Artichoke is raising money through equity crowdfunding - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Mar. 13, 2018 8:03 am

Artichoke is raising money through equity crowdfunding

The Betamore-based startup is raising its next round through the platform StartEngine. And in doing so, it's one of the early adopters of the new approach that opens up startup investing to more people.

Artichoke's Justin Shelby at Betamore.

(File photo)

Artichoke is opening up its latest funding round to non-accredited investors.

According to CEO Justin Shelby, the Betamore-based startup is looking to raise money through StartEngine, a crowdfunding platform that lets backers become investors and own a stake in the company. Known as equity crowdfunding, it’s a route to raise capital made available to startups through changes to the federal JOBS Act in 2016.

The campaign is initially aiming to raise up to $107,000 for the company, which makes a web app to help entrepreneurs with appointment-based businesses with functions such as client management, scheduling, payments and marketing.

See the campaign

After launching the product into the marketplace and signing white label partnerships that are helping the company to grow its client reach over the last two years, Shelby said the startup is looking to raise money that will be used to attract more customers through avenues like strategic partnerships, and keep expanding what the product offers from a tech perspective.

“Artichoke has carved a different path than other technology companies because we subscribe to the belief that great products and great companies are built by listening obsessively to users,” the company’s StartEngine profile states.

The company, which is an alum of ETC’s Accelerate Baltimore, has raised $720,000 to date from local funders like the Abell Foundation, TEDCO and through Baltimore Angels.

Before the new provisions in the JOBS Act, investors had to have an income of $200,000 or net worth of at least $1 million. Regulation CF opens up that potential to people who want to invest but don’t meet those requirements. For Artichoke’s campaign, the minimum investment is about $250.

To Shelby, the approach provides a chance to attract backers that may not be as concerned with sticking to specific categories that institutional investors are favoring right now, as well as get more flexibility over what happens with the company in the future. He also pointed out that the platform provides more transparency, as the answer to any question asked by an investor is displayed publicly.

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The approach has worked for other Baltimore startups. Last year, fellow Accelerate Baltimore alum Arbit raised $700,000 through a separate portal.

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