31 Ways to Invest in 2021 Using Crowdfunding for Non-Accredited Investors

From real estate to startups to art and fine wine, non-accredited investors have a lot of choices among online crowdfunding and alternative investment platforms

Andrew Savikas photo Published 04 May 2017 by Andrew Savikas
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Exploring crowdfunding for non-accredited investors can be a confusing experience: there’s a lot of new investment choices out there, but the reality is that most of the marketing money being spent right now (so most of the ads you’ve probably seen) about equity crowdfunding and real estate is going toward “Reg D” platforms that are only available to what the SEC calls “accredited investors”. In general, that just means someone who either earns more than $200K per year or has a net worth of $1M or more. That also means much of the advertising leaves out more than 90% of US households, who don’t meet the SEC’s criteria for an accredited investor. Which is unfortunate, since one of the main goals of crowdfunding legislation was to open up more choices to “regular” investors.

Fortunately there are still plenty of options available in crowdfunding for non-accredited investors, with new ones popping up on a regular basis. Pulled from our database of crowdfunding and alternative investment platforms, here’s 31 choices among online investment platforms offering crowdfunding for non-accredited investors. These span a wide range of investment types, from real estate to funding startups to fine art and wine, and most offer low minimums to get started. Please note: I am not a professional financial adviser, and you should not rely on anything here to guide your own investment decisions. Consult a professional if you need help with your particular situation.

Real Estate Investing

Most of the dozens of real estate crowdfunding platforms that have popped up in recent years cater to accredited investors, but a handful do have offerings opening up crowdfunding for non-accredited investors:

  • GROUNDFLOOR. Of the real estate offerings open to non-accredited investors, Groundfloor is the most similar to the Reg D platforms, by offering debt investments in individual properties. The minimum investment amount can be as low as $10 for some of the properties, and as of January 2018 is available nationwide (previously Groundfloor were only available in a few states and DC). Read our GROUNDFLOOR review.
  • Fundrise. Using SEC Reg A+, Fundrise offers multiple investment tiers open to non-accredited investors, including their “Core” offering, with a minimum investment of $1,000. Each tier offers multiple investment options depending on your goals. Read our Fundrise review.
  • Republic. Republic started out offering just investments in startups, but has recently expanded their offering through a number of acquisitions, and now offers a number of real estate investmeunts, some with minimums as low as $100. Read our Republic review.
  • RealtyMogul. Also utilizing Reg A+, RealtyMogul recently added what they call the MogulREIT, with an advertised return of 8% and also with a minimum investment amount of $1,000. Read our RealtyMogul review.
  • Modiv. Previously known as Rich Uncles, the minimum investment amount for Modiv is $1000 (though you can increase that in $100 increments). Read our Modiv review.
  • Streitwise. Streitwise offers REITs that are open to all investors, typically targeting specific commercial real estate sectors (for example, the current offering is for Office and Mixed Use properties). Target returns are 8-9%, and the minimum investment is $1007. Read our Streitwise review.
  • Small Change Small Change is a mission-driven investment platform focused on small transit-oriented developments. The minimum investment varies by project, but is typically $500-$1000. Read our Small Change Review.
  • DiversyFund. DiversyFund also offers REIT, investing primarily in large apartment buildings (100+ units) throughout the US. The minimum investment is $500. Read our DiversyFund Review.
  • Automation Finance. Automation Finance buys distressed mortgage loans at a discount, and then works with homeowners to modify or refinance the loan. Automation Finance targets an 8% annual return, and is open to all investors, with a minimum investment of $250. Read our Automation Finance Review.
  • Gridshare. A niche platform offering Reg CF debt and equity investments in clean energy projects (like solar and wind installations), Gridshare is open to anyone, with a $100 minimum investment. Read our Gridshare review.
  • Holdfolio. Investors purchase a fractional ownership interest in a portfolio of 10 single-family rental properties (or a single apartment building), receiving both fixed interest payments and a profit-share upon sale or refinance. Read our Holdfolio review.

Startups and other Business Financing

Some of the lowest barriers to entry crowdfunding for non-accredited investors are in financing startups and small businesses, with some offerings having minimums as low as $10. We covered many of these in 5 of the Best Equity Crowdfunding Sites for Beginning Investors, and you can also read some tips for quickly reviewing investment choices in The One Underrated Skill Every Crowdfunding Investor Should Practice. The links below are to our reviews of each platform:

