Investment bankers wade into crowdfunding

A new equity crowdfunding platform combines the tools to invest in growth companies and a team of investment bankers who can not only help oversee online fundraising but perhaps tap into institutional sources for cash.

That’s a point of differentiation for iBankers Direct, a crowdfunding platform launched this week by Stamford, Connecticut, boutique investment bank iBankers Securities.

“We have a hybrid approach,” Mike McCrory, chief executive of the firm, told me.

He said the crowdfunding platform was a natural outgrowth of the investment banking work his company does in the United States and Europe.

Historically, his firm works with companies raising larger amounts of cash from mostly institutional investors. But he has often run across companies in need of smaller amounts—more than most friends or families would want to put up, but less than a big player would want to invest. That’s where crowdfunding can have a huge impact, he said.

“It really, really fixes a problem,” he said. “There’s a big gap out there in the capital markets for those companies that might need a small amount.What we’re trying to do is be part of this paradigm shift.”

McCrory’s is one of several sites that have opened already to accredited investors (people who have made more than $200,000 for two years individually or more than $300,000 as a couple, or have assets of more than $1 million). And, like other sites, he plans to open it up to non-accredited investors once the Securities and Exchange Commission issues rules allowing open equity crowdfunding.

“We are as eager as anybody to see the SEC do something…but we do think that a lot of activity will take place,” among accredited investors even before the rules are issued.

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