developed a full-fledged mobile version of the website for the best user experience.
The home page displays a spotlighted startup that the client chooses. It is usually a top-rated company displayed to generate attention.
Each page contains a description of the company’s investment request, which includes:
- The company name, location, website, and a short description
- Information about the founder(s), including names, titles, and short biographies
- Information about the company’s business model and product
- Information about any patents or other intellectual property
The page also has several tags aggregated from the intermediary website and used later for filtering. There is always a small section about the founder(s), including names, titles, and short biographies.
Along with that, users can read about the fundraising purpose, associated milestones, and indications of how their invested money will be used. Some pages describe the perks of investing, along with a detailed description of what happens for every amount of provided support.
All pages also warn users about investment risks according to regulatory requirements.
The portal’s Discover page lists all companies that have been sourced across the crowdfunding platforms—295 startups altogether as of October 2020. They can be sorted by views, creation date, and by minimum to maximum investment amounts and vice versa.
Investment opportunities can also be filtered by investment amount, industry, location, and product status (prototype or in-market). The Discover page also has special filters that the client requested, including female- or minority-founded companies, companies owning patents or other intellectual property, and/or any additional perks.
The Comparison page allows users to compare investment opportunities. It is unique and distinguishes the portal from other competitors. Users can simultaneously compare up to four companies.
The Comparison page has the following fields: minimum possible investment, industry, revenue status, product status, and business model. Intellectual property ownership is also considered, along with the purpose of fundraising and information as to whether the company has minority founders or any additional perks.
Users can register and sign up for payment plans based on their investment levels. The basic plan is free. Paid members get access to a custom fund builder and portfolio analytics, founder/VC live AMAs, special events, and community pledge matching. The pro plan features access to Reg D (accredited investor) status, exclusive investment opportunities, accreditation verification, and dedicated customer service.
Devexperts successfully launched the private equity marketplace with investment opportunities aggregated across multiple crowdfunding websites.
The portal is equipped to collect information from crowdfunding platforms and stores it in a database. It is currently integrated with five crowdfunding platforms, and Devexperts is continuing to work on increasing the number. Devexperts also developed a back-office admin application so the client can easily process the aggregated data before displaying it on the website.
The portal provides comprehensive information on aggregated investment opportunities with the functionality to filter and compare them. Users can also benefit from different subscription plans that provide various perks for better decision-making.