  • Republic. Republic is an investment crowdfunding using Reg CF to offer investments in startups, video games, and real estate to non-accredited investors, in some cases for as little as $10. Wide selection, including multiple companies with black founders
  • Wefunder. Wefunder is one of the largest Reg CF platforms, and offers a very wide selection of investment choices (with low minimums), though unlike some other investment platforms does not approve or curate companies on offer.
  • SeedInvest. SeedInvest accepts just 1% of the startups that apply, yet still manages to offer a very broad selection of investment offerings spanning industries and company stage, most open to any investor. Excellent documentation, a generous cancellation policy, and a low-minimum automated investment feature make SeedInvest an outstanding platform to consider for those looking at investment crowdfunding in startups.
  • Microventures. Founded in 2009, MicroVentures was among the very first online venture-investing platforms. They offer Reg CF crowdfunding investments open to anyone (via First Democracy VC), as well as several additional investment options for accredited investors, including shares in late-stage private companies like Dropbox, Redfin and Docusign.
  • StartEngine. StartEngine is one of the largest investment crowdfunding platforms, using Reg CF and Reg A+ (as well as Reg D) for certain side-by-side offerings) to offer investments in startups to anyone, in some cases for as little as $100.
  • MainVest. Founded by tech-company veterans (including several former Uber employees), Mainvest is a stellar example of how to make online alternative investing look and feel a lot like ecommerce. Some novel investment vehicles, and a clear focus on local businesses sets MainVest apart from other Reg CF portals.
  • NetCapital. Netcapital is an investment crowdfunding using Reg CF (and Reg D for side-by-side offerings) to offer investments in startups to anyone, in most cases for as little as $99. The selection is fairly broad, but investors should know curation overall is limited.
  • TruCrowd. TruCrowd offers equity crowdfunding to startups and opportunities to invest for novice investors, and educational content to assist each side in building their profiles.
  • LocalStake. Localstake is an investment crowdfunding platform specializing in smaller, local businesses, using Reg D, Reg CF, and intrastate crowdfunding. Selection often limited based on your geography.

Art, Fine Wine, and Collectibles

Wealthy people have been investing in things like art and wine for centuries, and now those investments are accessible to everyone, including non-accredited investors:

  • 🍷 Vinovest. Vinovest is a platform for investing in a managed portfolio of fine wines. Vinovest builds a portfolio of wines based on your risk profile, and stores and manages it for you across a network of insured facilities around the world. Vinovest is open to non-accredited investors with a minimum investment of $1,000. We recently interviewed Vinovest founder Anthony Zhang, and you can read our Vinovest review.
  • 🖼️ Masterworks. Masterworks offers fractional ownership in fine works of art from famous artists like Banksy and Andy Warhol. The art is held for several years, and then sold for a profit (one hopes…). The minimum investment amount is typically $10,000, though that can be waived in certain cases. Masterworks also has a secondary market where shares in their artworks can be bought and sold.
  • Mythic Markets. Mythic Markets offers fractional ownership in collectibles like rare comic books and RPG cards (think Magic: The Gathering). Minimums are very low (often less than $50) and investments are open to non-accredited investors.
  • Otis. Similar to Mythic Markets, Otis offers fractional ownership of collectibles, though with Otis it tends to be things like a complete set of rare basketball cards or a pair of rare sneakers. Otis targets a 3-7 year hold time before re-selling the collectible. Otis is open to non-accredited investors, with low minimums.
  • Rally. Rally also offers fractional shares in collectibles, and is notable for offering an app for buying and selling shares in the collectibles (after a 90-day lock-up period).

Music and performance royalties

Royalty Exchange is an online auction platform for royalty rights (primarily related to music). While specifics can vary considerably from auction to auction, you’re investing in future income stream derived from royalty payments, primarily for music. For example, some auctions are for the “performance” rights associated with a catalog of songs such as radio, satellite radio, or streaming on Pandora. Read our Royalty Exchange review.

While I’m reluctant to call cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a true “investment”, there are some opportunities in the ecosystem that are at least worth a look:

  • Outlet Finance offers an accessible way to invest in loans backed by cryptocurrency. Although they position themselves as akin to a high-yield savings account, they are not a bank and funds are not FDIC insured. Adventurous investors comfortable with the cryptocurrency ecosystem may find this a compelling place to park some money, but be sure to fully understand the risks beforehand. There is no minimum investment. Read our Outlet Finance review.
  • 🏎️ CurioInvest. CurioInvest offers fractional ownership of exotic cars, sold via “Car Tokens”, which entitle the token holder to a share of the profits when the vehicle is re-sold. A benefit of the token-based model is that in theory it is easy to re-sell your token to another investor.

Single Family Rentals

When investing in real estate with one of the real estate platforms above, you’re buying some form of investment security, which gives you certain rights, but is not direct ownership of a property (ie, your name isn’t recorded on a deed anywhere). However, another way to invest in real estate has long been to of course just buy a single-family home and rent it out (known as “SFR” for Single Family Rental). And while it does require a fair amount of money for a down payment, you don’t need to be an accredited investor to buy a house. (And even if you live in an area with sky-high housing prices, if you buy your SFR in a low-cost market, the down payment can be much more manageable than it would be if you were investing nearby.)

So if you’re unaccredited but have a healthy savings pile and aren’t afraid of directly owning investment property, while it’s not exactly crowdfunding for non-accredited investors, there are now several online investment platforms that provide full-service SFR investing, from property selection to financing assistance to helping with inspections and finding property managers:

State Exemptions allowing Crowdfunding for Non-Accredited Investors

As if crowdfunding for non-accredited investors wasn’t confusing enough already, at least 35 states also have some form of law permitting residents who are non-accredited investors to invest in crowdfunding of businesses located within the state. Check out our list of state-by-state investment limits for non-accredited investors for more details.

Want to learn more but aren’t sure where to start? You can explore 168 crowdfunding investment platforms in our database and learn more about the nuts and bolts of crowdfunding and alternative investing on our blog. Did you know you can use a self-directed retirement account to invest in many alternative investments? Rocket Dollar makes it easy, and when you sign up using that link you'll be helping to support YieldTalk.

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