As the global economy rebounds, American small businesses are going global. While less than 1 percent of U.S. companies currently export, three-quarters of those and almost one-quarter of non-exporters are looking to expand their global sales. Timing is right, with growing markets worldwide and small-business optimism at the highest level since 2007.
But going global is an investment. Capital is required to cover up-front costs such as creating distributor networks and meeting foreign product standards. In addition, exporters must finance the costs of export transactions, such as shipping, logistics and trade compliance. Perhaps toughest of all is for exporters to secure adequate capital to expand production capacity to serve the global customer base and fulfill large international orders.
Few companies feel that capital is amply available. And most small-business owners have limited time to travel the fundraising trail; they are already stretched to grow their organization and build the systems to bring in new clients.
This is where crowdfunding can help. Equity crowdfunding, where companies can raise several million dollars in debt and equity financing online, is a rapidly growing industry. This is traditional fundraising applied online: Companies can use equity crowdfunding platforms to connect with a wide range of accredited investors and funds who, upon investing, become owners or shareholders of the company, or receive interest payments on a loan to the company.
TradeUp Capital Fund is an equity crowdfunding platform based in the Southwest for export-driven, globalizing companies and savvy, globally-minded investors. Through TradeUp, globalizing companies and accredited investors (angels, superangels, VCs, PE funds, family offices and lenders) can connect and transact on debt and equity deals of $100,000 to $20 million, providing much-needed capital to fund export growth.
TradeUp primarily works with proven companies that are already in business, have at least $500,000 in revenue, and are already exporting — or have very clear plans on how to globalize. And TradeUp doesn’t stop at financing. In collaboration with the Global Chamber, the fund offers companies expert guidance to enter and thrive in the international markets, and access to a growing network of service providers in international trade.
If you are an exporter seeking capital to grow your business, TradeUp offers another option for you to be visible across a range of investors. To contact TradeUp for more information and to get on the platform, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a fund or an accredited investor, TradeUp helps you access proven, pre-screened companies that have mitigated downside risk and global growth potential. Globalizing companies are a stand-out asset offering a unique portfolio diversification strategy — countless academic studies show that globalizing companies consistently outperform the broader market in revenue, productivity and stability.
To browse deals on TradeUp, please visit tradeupfund.com. To sign up and see company documents and interact with companies, go to http://tradeup.platform.crowdvalley.com/sign-up and select your role as “investor.”
More options for raising capital to export is a good thing. Companies can access critical gap capital to export and expand in international markets. Savvy lenders and investors access pre-screened assets with superior growth prospects. And in the end, economies gain through export-led economic recovery, growth and competitiveness.
Kati Suominen is the founder and CEO of TradeUp Capital Fund.